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This page was written by our cousins. The articles appearing here provide glimpses into our lives, memories, and interests, brief biographies of our ancestors, and our experiences in Self Family research. All cousins are encouraged to contribute to this collection by sending material to Webmaster.

Obituary of Albert E. Self
Originally published in the Mobile Press Register on July 2, 1944

Courtesy of the Mobile Register 2000c [copyright] All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission

Albert E. Self, engraver associated with Goldstein's and an artist by avocation, died suddenly in Mobile recently, while exhibiting his oil paintings and water colors were still in progress at the Mobile Art Center, Mobile Public Library.

At the time of his death, Mr. Self had been living in Mobile for nine months, having returned here in the fall after an absence of 30 years. Before World War I he was in charge of the steel aand copper plate engraving department of Zadek's formerly located at Dauphin aand Royal Sts. He later was in charge of C. T. Dearing Co. in Louisville, Ky., and was special New York representative of the American Writing Paper Co. He also served as advertising and art director of the International Fire Equipment Corp., and was well known throughout the country as secretary of the National Association of Steel and Copper Plate Engravers.

Many old Mobilians remember his exhibit of Illuminated Testimonials for which he received a letter from Queen Victoria in connection with illuminated verses on her diamond jubilee.

Born in East Melbourne, Eng., he was a resident of New York City for many years, and was associated with the Gorham Company there, and with J. E. Caldwell & Co., of Philadelphia.

Last Friday his water colors and oil paintings came down from the museum walls after they had been on exhibit since June. Specializing in paintings of sailing, Mr. Self had several delicate canvasses of sailboats in the show as well as landscapes and flowers. Many of his paintings have already been taken back to New York by his wife, Mrs. Madeline Hack Self, who was visiting him in Mobile when he died suddenly of a heart attack, and the rest of his collection will be sent there.. His paintings have been on exhibit several times in New York City.

Greatful Showfolk to Help Alabamian Celebrate Event
Former Actor-Director Gives Boost to Young Hopefuls
Trying to Make Start on Broadway
Originally published in the Mobile Press Register on May 12, 1946

Courtesy of the Mobile Register 2000c [copyright] All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission

New York: Hundreds of grateful showfolk are helping one of Broadway's legendary figures celebrate a colorful anniversary this week.

He's Cliff Self, 55-year-old ex-actor-director who decided 17 years ago to take on the permanent role of good Samartian to stagestruck youngsters.

Since then, Self, has served as a friend-in-need to thousands of struggling actors and writers at a "fee" of 25 cents per week.

He takes a fatherly interest in theatrical job-seekers who crowd his Times Square office to read his daily tip-sheet on "who's casting what show when and where." He collects his information from trade papers, columnists, producers, casting directos and office gossip.

In addition, Self gives advice to his ambitious young friends, serves as professional critic, directs them in their dramatic skits before they audition for a producer and even lends them money.

His clients get their phone calls and mail at his office. They can leave their umbrellas or rubbbers there on rainy days. They can study scripts and rehearse before a friendly, critical audience, or they can just sit.

In return, for all this, they contribute 25 cents a week each--if they have > it.

Obviously, Self can't make money that way, and does well if he breaks even, but it's a labor of love and he wouldn't think of abandoning it. Many of his "children" have gone on to fame and fortune.

Celebrities like Joseph Cotton, Martha Scott, Burgess Meredith, Richard Carlson, Uta Hagen, Nina Foch and Jane Wyatt are among Self's well-wishers this week, because they all got their start through hsi unique service bureau.

Burgess Meredith says, "If Cliff Self hadn't encouraged me during my lean-days, I'd probably still be sellings shirts--if there were any shirts to sell!"

Self's association with show business goes back to 1910, when he came to New York from Birmingham. He was an eager lad who had dreams of becoming a Broadway star.

He saw his share of the blank walls that confront every new-comer to Broadway casting offices. Producers, directors and fellow actos, hardened to the heart-breaking routine told him to go home and forget the whole thing. But he stuck it out and finally the breaks came. He did roles in a half-dozen successful plays, along with such stars-to-be as Chester Morris, Kay Francis, Sylvia Sidney and Jack Larue.

During World War I he went on a nation-wide vaudeville tour impersonating Gen Pershing in a patriotic skit.

When the Stock Market crashed in the late twenties, so did show business. Self had a lot of friends who were jobless. He started gathering job information for them, clearing it in drug-stores and on street corners every day. Finally they suggested he open an office, promising to help pay the rent. That was 17 years ago and the "Self Service Bureau" has been a meeting place for Broadway hopefulls ever since.

These articles were suggested by Cousin Larry
We would like to thank Editor Mike Marshall of the Alabama Mobile Register for his kindness and cooperation

To the Gilcrease Tribe
by Thomas Gilcrease
[great grandson of John Self (of the John and Baxter Self line), and a benefactor and philanthropist in later life, Thomas Gilcrease was a poor boy who became wealthy from oil found on the land he received in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) He left his art and literary collection for all of us to enjoy at the Gilcrease Museum]

Written Sep. 1956 in Jackson Hole, WY
as an epilogue for his biography

Reprinted with permission from Steve Gilcrease, great grandson of Thomas Gilcrease

Turning Leek Curve the towering Tetons, to my surprise, growled almost in my face. These great mountains seem furious - a more menacing appearance I've never witnessed upon the profile of this wonderful mountain range - Nothing less than cold, gray, wolfish snarl, swirled about their bosom as pent up anger of one hundred million years - I winced, my blood chilled as long lost souls on arctic seas. Why, O stately mountains, such venom portray and cast over vale and brook, so peaceful, beautiful and enchanting. This uncontrolled anger shall descend upon summer's fleeting days, autumn shall blush with a thousand glorious colors, warmth of returning sun shall, for a spell, dissipate this icy thrust. Angry winds, may again, before winter blast, uproot age old firs, break and crush golden, cottonwood at Ben Goe's bridge. Sunset dreamy in pastels rare, moody in purple and cobalt blue, thrilling in pink and rose, charming in silver and gold, once again linger in western skies. Mountain maple and prim rose aflame. Northern lights of rainbow hues play among the stars. On hilltop and over valley a silvery moon glows with softness of velvety blue. In distant stillness of frosty night, coyote from hillside cold, calls his kind. From mountain side and canyon deep, bull elk bugles to his mate, buck deer proud, alert and ready to vie for his choice. In valleys along winding brooks, moose browse among red willows. Bears feasting on mountain ash berries readying for winters hole up. Chipmunks scurry here and there. Pine squirrels chatter, cut and store cones for winters food. Blue Jays call from fir and balsam trees. Snow birds, chickadees and finches grouping for long southern flights. Nutcrackers feeding on pinion nuts. Blue and ruffed grouse bunching for winter protection. Geese and ducks feed and rest on lake and marsh land ready for autumn's migration to southern climes. Snowy owls hoot from cedar snags on cliffs high at evening time. Cutthroat trout leap in pools deep and blue up and down the silvery Hoback River. Frost came and blushed the aspens, breezes fresh wafted away their golden garments, deserted they stand in nude and beauty of Venus. Indian paint brushes gone with summer's flight and wild daisies droop with autumn's tang. Equinox blustery and howling, rolls southward. Day shortens and goes with sunset. Night chills and lingers. Candles flicker. Work and play rest, and are tenderly enfolded by dream world. Tomorrow may come with blossom full, fresh and fragrant or with blossom faded and falling - Tomorrow will tell, yes tomorrow will tell.
--Thomas Gilcrease, Sep. 1956, Jackson Hole WY

contributed by Cousin Kate

It is said in the Ellis family that Peter Selph [1820 - 1907], was a great guy and was not a liar but enjoyed making up big tales to make others laugh. It is said Peter could get on one side of the Benton County TN courthouse steps and a preacher on the other side of courthouse and Peter would gather the larger crowd while telling "big ones". During the time period Peter lived in men paid their pole taxes by working on the roads near the property they owned. So one day some men were working on the road and saw Peter galloping along on his horse so one man said "Hey Peter stop by a minute and tell us a big one." Peter replied "Can't, paw is laying in the parlor dead today." And Peter galloped off at a trot toward home. Well gosh the men hated that his father was dead as he was well liked in the community. So some of the men quit working on the road and rode their horses off to the Selph place to pay respects and when they got there the father was alive and well and in the back yard chopping wood. So again Peter told another big one and everybody fell for it as usual.

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This page was last updated on March 26, 2018