200 North Main Street | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428
Home > Blog > A Unique Look At A Hollywood Starlet
Among the many treasures held by the McLean County Museum of History is this portrait of Irene Delroy (pictured above) painted by George Maillard Kesslere in 1929. It hung in the Ithaca, NY, home of her second husband Gerard Oberrender until his death in 1998.

Josephine Sanders was born in Bloomington, IL, on July 21, 1900. She was better known by her stage and screen name, Irene Delroy, which was created by combining her parents' names, Della and Royal. Leaving Bloomington at the age of 17 to perform ballet at the Chicago Grand Opera, Mrs. Delroy went on to perform in Raymond Hitchcock's Hitchy-Koo review in 1923 and the Ziegfeld Follies in 1927. Signing with Warner Bros. in 1930, she made four films over the next two years: The Life of the Party, Divorce Among Friends, Oh, Sailor Behave and Men of the Sky. Mrs. Delroy took a leave of absence from show business during the brief married to her first husband, ultimately returning to the big screen in 1935 after their divorce. The Museum is the proud steward of a large collection of Mrs. Delroy's personal effects and archival materials.

Among the many treasures held by the McLean County Museum of History is this portrait of Irene Delroy (pictured above) painted by George Maillard Kesslere in 1929. It hung in the Ithaca, NY, home of her second husband Gerard Oberrender until his death in 1998. Looking at the above painting, it's easy to imagine Mrs. Delroy living a glamorous life on and off Broadway; however, it seems that she had a love for the outdoors as well!

Seen here with first husband William L. Austin, Jr., Mrs. Delroy enjoyed horseback riding. Her riding breeches & whip, pictured below, are part of the Museum's permanent collection.

The Museum also owns Mrs. Delroy's fly-fishing bag, fully loaded with the necessary equipment to catch the biggest of trout, and her fly-fishing hat.

It is not known exactly where her fishing excursions took her, or how often she enjoyed the sport, but these objects provide a small glimpse into the personal life of one of Hollywood's most photographed women of the early 1930s. Mrs. Delroy died June 14, 1985 in Ithaca, NY.

You can find out more information regarding the Museum's vast archival collection documenting Irene Delroy's life at http://mchistory.org/old/find/delroysanders.html.


Written By

Tod Eagleton

Tod Eagleton

Posted in Collection Highlights

December 1st, 2014

0