Today is Joseph Breen’s 131st birthday. In honor of this day, I am not going to post a lengthy tribute to his character and his wonderful work. I have done that in dozens of articles on this website. Instead, I am going to publish some pictures of him and his family which were shared with me by his grandson, Jack Benton, who has become a good friend of mine. I want to thank him for generously sharing family pictures, documents, and stories with me. You can learn more about him by reading the article he wrote for this website.
The above photograph is the earliest picture I have ever seen of Mr. Breen. It is from 1917, making Mr. Breen around twenty-nine. A Breen great-granddaughter found it on Ancestry.com. It eventually made its way to Jack Benton, who sent it to me. It is from a passport application from November of 1917. Joseph Breen is accompanied by his wife, Mary. The little girl on his lap is their oldest child, Helene. The baby girl on her mother’s lap is Natalie, Jack Benton’s mother.
This picture looks like it is from the early 1930s or maybe the late 1920s. Jack Benton sent me the original photograph, which I scanned. It is of Mr. and Mrs. Breen.
This is a full family photograph from 1933, when Mr. Breen was around forty-five years old. On his left is his wife Mary. On his right is his oldest son, Joseph Jr. From left to right, the other children are Natalie, Frances, Thomas, Helene, and James. Tommy, the little boy in the middle with his mother’s hand on his shoulder, is the youngest child. He was nine at the time.
This picture is from 1944, when Mr. Breen was around fifty-six. He and Mary are posing together at a naval hospital in Hawaii. Their son Tommy was recuperating there after a serious accident on Guam, which cost him his right leg. He was a Marine during World War II. They look proud and grateful for his survival and his bravery.
I hope that these pictures help to show more of the multi-faceted and wonderful personality of Joseph I. Breen. He was a truly wonderful and unique man. I am honored to share these pictures with the world for the first time here on my website as part of The Third Annual Great Breening Blogathon!
Happy Birthday, Mr. Breen!
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