Donna in the News – Two New Venues

Donna Montran
Vaudeville

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, I learned of two new venues, specific dates for a previously known show, and one venue confirmed by another newspaper. I made these new discoveries using Genealogy Bank. A Search for Donna Montran found four new articles. One article confirmed a venue I wrote about before—Pacy’s Garden Theatre on September 14-17, 1920. The Baltimore American dated Sep 14, 1920, on page 5 said:

Bathing Girls at Garden.

Nine bathing girls, grouped as “The California Bathing Girls” and headed by Donna Montran are presenting “A Beach Promenade,” a musical comedy, at the Garden Theatre this week. The offering differs from the usual bathing-girl act in that it is not a series of tableaux, but is an ambitious musical comedy offering with six beach scenes and a number of tuneful melodies.

The Bijou – New Haven, Connecticut – 19-22 December 1920.

The Connecticut Labor Press (New Haven, CT) for Dec 18, 1920, said that:

George Walsh in “The Plunger,” and “The Dragon’s Net” will remain for the first half of the week in conjunction with a remarkable bill of all-star vaudeville headed by Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.

From the Donna Darling Collection, (DDC-8) I had known that Donna played at the Bijou in New Haven sometime in November or December of 1920. An ad on this page showed it was Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (19-22 December).

State Theatre – Trenton, New Jersey – 3-5 March 1921

The latter part of Donna’s 1920-1921 Bathing Beauty Show has always been a mystery. I knew she played the Keeney Theatre in Brooklyn at the end of January and that she closed the show in May or June for the summer, but I knew nothing of February, March, April, or May. Thanks to the Trenton Evening Times, dated March 3, 1921, on page 16 I learned that she played the State Theatre, in Trenton, New Jersey in “Tom Rooney’s and Earl Lindsay’s California Bathing Girls.”

Garden Theatre – Baltimore, Maryland – 20 March 1921

The Baltimore Sun ran an advertisement for “The California Bathing Girls with Donna Montran in “A Beach Promenade” on March 20,  1921. This was a return to the Garden Theatre for Donna with the same show six months after her earlier show. Still not sure how many days she was there, but further research should provide the answer.



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Montran in the News – 3 New Articles from Genealogy Bank

Montran Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

This week for Montran Monday[i], I decided to renew my subscription to Genealogy Bank. Genealogy Bank is one of the top three paid newspaper sources that I know about; I use them regularly. My search for “Montran” yielded three new entries since the last time I searched their system that were not about my grandmother.

This week’s first entry is from the Trenton Evening Times dated 19 July 1887, Page 1

Under “Police Pickings” was:

“William Montran, Patrick Conlon and James Connors were each fined $3 last night for disorderly conduct at the Clinton street railroad station.”

The second entry is from the Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) dated 30 January 1917, page 16:

Times-Picayune – 1/30/1917

TEN GROCERS FACE CHARGES.

Baton Rouge Scene of Arrests for Violations of Sunday Law.

“Baton Rouge, La. Jan. 20—Ten arrests for violation of the Sunday law were made yesterday by Officers Lejeune and Schoonmaker. The men were proprietors of small grocery stores and almost all of them were Italians. Those arrested were:

Nick Montran, Palmer and America Streets, Sam Dagestino…..”

The third entry is from the Sun (Baltimore, MD) dated 4 April 1920. Under “Marriage Licenses.”:

COLOGNE—MONTRAN. –JOHN T., 24, Philadelphia, Pa.; Ruth G., 22.

Things I learned

One – A William Montran was fined for disorderly conduct in Trenton, New Jersey in 1887.

My records have two William Montrans. The first one was born in Canada, about 1846. Yes, a 41-year-old Canadian could be in Trenton, New Jersey getting disorderly. However, there is nothing to link this incident to that William Montran.

My second William Montran was born in Kansas sometime before 1860. Again, there is nothing to link this William Montran to the individual fined for disorderly conduct in Trenton, New Jersey in 1887.

  • I added a third William Montran to my records indicating the event.

Two – A Nick Montran, grocery store proprietor, was arrested for being open on Sunday.

My records have two Nick Montrans. The first one was born about 1882 in Romania. He had children born in Pennsylvania in 1916 and 1919, so it is unlikely he was a store proprietor in Baton Rouge, LA in 1917.

The second Nick Montran is the son of Nick Montran and was born in 1916. This can’t be the same Nick who was arrested.

  • I added a third Nick Montran to my records indicating the event.

Three – Ruth G. Montran and John T. Cologne received a marriage license before 4 April 1920. John was 24, and Ruth was 22.

I had Ruth and John Marrying at ages 24 and 22, respectively, based on the 1930 Census[ii]. Ruth was born on 27 Nov 1897, so she would have been 22 on 27 Nov 1919. So, my records suggested the two were married between 27 Nov 1919 and 27 Nov 1920. Assuming that marriage licenses are reported weekly, I believe they received their license after 25 March 1920.

  1. I changed the marriage date of Ruth Montran and John Cologne to between 25 Mar 1920 and 27 Nov 1920. I added the marriage location as Maryland.
  2. I added an event, Marriage License, before 4 April 1920. Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, to my database.


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Endnotes

[i] Montran Monday – 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 my grandmother during her early vaudeville career. However, with the 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 a possible relationship of any Montrans to Donna’s father, John Montran.
[ii] 1930 Census (NARA), Ancestry.Com, 1930 – John T. Cologne – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Year: 1930; Census Place: Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0496. Original data: the United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

Montrans in the News – Week 2019-22

Montrans in the News – Discovered during week 22 of 2019

Montran Monday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

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 early vaudeville career. With a constant flow of newly digitized material, I often learn of new articles that 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 two articles:

 This week’s first entry is from The Paterson Morning Call dated Dec 30, 1941.

Incorporations

Papers of incorporation were filed in the office of County Clerk Lloyd B. Marsh yesterday by the Bargain House of America, Inc., whose principal office at 812 Market street is in charge of Bando J. Caruso of 427 Bloomfield avenue, Montclair, as statutory agent. The corporation has been formed for the purpose of dealing and selling of motor cars, aircraft, motor boats and other articles.

 The authorized stock of the corporation is 200 shares with no par value. Ten shares have been subscribed with which to commence business. The incorporators are: Betty Schimmel, 331 Ninety-fourth street, Brooklyn, five shares; Sally Schimmel, 34½ St. Marks place, New York city, four shares; Fred Montran, 188 Warren street, Brooklyn, one share. 

I was unsuccessful finding any additional information regard a Fred Montran at 188 Warren Street. Today, that address is a 3-story walk up with 4 apartments (one down, 3 up). A search of the address found several articles regarding the address, but none referring to a Fred or a Montran. Likewise, searches for the “Bargain House of America” failed to yield any additional information. I think this was a false lead. 


 This week’s second entry is from The Plattsmouth Journal (Plattsmouth, NE dated Dec 30, 1941.  

— Nehawka —
S/Sgt. Jed Kropp left Tuesday morning for Tucson, Ariz, to spend the remainder of his enlisted time in the air corps at Davis-Montran air base. His father, Ernest Cropp accompanied him to Kansas City, where they visited relatives.

I had never heard of a Davis-Montran air base in Arizona, so I suspected an error of some sort.  A quick look confirmed it should have been reported as the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Clearly a newspaper typo.

No new Montran facts were discovered this week (sigh). Hopefully, I’ll find something next week.

Donna Forms an Act in April 1918 — Or Not?

My understanding of the early career of Donna Montran is filled with holes. We know that she married Thomas Rooney on November 23, 1915.  I have only found one event in her life during 1916 and one in 1917. Both of these events took place in Massachusetts. It appears that she was still in Boston on January 27, 1918, but by the following month (February 1918), she had located to New York and began appearing on the “United Time.

It is the April 10th issue of the New York Clipper[i] which gives us an indication that she probably had a bad experience. It reported:

            MONTRAN AND KENNIER UNITE

            Dinna Montran[ii], of musical comedy fame, and George Kennier, principal with “Very Good Eddie,” have framed a singing and dancing act for the Moss and Lowe Circuits.

NY Clipper, 10 Apr 1918, Pag6 6, Column 4.

Likewise, the April 17th issue of the New York Clipper[iii] reported:

George Kennier and Dinna Montran will put on a new singing and dancing act within the near future.

N Y Clipper – 17 April 1918, Page 19, Column 2.

Then silence for over a year, from the New York Clipper, until October 22nd, 1919, when it reported:

Dora Montran opened with “Chin Chin” in Omaha last week.[iv]

What happened with Donna and her career from April 1918 until January 1919? It appears that her association with George Kennier was short-lived and went nowhere. My searches for George Kennier found nothing about such a show and I found nothing about him in the vaudeville news after it.

Conclusion

I think I need to add two in-depth research tasks.

  1. I need to know more about Donna’s second husband, Thomas Valentine Rooney.  He married Donna in 1915 directed her in 1919. He also did scenery and other functions for Donna in 1920.  He seems to fade away from Donna’s life in late 1920.
  2. I also need to add an in-depth research task to research George Kennier.  There was a George Kennier who lived in Boston in 1915.  Is this the same person?  Donna was in Boston in 1915, so it is possible that they knew each other there and then started to put together a show in 1918. We will see what the research finds.

    Endnotes

[i] New York Clipper – 10 April 1918, Page 6, Column 4, Paragraph 6 – “Montran and Kennier Unite.”

[ii] I have little doubt that “Dinna Montran” and “Donna Montran” are the same person. I don’t know if she was trying out using Dinna or if the paper got here name wrong. However, the Montran name is so unusual and another Montran who was known for musical comedy is very unlikely.

[iii] New York Clipper – 17 April 1918, Page 19, Column 2, Paragraph 10 – Kennier & Montran….

[iv] That report is just a little off. She joined “Chin Chin” on October 30th in Decatur, Illinois. “Chin Chin” didn’t play in Omaha until November 7th. Also, there never was another Montran with the “Chin Chin” show besides Donna.

 

Donna in the News – 21 April 1922

Famous Musical Comedy Star Now Playing at the Feeley

“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I discover a new photo of my grandmother during her exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.

This week: The Standard Sentinel (Hazleton, PA) newspaper dated 21 April 1922

“Beautiful Miss Donna Darling, who appeared here two seasons ago in “Chin Chin,” is presenting an elaborate Song and Dance spectacle at the Feeley in the Current Bill.”[i]

I knew Donna played at the Feeley Theatre April 20, 1922, from her scrapbook collection. However, this newly discovered series of 11 articles provide clear start and end dates for her show, as well as what else was playing when she played.


Endnotes

[i] Standard-Sentinel (Hazleton, Pennsylvania) · Fri, Apr 21, 1922 · Page 5 – Accessed from Newspapers.Com on Dec 8, 2018 (https://www.newspapers.com/image/500362601.)