Birthday Blues

Mark posted 02/19/05 08:30 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
This site says a priest revealed the correct birthdate after Bing's death, along with an announcement placed in a local newspaper at the time. It doesn't say when this happened, but I would imagine it was quite soon after Bing's death. The FDC actually reads:

American Actor, Singer
Born ........ May 2, 1904
Died .... October 14, 1977

Obviously the May 2nd was incorrect as well, Bing having entered the world on May 3rd 1903.
howard crosby posted 02/19/05 11:03 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Harry L Crosby (Bing) was born on May 3, 1902. His older brother Edward J Crosby (Ted) was born on Joly 29, 1900. Ted was my Dad, and after all these years, although I don't expect anyone here to beleive me on this topic, I still remember him telling me that Bing was not quite two years younger.

When they were boys, they slept under the same quilt in the same sleeping poarch on East Sinto Ave in Spokane. I have a phote of the two of them holding their new little puppies when Dad was about four and Bing a little over two. At that young age, it is incredibly obvious that there wasn't THREE years difference in their ages.

Since the Pierce County, WA courthouse burned down in about 1915, destroying both of their birth certificates, this whole issue can never be definitively resolved. Having said that, I am convinced BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that Bing Crosby was born in 1902.

But really, what's the difference? The important thing is that, whenever they were born, both Bing and Ted left the world a much better place because they were here.
Ben Weaver posted 02/19/05 11:06 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Actually Bing's correct birthday [May 3rd.1903] has been known since the date of his birth. In Gary Giddins wonderful book "Bing Crosby-A Pocketful Of Dreams" on Page 30 Mr. Giddins writes that the announcement of Bing's birth was published in two local newspapers a day or two after the event. In his book,"BING Crosby and The Bing Crosby Style" by Dr. J.T.H. Mize, published for The Academy of American Music in 1946 by Who Is Who In Music, Inc. Dr. Mize writes;

"Then, Bing Crosby was born in the Great Northwest: in Tacoma, Washington. It was a modest, white, wooden, two-story residence at 1112 North Jay Street in Tacoma on 3 May 1903 that Harry Lillis Crosby made his debut as the fourth of seven children born to Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lowe Crosby"

"Officially, Bing was never born: at least his birth was not confirmed, we had the records of Tacoma's Department of Public Health searched and researched on two occasions: and between 1898 and 1906 only two births to the Crosby family were recorded in Tacoma, two "unnamed females" who were Catherine and Mary Rose. According to the parish records of nearby Saint Patrick's Church Harry Lillis was baptized there on 31 May 1903"
"All of the children except Bob were born in Tacoma before the family moved to Spokane in July of 1906. But as was not uncommon back in those days, the attending obstetrician simply neglected to register this Bing baby, not realizing that eventually the ugly brat would become one of the best known figures in world history".

The Baptismal Certificate gives the date of birth as May 3rd. 1903.
Mark posted 02/19/05 11:40 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
So Bing was 75 when he died in Spain? That means he was older than Bob Hope. I knew he was quite old, because in the picture you can see he had quite wide legs. It's sad that he never got to officially celebrate his 75th in 1977 because fans from all over the world would have wanted to participate. How old are you now, Howard, if you don't mind me asking?
Steven Lewis posted 02/19/05 11:58 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
Birthdates do not make a difference when it comes to your enjoyment of a performer. They do make a difference to historians and folks interested in history, and we should respect the research that they do. Discrepencies in what a family says about a member's birthdate versus what the records outside the family say can reveal something about the family. As far as Bing's brother's recollection of Bing's birthday is concerned, I know that if you asked the 3 siblings of the Lewis family when each other was born I doubt that they could tell you correctly without looking it up. I know my Dad couldn't because I've asked him to recall the dates.
Ben Weaver posted 02/19/05 02:53 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Howard. I certainly respect your opinion. I've always understood that your uncle Bing celebrated his birthday on May 2nd. so as to have a birthday of his own within the family. Your aunt Mary Rose, I believe, was also born on May 3rd [1906] and the celebration date was changed by their mother [your grand mother]so as to give each a day of their own. Is this your understanding as well?

Steven is so right. It doesn't really make all that much difference . It's the man and his contribution to the world of entertainment that we remember and celebrate.
howard crosby posted 02/20/05 08:23 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
In response to the earlier query, I'm 52. As to the widely quoted fable about each of the siblings being given their own birthday to "celebrate", I'm afraid they didn't celebrate birthdays in Dad's family. I didn't belieive this when I was a kid, but Dad and Mary Rose and Kay all said the same presents, no cake, no celebration of any kind.

Dad also said they only got an orange in their stocking for Christmas, which I thought was most certainly BS....but again this was confirmed for me by multiple siblings, including Uncle Bing. They didn't have any extra money for presents in that family, especially since my Grandfather was always spending money the family didn't have on frivolities like grammaphones or a new banjo.

Now Steven, I'd have to agree about the brother's recollection bit, except for the photographs seem to underscore the point. There is NO WAY they are three years apart in that photo. Plus, although in a big family you may not know the age of every other member, you probably do know the age of the next younger sibling sleeping in the bed with you. The baptismal record proves nothing, as quite often children aren't baptized for a year or so after they are born. That was the case with me. I've yet to ever see anything which would convince me that Dad wasn't right on this point, in fact, the most compelling evidence I do have in the matter, i.e., the photo, convinces me he was exactly right.
Steven Lewis posted 02/20/05 11:48 AM Central Time (US)     No E-mail no email address given
So, Howard, are you saying that the reporting of two different Tacoma newspapers dated May 6 and May 7, 1903, reporting the birth of a son to the Crosby family on May 3, 1903, were made up by both the newspapers? Or did the Crosby family make up the story that they sent to the newspapers? Or is Norm Crosby your missing Uncle? Inquiring minds ....
howard crosby posted 02/21/05 09:57 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Steven: I've never seen these two newspaper articles. Do they really exist? If so, they would seem to be fairly accurate original sources, and we seem to trump my father's memory. But since I got my degree long ago in history, I know that quite often someone quotes form a supposed original source, which may or may not exist, and from then on everyone that writes on the subject refers back to the "original source" as quoted by author #1 without actually having seen the original themselves. Lord knows, this is how it became "well known" that Bing was a child beater. Which we know is BS. (Source: direct testimony of Philip Crosby).

So my question is: Have you seen these newspaper articles?
Ben Weaver posted 02/21/05 10:24 AM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
Howard. I have photostat copies of the pages from the two newspapers announcing " the birth of a baby boy" at the Crosby household. They were obtained from the Tacoma Public Library. About half way down the page from "The Tacoma Daily News" of Wed. May 6th. 1903 it reads, "Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Crosby are receiving congratulations on the arrival of a son at their household May 3"
At the top of a page from "The Daily Ledger" of Thursday,May 7th.1903 it reads,
"A little son arrived May 3 in the home of Mr. and Mrs. H.L. Crosby". The annoucement is in a section headed "City News In Brief" which gives information on things going on around the city. Looks like some sort of a social events page. For instance the following notice is also given "Mrs. J. D. Smith accompanied by her son left last evening by the North Coast Limited for Butte, Mont. for an extended visit"
You may be interested in this announcement as well, Howard. From the "Tacoma News Ledger" of Dec. 14th 1902.
"Harry L. Crosby has purchased two lots on the upper side of J Street between North 11th. and 12th. Streets for $850. He will commence the erection of a $2,500 residence there". Also this, "Tacoma carpenters will enter the spring building work under a new scale of wages fixing the pay at $3.60 per day, an increase of 60 cents per day over the scale now in force. Foremen will earn $4.60 per day".
jane s. posted 02/21/05 03:05 PM Central Time (US)    E-mail contact the author directly
In addition to the newspaper announcements of Bing's birth, in Ken Barnes book, The Crosby Years, there is a reproduction of his baptismal certificate with the listed birthdate of May 3, 1903. It's on page 11. He was baptized on May 31, 1903 and the date of birth is listed along with parents and godparents. Most babies were baptized within a month of their birth because our parents and grandparents believed unbapitized babies would be in limbo for eternity if someithing happended to them before baptism took place. There was an urgency. Fortunately, we no longer look at limbo as a threat to our unbaptized babies. My twins are now 35 years old and I remember my father just frantic because I planned their baptism for 3 months after birth and I didn't believe in limbo! I was always a challange for my parents.

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