Known as Mrs. E. O. Briles most of her adult life, Pauline Edith Mentzer was born in Woodson County, Kansas in 1896. Pauline and her twin brother, Paul, were the children of Charles Oliver and Nettie Adell (Wells) Mentzer. Pauline spent her youth in the northern part of Woodson County, Kansas where she attended school.
In 1913, Pauline completed the ‘Common School Course of Study’. Her required course of study included reading, orthography, writing, arithmetic, geography, US History, Physiology, civil government, Kansas History, classics and agriculture.
At the age of 19, Pauline married Edward Osmund Briles and became known as Mrs. E. O. Briles. Her first child, Walter, was born in 1917. A year later the couple welcomed a second son, Kenneth.
Mr. and Mrs. Osmund Briles who lives south of here took their eight months baby which had stomach and bowel trouble to Kansas City to consult a specialist, week before last and last Tuesday the baby died and was brot here Wednesday and buried in the Crandall cemetery. The funeral was held to the Christian church Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. conducted by Rev. Mr. Lowe of Burlington. Kenneth was a sweet child and will be greatly missed in the home and we extend our sympathy to the parents and relatives in their sorrow.
Based on a postcard passed down by Pauline, it appears that Pauline was hospitalized a few months after the death of her child.
Pauline must have become an ‘expert’ at moving as the family seemed to have a new address every few years. When Kenneth was born in 1918, the family was living in Vernon (Woodson County) Kansas. During the early 1920’s the family was in Iola (Allen County) Kansas where her husband operated a garage. Her daughter, Letha, was born while the family lived in Iola. Around 1929, the family moved from Iola to Buffalo (Wilson County). It was in Buffalo that her husband Edward Osmund Briles began his career with motion pictures. It was also in Buffalo, that her daughter Roberta was born. Shortly, after that the family moved to Emporia, Kansas, where her daughter, Barbara was born. Even though Pauline would spend the rest of her life in Emporia, the family continued to move frequently. The family first lived outside of the city limits on the East side of town. Other Emporia addresses for the family include 416 Constitution (1938), 613 Lincoln (1940), 645 Lincoln (1952), 924 Constitution (1953), 138 W. 12th (1957), 1014 Market (1959), 821 W. 6th (1966).
According to a want ad, Pauline was forced to move from the duplex on West 6th when the property was rezoned. She was able to locate that ‘3 room apartment’ and moved to 609 West Fifth.
Throughout her life, Pauline was socially active. In 1934, Pauline joined the First Christian Church in Emporia. She was an active member of that church until her death. In 1960, Pauline was a member of the ‘Harmony Builders Class’ in the church. Besides hosting or attending family events, Pauline was a member of the East Sixth Avenue Club and the Whittier Unit.
Although most would have viewed Pauline as a typical wife and mother during the 30s and 40s, she was not always ‘traditional.’ In an interview with a correspondent for the magazine, Motion Picture Herald, Pauline told the reporter that she was going for an airplane ride. This interview was published in Oct. 1932. Since the June 11, 1932 issue of the Emporia Gazette includes an advertisement for those airplane rides, it is possible that this young mother did partake of this adventure. Pauline also worked in her husband’s business — The Lyric Theater. The 1936 directory for Emporia indicates that Pauline was a cashier for The Lyric Theater.
Pauline’s husband, Edward O. Briles, died in 1956. After over 40 years of marriage, Pauline faced life as a widow — but continued to be known as Mrs. E. O. Briles.