The Name - The Legend - The Man
Texts and images from John Law memorabilia entrusted to the NY Correction History Society by his daughter, Dr. Suzanne Law Hawes.

Page 5 of 7 pages (so far).

by Suzanne Law Hawes
(Part IV)

One thing that John told his daughter about his career with the ND team was that they traveled by special train cars (before the advent of airplanes) and there were three cars… two coaches and a chapel car in between.

John Law & 4 Horsemen in Rockne movie
John Law's name and visage appear next to those of the famous football Four Hosemen in the above detail from a poster (reduced image left) for the Universal movie The Spirit of Notre Dame

The movie, with Lew Ayres and Andy Devine, was dedicated to the memory Knute Rockne, who had died in a plane crash only months before its release.

Click either image for larger version of poster and more about the film.

He claimed that there were cliques amongst the team members self-selecting who was in what car and he was continually going back and forth between the sets of men to keep harmony, enthusiasm and contact.

The newspapers following the Rockne team are replete with information about John's football career. His deep and abiding respect for his coach carried through John's life. He basically treated all of his "men" either collegian or convict with the respect that was shown to him by his great mentor. He modeled himself and his coaching after Rockne.

On April 11, 1931 he married another Yonkers resident, Helen Van Deventer, daughter of John H. and Isabelle (Stone) Van Deventer. He was an immigrant bricklayer's son and she was the daughter of an old Dutch family who first arrived in Breukelen in 1662. They had a quiet ceremony.

John & Helen Law at Will Roger's ranch.
Mrs. Helen Law is seen next to Will Rogers in this detail, right, from a photo taken during a visit to his ranch by former Notre Dame stars and their wives while in Hollywood for filming of the footballers' part in the Universal movie The Spirit of Notre Dame.

John Law and his fellow ND grid veterans took advantage of the Hollywood hospitality and weather to enjoy their host's swimming pool.

The detail, left, showing him in a swimsuit and with a cigar, is from a group photo taken during an out-of- pool break.

The ranch -- off Sunset Boulevard in what is now the town of Pacific Palisades -- became Will Rogers State Historic Park in 1944 after the death of Mrs. Rogers. The ranch buildings and grounds are maintained as they were when the Rogers family lived there in the late 1920s and 1930s.

Click either image for the full photos.

Following the death of Rockne, they left for Los Angeles to make the movie of 'The Spirit of Notre Dame" with Lew Ayres. It was there that they visited Will Rogers ranch and were entertained in Hollywood style.

Helen Van Deventer Law writes in her diary:

Senior year, we (her sister Mollie and herself at College of New Rochelle) were in different halls. It was an exciting year for me, with John Law captain of the Notre Dame football team. He graduated in January (1930) and went to work on Wall Street.

She continues:

In June (1931) John was employed by Rockefeller Center, then being built, but stayed only until July when we left for California on an all expense paid trip to Hollywood to make a film of Rocke's life "The Spirit of Notre Dame." Among those who went were Mrs. Rockne, Christy Walsh and his wife, the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame and their wives, Adam Walsh, Bucky O'Connor, Art McMahon and Frank Carrideo.

It was somewhat glamorous adventure with spectacular parties with famous movie stars including Walter Houston, Anita Page, Jean Harlow, Ginger Rogers, Sue Carol, Kent Douglas, Mae Clark and Lois Moran. We spent an afternoon as guests of Will Rogers at his ranch, an evening at the Coconut Grove with Nick Stuart and Sally Blane, Mary Brian, Ginger Rogers; a dinner party at Sally Blane's with Loretta Young, Joan Marsh and Joyce Complin.

We left Hollywood via Sunset Limited on August 22 and visited New Orleans, returning to New York by steamer.

Law & Rockefeller Center steeplejacks:
At one point during his stint as a Rockefeller Center agent in 1930, John Law joined the steeplejacks on an upper floor still under construction high above mid-city for promotional photos of high altitude, high powered football tips. Click the image for the full photo.

From there on, it was football practice, having players for dinner, games and social events. The football season was not a success and at the end of it John's contract was canceled.

We found an apartment in Fieldston near Manhattan College where John was coaching football. On March 31, 1931, Knute Rockne was killed in an airplane crash, to the consternation of people all over the world and a great shock to John. He went to South Bend for the funeral.

Because it was the Depression jobs were hard to get and work hard to find especially in the world of sports. They moved to Helen's parent's home in Yonkers and their son was born in 1932.

Shortly after, John secured a job with the Alcohol Beverage Commission and they secured their own apartment.

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John B. Law was a member of the State Commission of Correction at the time of his death in 1962. To learn more about the SCOC, click its logo left to access its web site.

The image selections and captions on this web page are by the NYCHS webmaster.