Beauties at City Hall, Boston, 1916, Included Donna MontranMontran Monday
By Don Taylor
My grandmother’s father was John Montran. She used the surname, as a young child and again when she began in show business. The name is uncommon and most of the Montrans I see in the newspapers are her during her vaudeville career. With a constant flow of newly digitized material, I often learn of new articles which contain the Montran name. I pay attention to the finding and try to determine it’s possible relationship to grandma Donna or her father, John Montran. Hopefully, you will find the articles interesting. This week, for Montran Monday I found the following article:
The Philadelphia Inquirer dated March 30, 1916[i]
YOUNG LADY of pleasing personality, Free to travel to advertise magazines, big money and steady position. Inquire Miss Montran, Keystone Circulating Co. 304½ N. Broad St.
How exciting. I know very little about Donna’s life during 1916. In July 1915 she was in Boston and did her biplane stunt and in September she kissed Politicians at a Republican Banquet. It is not again until December 1916 and Donna tries out to be the Miss Boston Beauty for the Preparedness Bazaar that there are any items of her life that I know about.
When my mother was pregnant with me, she traveled from city to city selling magazine subscriptions; could she have gotten the idea of doing that from Donna’s previously working for such a company? If so, it would make sense and be a key bit of information about my mother’s selling magazine subscriptions. I researched the Keystone Circulating Company at length and found many articles about the Philadelphia based company. Only the one article ever mentions “Miss Montran.”
I track 45 different Montran individuals in my database. A look there found that Maude Minnie Winter Montran was probably living in Philadelphia in 1916. In 1910, Maude is living with a family and working as a Christian Science Nurse. By 1920, Maude had moved from Philadelphia to California. Seeing her working as a magazine circulation sales representative in 1916 in Philadelphia is more likely to me that having had Donna move from Boston in 1915 and returning to Boston in 1916.
I don’t believe this “Miss Montran” is my Donna Montran. It is much more likely to have been Maude Minnie (Winter) Montran.
 Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA) March 30, 1916, Page 15, Column 5, FEMALE HELP WANTED, 6th advertisement. Via Genealogy Bank https://www.genealogybank.com/nbshare/AC01130623185737193651535297167