A Progressive New York City Hotel In 1929 Hired Women Bellhops

In 1929 The Almanac Hotel In New York City Became The First Hotel In The Country To Hire Women Bellhops

Hotel Almanac girl bell-hops

New York Hotel Using Girl Bell-Hops

The newest wrinkle in hotel service these days is girl bell-hops. The Almanac Hotel, New York City, is probably the first hotel in the country to use girls for bell-hop service. Hotel customers say they give “real service” too. Here are three of them standing by while a patron registers. The girls are, left to right: Eleanor Julin, Mildred Wilson and Edith Gillin. – Associated Press Photo 11/13/1929

Only at the high class hotels do you still find bell-hops. Until the 1970s, almost all hotels had them.

The Almanac Hotel, (aka Hotel Almanac), was being “progressive” at the time, by hiring female bell-hops, in what was traditionally a male occupation. Or were they?

More likely the hotel used this as a publicity stunt rather than advocating for equal working rights for women. The Los Angeles Times was one of the few newspapers to pick up the story. They ran a small article under the headline “Pretty Girls Take Jobs As Bell-Hops.”

In 1929, baseball superstar and notorious womanizer Babe Ruth was living at the Almanac Hotel. Babe’s newly married second wife, Claire Hodgson, probably kept a close eye on Babe and kept him away from the girl bell-hops.

The timing of the hiring girl bell-hops is notable. This photograph was taken only a few weeks after the great stock market crash of ’29. The girls were lucky to have any job.

What happened to girl bell-hops after the novelty wore off?

The Almanac Hotel, built in 1923, was converted to rental apartments sometime in the 1970s. The building still stands at 160 West 71st street and is now called the South Pierre.

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One thought on “A Progressive New York City Hotel In 1929 Hired Women Bellhops

  1. Kevin

    One bellman told me that the rolling suitcase was killing off the occupation.

    Funny how the papers felt obligated to describe the “girls” as pretty. A newsreel touring an animation studio in the 1930s did the same thing regarding the female employees. Was that a job requirement? And were the men described as handsome?

    Reply

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