Ethel Wright Collection – Part 6

Baker, Baldwin, Bangs, Barry, & Bassett

Photo Friday
By Don Taylor

This week for Photo Friday, I look at identifying five more negatives from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The names on the envelope are of the individual who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is important to analyze the photo and information to positively identify the photographs.[ii]

Child of Mrs. Leroy Baker
(Probably) Richard Baker (1933-2018)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Leroy Baker – 684 Forest Ave., Portland.”

Child of Mrs LeRoy Baker ()

The 1936 Portland City Directory reports Leroy R. (Alice A) Baker living at 684 Forest Ave., Portland.

The 1940 Census reports Leroy R. Baker at the Maine State Prison.

The 1940 Census also reports Alice A. Baker living with her mother, Isabell Boyle, a brother, Lawrence, and Alice’s three children; Richard L., Barbara J., & Isabell R. ages 6, 5, and 2 respectively.

I believe this child is either Richard or Barbara. I believe that because the photo is of a single child it was taken about 1934 of Richard. If it had been taken in 1935/6, I believe the photo would have been taken of the two children together. I see the bonnet and the sweater, however, the dress at that time is not sufficient to persuade me to believe it is a photo of Barbara.

I found a person online (at Ancestry.Com) in who appears is a grandchild of Leroy and Alice. I’ve asked that person if they can identify the apparent uncle/aunt in the photograph.

I created a profile for Richard Baker (1933-2018) on Family Search but have not uploaded the images to that profile, however, I have uploaded them to my Flickr Account – See Photo 1 & Photo 2. I hope that the descendant of LeRoy and Alice can confirm the identity of the child in the photo.

Nancy Baldwin (1934-2012)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Wm Baldwin – 51 Morning St, Portland #679”

Nancy Baldwin ca. 1934

The 1937 Portland City Directory shows William G. Baldwin and his wife Gertrude J. residing at 51 Morning in Portland.

The 1940 Census shows William and Gertrude living on Morning with their five-year-old daughter, Nancy.

Family Search suggests this couple is William George Baldwin (1910-1970) and Gertrude J. Quinn (1916-Deceased)

Several Ancestry Trees suggest that Nancy Baldwin is the child of William and Gertrude and that she was born 25 May 1934 and died 7 May 2012. As such, I’ve created a profile on FamilySearch, LYWL-4K3 and uploaded one of the images to that profile.

Mrs. Blanche Bangs

The envelope this negative was in says, Mrs. Blanch Bangs – 92 Vesper St., Portland.”

Mrs. Blanche Bangs

The 1920 Census shows Blanche Bangs, wife of H. John Banks, living at 92 Vesper Street, Portland. Blanche was born circa 1893 in Canada.

The 1930 Census shows Blanche living at 92 Vesper, but she was a widow.

The 1940 Census shows Blanche still living at 92 Vesper, and still a widow.

In 1935, about when this photo was taken, Blanch would have been about 43. The woman in this photo appears to be in her 40s to me, so I believe it to be Blanch.

A quick search for Blanche on Family Search failed to yield a clear result, so I took a closer look.

1930 Census – Blanche Bangs Age 37 Widow, Married at age 27. She was born in Canada. Her father was born in England and her mother was also born in Canada. She came to the states in 1911.

Looking back on the 1920 Census, Blanche’s mother, Roxanna M. Bangs was living with the family. That helps confirm a Record of Marriage that indicates H. John Bangs married Blanch Halstead on 26 November 1919. H. John’s mother was Roxanna Bangs. Blanche’s parents were Joseph Halstead and Julia A. Noble, who were living in Portland at the time.

Blanche Halstead, the daughter of Joseph and Julia (Noble) Halstead, has a profile on FamilySearch, LYL4-KL1.

Alice M. Barry

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Alice M Barry – 407 Chapman Bldg, Portland #79.“

Alice M. Berry – ca. 1934

First, the Chapman Building is the original name for the Time and Temperature building in downtown Portland, Maine. It is a fourteen-story building at 477 Congress Street.

The 1940 Census indicated three “Alice M Barry’s” in Cumberland.

  • Alice M. Berry, Age 55, Wife of Edward C. Berry. She lived with her husband at 174 Edwards Street in Portland.
  • Alice M. Barry, Age 38, Daughter of Thomas E. & Nellie T. Barry. She was a clerk typist for the Government in 1940. She lived with her parents at 218 Pine in South Portland.
  • Alice M. Berry, Age 45, wife of Norris J. Berry, lived at 277 Maine Street, Westbrook.

The Portland, Maine, City Directories for 1933 through 1937 complete the identification.  reports

  • 1933 – Alice M Barry – Sten[iii] r 218 Pine SP
  • 1934 – Alice M Barry – Sten 477 Cong Room 407 – R 218 Pine SP.
  • 1935 – Alice M Barry – Sten r 218 Pine SP
  • 1936 – Alice M Barry – Sten 317 Cong r 218 Pine SP

From the city directories, we can be certain the photo was taken in 1934 or 1935. From the directories and the 1940 census record, we can be certain this Alice M Barry is the daughter of Thomas E. & Nellie T. Barry. In 1940, Alice was 38 which suggests she was about 32 in this photo. The woman in the photo seems to be in her early 30s, so I’m confident this is her.

Family Search has an Alice M Barry, born 3 September 1902 to Thomas Edward and Nellie “Ellen” T (O’Donnell) Barry. Her profile on FamilySearch is G9F3-LM4.

Hope Cleone (Bassett) Shedin (or Sheddin)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Hope Bassett – Me Gen Hospital City #318.”

Hope Bassett ca. 1934

A search on Ancestry quickly found a high school yearbook photo of Hope Cleone Bassett in the 1932 Augusta, Maine yearbook. That photo is clearly of the same young woman who was born October 9, 1914.

In 1935 Hope was working in Augusta as a nurse and in 1938 she had moved to Portland where she was a nurse employed at 22 Arsenal which was the Maine General Hospital, the predecessor of the Maine Medical Center.

The 1930 Census indicates that Hope C Bassett, of Augusta, Maine was the daughter of Jacob P. H and Anna E. Bassett.

Hope died on 13 September 1977.

Hope did not have a profile on Family Search, however, her parents did. Because I learned that Hope died, I created a profile for her on Family Search – ID 27VJ-8CT and uploaded the images of her that I have.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of a family member of yours, I would love to hear your reaction. Have you seen the photo before. Do you disagree with my assessment?


[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.

[ii] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera, and computer software.

[iii] “Sten” is the abbreviation for Stenographer used in these directories.

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