Ethel Wight Collection – Part 37

Croteau, Crowell, Crowley, & Crozier – Also, the Cumberland Club

Photo Friday
Ethel Wight Collection
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week for Photo Friday, I identify the people in four more envelopes and a building from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The envelopes contain the names who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is vital to analyze the pictures and information to identify the individual therein.[ii] Ultimately, my goal is to reunite the photos with family members who may have never seen the image.

Florence Crowell, circa 1936 (age 25)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Florence Crowell, 42 Fernald St., Portland #674.

Florence Crowell, circa 1936 (age 25)

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Florence S Crowell as a clerk at 419 Congress street who resided at 42 Fernald.
  • The 1930 US Census enumerated the 18-year-old Florence Crowell living at 26 Fernald with her mother, Susie Crowell.
  • The 1920 US Census enumerated the 8-year-old Florence Crowell living at 26 Fernald with her parents George M. and Susie Crowell.)

This photo must be of Florence Crowell, the daughter of George Milford and Susie Batchelder (Cummings) Crowell, about 1936 when she was about 25 years old.

Family Search does not have a profile for Florence; however, Family Search identifies her parents as LWG5-5PY and 9V68-116 (George and Susan). Also, 19 Ancestry trees refer to Florence Sybil Crowell (1911-1968).

Besides this photo, I have added one additional photo of Florence to Dead Fred.

Comment: One of Florence’s children confirmed this to be a photo of Florence. 

Mary Crowley, circa 1936

The negative envelope says, “Miss Mary Crowley, 18 Summer St., Portland #618.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Bartley J Crowley living at 18 Summer with his wife, Mary.
  • The 1930 US Census enumerated Bartley and Mary Crowley living 18 Summer with their four children. Patrick, Mark, Mary, and Martin. Mary, the daughter, was 20 years old, which fits the apparent age of the woman in the photograph.
  • Mary Crowley was born on 8 December 1909 in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine. The third child of Bartley and Mary (Concannon) Crowley.

Family Search identifies Mary Crowley, born 8 December 1909, and the daughter of Bartley J. and Mary (Quincannon) Crowley, as ID L1ZP-3K6. Also, 9 public Ancestry trees refer to Mary Concannon/Quincannon.

I have uploaded two photos of Mary to her Family Search Memories.

Willis, Phyllis, and Herbert Croteau, circa 1936.

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. James Crotean (or Croteau), 186 Washington Ave, Portland #1007.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • I was not able to find James Croteau in the Portland City Directories. The 1938 directory indicates that Frances E Croteau, a seamstress at 155 Brackett, lived at 115 Washington Ave. Another Croteau listed was Willard J, an agent at 477 Congress, room 903, who apparently resided in Skowhegan.
  • The 1937 Portland City directory lists Croteau, Wilfred L (Frances F), employed by the City of Portland who lived at 115 Wash Av.
  • The 1936 Portland City Directory is missing page 256, the page that Croteau should be on.
  • The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Wilfred L (and Frances F) living at 186 Washington Ave.
  • The 1930 US Census lists Wilfred L. and Frances M Croteau living at 218 Presumpscot Street with their two children, Phyllis (age 1) and Herbert (age 0). The 22-year-old Wilfred was born in Canada, and his 17-year-old wife, Francis, and the children were all born in Maine.
  • The 1940 Census lists Frances Croteau, living at 115 Washington Ave with her daughter Phyllis and sons Herbert and Willis. With them is Frances’ 62-year-old mother, Maude Merrill. Frances is listed as divorced.
  • I’m convinced this photo is of Phyllis, Herbert, and Willis Croteau about 1936. Phyllis would have been about 8, Herbert about 6, and Willis about 3. I am not sure who James Croteau is that ordered/paid for the photograph.

Family Search does not appear to have profiles for any of the children of Frances E (Merrill) Croteau.

  • Phyllis M. Croteau, born 29 December 1928, is found in 3 Ancestry Trees
  • Herbert J. Croteau, born in 1930 to Wilfred and Frances E (Merrill) Croteau, is found in two Ancestry trees.
  • I did not find Willis in any Ancestry trees.

I have uploaded this photo to Dead Fred.

Update: According to another researcher, Wilfred liked to be called “Uncle Jimmy.” Additionally, his obituary indicated his wife was Annie Sue. Her Find-a-Grave memorial mentions her husband’s name as Jim Croteau. That researcher indicated that James Croteau of Washington Ave was Wilfred L. Croteau. 

Joseph, Margaret, Robert, Katherine, and Philip Crozier, circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “ Mrs. J. B., Crozier, 31 Taylor St., Portland #497.

Joseph, Margaret, Robert, Katherine, and Philip Crozier, circa 1936

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1938 Portland City Directory lists Joseph B. Crozier and his wife, Mary H., living at 31 Taylor.
  • The 1940 US Census lists Joseph and Mary Crozier living at 31 Taylor Street with their five children
    • Joseph     18
    • Margaret 18
    • Robert       17
    • Catherine 15
    • Philip          14

This photo was taken about 1936 when the children were about four years younger.

Family Search does not appear to have profiles for any of the children nor either parent (Joseph or Mary).

The children of Joseph Francis Benedict and Mary Harriet (Faye) Crozier include:

Besides this photo, I have uploaded a second photo of the five children to Dead Fred. I’ve uploaded two more photos of the five children to my Flickr photostream. Additionally, I’ve uploaded one photo of Margaret and Katherine to Flickr. It is somewhat damaged, but Katherine’s image in the photo is really nice.

The Cumberland Club – 116 High Street, Portland, ME, circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “ The Cumberland Club – High St. Portland #344 – Taken for Miss Noyes, The Sherwood, Park St.

As a change from researching people, it was fun to see a building and see how much it hasn’t changed in the past 85 years.

The Cumberland Club is a private social club in Portland, Maine. It was built in 1800 as a private residence and organized as a club in 1877. This photo was taken about 1936.

The 1940 Portland City Directory indicates that The Cumberland Club was at 116 High Street. A look at that address on Google Maps proves that the building still stands.

I uploaded a second photo of the building to my Flickr photostream. This photo is a bit clearer, but it is damaged on the right side.


  • I identified one individual whose photo I posted to Family Search
  • I identified nine individuals whose photos I posted to Dead Fred.
  • One photo was of a building. I did identify the structure and posted two images of it to my Flickr photostream.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of your family member, I would love to hear your reaction. Especially if this photo is of a loved one for whom you hadn’t seen this photograph before.


[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.

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