A Living History of American Dance in the late 30s and early 40s

Selma, 16 yrs., Horlick School RecitalFew have had such an unusual, interesting and fulfilling life as Selma Rosner.  Her childhood, growing up in Boston in the 20s, was similar to many childhoods—the walking miles to school on the icy winter mornings, to save the dime that the trolley cost.

Born in 1921, Selma Louise Hoffman was of a family of modest means.  Her father was a traveling salesman, her mother a seamstress.  She had an older brother, Martin, and older sister, Gladys, and a younger brother, Robert.  Times were hard, but the Hoffman's gave their four children all the love that they could, worked hard to give them as advanced an education as was possible, and loads of encouragement to take all the opportunities that came their way.  Her mother, Eva, after the premature death of Selma’s father, Samuel, brought up her two sons and two daughters as a widow, sewing clothing in a factory, instilling masses of drive in her children.

Selma attended Latin School for 4 years, entering from the 6th grade.  One could enter from the 6th grade, or the 8th grade. She was very smart! Both Selma and her best buddy, Shirley, were.  You had to get all 1’s from all your teachers and recommendations.  So she and Shirley would travel together to school.

And then there was the Jewish Theatre.  She and her older sister, Gladys, loved to dance, and would spend most of their free time there...

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