SFlashback: Miss Stanford Weds Mr. Gump
Sally Stanford and Robert Gump in 1951

Thanks to print.google.com, the full image archives of Life Magazine are now online, and hold many little historical treasures. Here’s one of our favorites, the announcement of the wedding of brothel owner Sally Stanford to Robert Gump, grandson of Gump’s founder Solomon Gump, in 1951.

They divorced 9 months later.

Miss Stanford weds Mr. Gump: Sudden ceremony in Reno unites two well-known San Franciscans.
May 7, 1951

Two of the most noted names in northern California were joined together in matrimony last week. In a surprise ceremony at Reno, Neva., Robert Livingston Gump, millionaire dealer in Oriental objects d’art, married Sally Stanford, who has a police record as the keeper of a San Francisco disorderly house. In fact she admits having run the most exclusive establishment of its kind in the U.S.

Each is 47 and has been married twice before. Mr. Gump explained that he and his late father both had known Miss Stanford for some 20 years, but that it was only within the last three years or so, a time corresponding to Miss Stanford’s retirement from the management side of her business (the only side she ever was in), that he had actively sought her hand.

She has recently engaged in a completely virtuous bar-and-restaurant business in Sausalito, across the bay from San Francisco, and it was to this that the couple returned for their bridal breakfast after a brief ceremony.

Gump Sr. (left) and son Robert helped open a Los Angeles art exhibit in 1939. Son Dick now runs the Gump firm and is soon to publish a book, Good Taste Costs No More.

Meanwhile the Gump firm published an announcement reminding that Mr. Robert Gump was no longer connected with the store. He has recently been employed as a radio news commentator and successfully predicted the outbreak of the Korean war the day before it began (although unfortunately his tape-recorded prediction was never broadcast.)

Mrs. Gump is best known as the former operator of 1144 Pine Street, a handsome establishment furnished with many rare antiques including a Roman bath 9 feet in diameter. The ill-famed house on Pine Street, which had been designed by Stanford White to imitate a Pompeian court, had few windows.

Here over the years “Miss Stanford” (real name — Mabel Busby) and her specially selected young hostesses entertained princes and shahs, movie stars, state and national dignitaries; some of her customers even brought their wives. Perhaps her widest fame came when she played hostess to men of many lands attending the San Francisco U.N. Charter conference in 1945.

Beaten up in 1947 by two thugs who invaded her home bent on robbery, Miss Stanford is treated by ambulance attendant. Police promptly launched manhunt for thugs.

Although Mrs. Gump, who retired from her career with a reported million-dollar fortune, has a very comfortable home at present, both she and her husband, yearning for the old house on Pine Street, plan to move back soon.