Donna Darling Collection – Part 5
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor
Item #5 of the Donna Darling Collection is a photograph. Actually, it is two photographs of Donna with a stringed instrument that I consider one item. One of the images was torn badly. The other had some sticky gunk on it. One had writing and printing on the back; the other one did not. For the image below, I set the color to black and white then auto-set the contrast and brightness. Finally, I brought the sepia up and saved it as a web-sized image. I did not touch it up.
The back of the picture was stamped, “DONNA DARLING & SAMMY CLARK” as well as (in smaller block print, it is stamped “THE PRINCESS AND THE KING.” Handwritten on the back is “Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.” The front of one of the photos says “DAVIES – PORTLAND, ORE.” This one does not. So between the two photos, I have two stories.
The photo shows Donna playing what appears to be a six-string prima balalaika. The prima balalaika is a Russian instrument. That fits with Donna’s costume of what looks to me as a “shabby sheik” Eastern European looking outfit. (Hopefully, someone will comment and provide me with exactly what kind of clothing she is wearing.)
I had seen this image before. It was in several newspaper articles during late 1926 associated with “The Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.” In 1925, Donna was still performing “Donna Darling and Girls,” So, I am sure this photo was taken in 1926 sometime before the picture was used in advertising in Helena, Montana in November 1926.
The University of Oregon, UO Libraries, Knight Library, 2nd floor North, has several photographic collections.
Among those collections is one containing photographs of George W. Davis, who operated the Davies Studio from 1901 until 1925.
I should see if my sister, one of her kids, or my cousin who lives in Oregon, might be interested in stopping at the library and see if they have any photographs from 1926 showing Donna or Sammy in their collection.