This week on the Donna Darling “Treasure Chest” I have pulled three photos. Again, they were badly damaged. I have cropped and touched them up using Photoshop Elements to remove creases and tears as much as I could and still maintain the integrity of the photos.
The Donna Darling Review
The first photo shows the Donna Darling Review on stage. It appears that Sammy Clark is on the left and Donna in the middle. There is an unknown man on the right. The photo is probably about 1927 and the location is unknown. There is no indication of the photographer. The back of the photo is stamped with “To Be Returned to Photographic & Press Bureau, Inc. Palace Theatre Bldg, New York City.”
Next is another of the photo of the Donna Darling Review showing who appears to be Sammy on the left, Donna center stage wearing what looks to be a halo. With her are two “ladies in waiting” wearing elaborate costumes. Again, the photo was taken about 1927 and the location is unknown. The studio is cut off on the bottom right of the image, but clearly sans “Theatrical” something. The back says, “Donna Darling Review” in handwriting.
In the snow in Montreal
Finally, is a photo of Donna at a photo shoot with three other women. Donna is wearing her mink coat and is holding her Pekingese dog, “Peke.” There is no mention of the photographer nor of the date, although I suspect it was about 1926 or 1927. On the back, she wrote:
Fox News Cameras girls not afraid to dance in snow (was scared plenty) I took my mink off (sparely) hot toddy kept us from freezing-
My “Peke” was along.
I haven’t uncovered a show date for Donna to be in Montreal, yet but will continue researching her shows.
These three photos provide an interesting glimpse into the 1920s vaudeville world. The photos here were sized for printing (300 DPI) and are available from me at a higher quality if needed.
Subsequent to this research, I looked further for an image of this photo shoot. I found a copy on Tumbir.
My great-grandfather, John F. Montran, has been an enigma in my research. I haven’t found any information that closely identifies who he was or what his life was like. Montran is something of an unusual name. A search for Montran in the 1900 Census indicates there were only 10 people in the US with that surname and four of them were recent immigrants from Syria. The 1880 Census only indicates one individual with that surname in the US. So, it is pretty amazing to find that two John F. Montrans existed in the United States in the 1890s.
First, my John F. Montran was possibly born in Pennsylvania, probably married Ida Mae Barber about 1892, and appears to have died before 1897. He was a Christian Scientist.
Then there is John Foster Montran, apparently born in France. He probably married Maud Minnie Winter about 1893. John was a Traveler and appears to have died before 1900. Maud was a Christian Scientist. He lived in Pennsylvania during part of his life.
The overlap between the two men is striking. What kind of life do I have for John if I consider the two as one individual?
1892 – “Married” Ida Barber
1893 – Daughter Madonna Montran is born.
1893 – “Married” Maud Minnie Winter.
1894 – Daughter Thelma M. Montran is born.
1897 – Daughter Ruth Grace Montran is born.
1897 – The widow Ida Montran marries Max Fisher.
1900 – Maud Montran is a widow in 1900 Census.
John Montran certainly could be two different people. It also fits that he could be one person. That he married Ida, divorced her, and then married Maud. There are many possible scenarios. Although the legalities of the relationships are interesting, I’m more interested in learning if John, the father of Madonna and John the father of Thelma & Ruth are the same person.
Ida only had one child to live to adulthood, Madonna, whose father was John Montran and two grandchildren. Maude had two children with her John Montran, Thelma and Ruth and at least four grandchildren. If Madonna’s father and Thelma and Ruth’s father are the same people, their grandchildren and I would be 2nd cousins. Well within the range for atDNA testing to confirm. Now I just need to find one of those descendants and have them test.
In the meantime, I dove into understanding the life of Maud Minnie Winter, potentially, the second wife of my great-grandfather.
Maud Minnie Montran (1875-1931)
Maude Minnie Montran was born on 4 April 1874 in Canada[i]. Clearly, she passed back and forth between Canada and the United States during the 1890s.
Maude’s naturalization application indicated she came to the United States in March 1887.[ii] and her first daughter, Thelma Montran, was born in the United States in June 1894[iii] However, her second daughter, Ruth Grace Montran was born in the United States in November 1897[iv] and immigrated to the US in January 1898.[v]
Clearly, something dramatic happened in Maud’s life in 1897-1898. My conjecture is that she became pregnant with Ruth, then her husband died. She returned to Canada to have the baby with family there, then returned to the United States in 1898. The 1900 Census finds the family fragmented with Thelma and Ruth living with an aunt and uncle (Josephine & Penrose Brown) and their grandmother (Maryann Winter) in Waterloo, Seneca County, New York.[vi] Meanwhile, Maud is living 50 miles away in Rochester, Monroe County, New York. It appears that she is a live-in nurse lodging with the Sherburne family.
The 1910 Census finds to children still living with Penrose and Josephine Brown, but now in Shamokin, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Penrose indicates that the two girls are his adopted daughters.[vii] Maud is living 120 miles away with the Shoe family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, working as a Christian Science nurse.[viii] That is pretty amazing because the standard for Christian Science nurses was only established in 1908 by Mary Baker Eddy. So Maud must have been one of the very first Christian Science nurses.
In 1920 Maud’s path crosses with her daughter, Thelma and appears to separate from Ruth. I have searched for Maud in the 1920 Census to no avail, however, she shows up on the 1920 San Francisco City Directory living at 256 Carl Street. Her daughter, Thelma is in the 1920 Census living with her husband, Miner Babcock at 256 Carl Street. [ix] Minor and Thelma do not appear in the city directory and Maud does not appear in the 1919 or the 1921 San Francisco city directories. However, Maud does appear in the 1921 Redondo Beach City Directory living at 417 S. Elena Ave working as a C. S. nurse (Christian Science nurse).[x] Ruth married John Terell Cologne about 1920 and moved to Miami, Dade County, Florida. She remained there until her death in 1993.
By the 1930 Census, Thelma and her husband, Minor Babcock, have moved to Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California. Living with them and their two children is Maud.[xi]
Maud Minnie (Winter) Montran died in Los Angeles on 25 Jun 1931 at the age of 56. The location of her remains is unknown.
My next step:
Future activity includes tracing the lives of Thelma and Ruth and their descendants.
Asking living descendants of Maud to have a DNA test and see if the individual is unrelated or a cousin.
Proving that John Montran, the husband of Ida Barber and John Montran, the husband of Maud Winter are the same person will have a huge impact on my future research. If they are the same individual then any atDNA matches that match this Montran family lines will be important to help understand John Montran’s ancestry.
[i] U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992, Ancestry.Com, Maude Winter Montran.
When I first saw this clipping, I was immediately excited. This flyer not only showed the venue, and date but also the individual program. I knew I didn’t have this venue before and that Donna did her “California Bathing Beauties” show in 1920 and 1921. I didn’t know where Kaufmann’s Gayety Theater was, but I figured it couldn’t be that tough, especially because I knew that Russell V. Wright was the manager.
I searched and searched and but couldn’t find which of the many Gayety Theatres it was—Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, or any many theaters in between. I thought sure I’d figure out which theater it was by searching for “Gayety Theatre” and either “Russell V. Wright” or “Russell Wright.” No luck. I knew it should be in “The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide.” Then I went to Google Books and searched. Bang! There it was. Although I was frustrated by the process, I was reminded of something I had known but forgot. A regular Google search doesn’t return everything. A search of “Gayety Theatre” Russell Wright” returns different results on Google than it does on Google Books. Google Books provided the answer I was looking for; Google did not. The Gayety Theatre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada was managed by Russell Wright in the 1920s.
I looked at what was “On the Screen” at the bottom of the page. Jacqueline Logan in “The House of Youth” and the short, “Monsieur Don’t Care” with Stan Laurel. Both films were released in 1924. So, this couldn’t have been a February 1921 show; it was the 1925 show.
The cast included the following individuals:
And an unknown Lascoe
Learned: Donna Darling played in The California Bathing Beauties at Kaufmann’s Gayety Theatre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on February 9th and 10th, 1925.
Reminded: Not all Google searches are the same. A regular search on Google does not include searching Google Books.
Sometimes it is necessary to take two steps back to answer questions. Although quite a lot was known about Karl Bauer, almost nothing was known about his siblings. Family oral history indicated he had a dozen or so siblings. The goal was to get to know about them. In order to do so, I needed to step back and get to know Karl’s life much better. Through that process, I learned he had two sisters who lived and died in Germany before Karl immigrated. I also learned he had two sisters that came to America and lived in New York. Following is what I’ve learned about Karl’s life so far.
Hopfe-Bauer 2017 Project – Ancestor #06
List of Grandparents
Maternal Grandfather: Karl Bauer
1st Great-Grandfather: Franz Bauer
2nd Great-Grandfather: Jacob Bauer
Karl Bauer (1885-1968)
Karl Bauer was born on 16 Jan 1885 in Wolfstein, Bavaria, Germany to Franz and Margaretha (Licht) Bauer.
He is believed to have had an older sister, Katharina, and a younger sister, Karoline. Further research is needed regarding his family in Germany.
In 1900, while he was about 15, he traveled to the United States and visited Pittsburgh, PA. The purpose of that visit and any family there is unknown.
He married Anna Elizabeth Güther on 30 December 1909 in Wolfstein, Germany.
Karl and Anna had two children before the war.
Emilie was born 26 September 1910 and died 8 Nov 2005 in Brookhaven, New York.
Irmgard Elizabeth was born 21 May 1913 and died in 1990 at Yaphank , New York.
During World War 1, Karl served in the German Army. He was a musician. Further research is needed into his German military service.
Karl and Hanna had three more children after the war and before leaving for the United States.
Karl Walter was born 10 May 1920 and died 21 Nov 1987
Herbert was born in Jan 1921 and died six months later, on Christmas Day.
Reinhard was born in 1924.
In January 1926, Karl left his wife and children in Wolfstein and immigrated to the United States aboard the S.S. Columbus. He planned his immigration to be permanent. He stayed with his brother-in-law, Eduard Brummel, at 2024 Grove Str, in Brooklyn, NY upon arrival. In May, 1926, Karl formally renounced is allegiance to the German Empire and declared his intent to become a US Citizen.
Karl was musician and he is known to have played the violin throughout his life.
In January 1927, Karl’s wife Anna and three of their children, Emilie, Karl (Walter), and Reinhard (aka Reinhart) joined Karl at 229 Bleecher Street, Brooklyn. They also arrived aboard the S.S. Columbus. Irmgard also arrived in the United States in 1927, however, it doesn’t appear that she came with her mother and siblings aboard the S. S. Columbus. Today, 229 Bleecher Street is a police station.
The 1930 Census finds the Bauer family living at 229 Bleecher Street – Renting for $27/mo. There appears to be an error wherein Irmgard is identified at “Eugart” and a boy, however, the age and the rest of the family identifying information are correct. Also, in the household are Emmy, Walter, and Reinhart.
On 18 March 1931 Karl filed his petition for citizenship.
During the 1940 Census, Karl and Anna were in the same place since Anna arrived in 1927, 229 Bleecher Street, Brooklyn, NY. Walter and Reinhard were still at home. Living with them was Anna’s mother, Anna Gunther, who was widowed and had been living with them since at least 1935.
In 1962, Karl and Anna moved to Oak Street in Yaphank, Suffolk County, New York, which is about 60 miles out on Long Island.
Karl died in November, 1968. His funeral service was held at Ruland Funeral Home in Patchogue. He was survived by his wife, four children, and two sisters. He is buried in Yaphank Cemetery, Yaphank, Suffolk County, New York. Anna Died in 1975 and was buried with Karl.
Further Actions / Follow-up
Research the siblings of Karl.
Find Karl’s 1900-1901 visit to Pittsburgh and determine the reason for the visit. Did he have family there?
Find Karl’s military record.
Learn more about the Bauers of Wolfstein, Germany.
1930 Census (A), Com, Carl Bauer – Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
1940 Census (A), Com, Walter C Hopfe, Head. Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: T627_2608; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 24-2351
Find a Grave Memorial, Find a Grave, Karl Bauer Memorial# 38003122
Long Island Advance (Suffolk County, NY, ), NY Historic Newspapers, 1968-12-05 – Page 04, Column 1 – KARL BAUER.
New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957, Family Search, Karl Bauer – S.S. Columbus – Bremen —New York – January 17, 1926.
New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940, Com, Karl Bauer – Declaration 113938.
New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1940, Com, Karl Bauer – Petition #153989.
S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Ancestry.Com, Karl Bauer – 082-28-7795.
S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942, Karl Bauer – 16 Jun 1885 – Wolfstein, Germany.
This week’s Treasure Chest Thursday is clipping regarding Donna and her Bathing Beauties playing at the Bijou. The accompanying clipping indicates that the article was in “THE NEW HAVEN JOU,” so it appears to be the Bijou of New Haven, Connecticut. A quick check of Cinema Treasures indicated that there was a Bijou Theater in New Haven at that time.
The next question is when did she play there. There is no date with the clipping. A search of the newspapers available online did not provide any help. However, IMDb to the rescue. They indicate the movie was released on 7 November 1920. Consequently, I would expect that this showing would have occurred sometime within two months of the release date. We also know that Donna played in Bridgeport, CT on December 29th & 30th and possibly on December 20th. With that in mind, it fits that Donna and her Bathing Beauties played the Bijou in New Haven, CT sometime in November or December, 1920.
All attendance records were broken at the Bijou theater yesterday during the initial appearance of that bib combined all star vaudeville and moving picture bill, which is headed by Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties, and George Walsh in “The Plunger.” There isn’t a dull moment on the bill and yesterday’s audiences showed their appreciation by prolonged applause throughout the entire performance.
Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties lived up to all the good things that had been said about them and presented a production that was a delight to the eye.
Also on the bill:
Katheyn Arnold and George L. Cohan.
The Carpas Bros.
New Engagement Added:
Unknown Date: [Nov-Dec] 1920 – New Haven, CT – Bijou – Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties.
Cinema Treasurers – Bijou Theater – 28 Church Street, New Haven, CT 06510