Donna in the News – Delayed by Train Crash on way to Fort Armstrong

Montran Monday

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

Three New Venues discovered.

Another great week of Donna in the News with three new venues discovered and an intriguing note about Donna having been in a train crash.

The Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois) newspaper dated 29 March 1924 shows that Donna Darling and company played in a song and dance revue at the Fort Armstrong theatre. In another article, from March 31st, the paper indicated that she missed her first show at the Fort Armstrong because of a train crash. I wonder how bad of a crash was it? The crash has the potential of making another great story. I’m looking forward to additional research.

Next, is an ad from the News Record (Neehah, WI) newspaper dated 5 December 1924. The ad shows that the California Motion Picture Bathing Beauties, featuring Donna Darling played at the Neehah theatre on December 8 & 9.

Finally, from the The Record (Hackensack, NJ) dated 23 February, I learned that Donna Darling and Company played at the Lyric Theatre in Hackensack, for three days beginning February 24th.

Three new venues added to her Career List:

  • March 29, 1924 – Rock Island, Illinois – Fort Armstrong – Donna Darling & Company. com
  • December 8-9 – Neenah Theatre, Neenah, Wisconsin – Bathing Beauties featuring Donna Darling. com
  • February 24-26, 1927 – Lyric Theatre, Hackensack, New Jersey, Donna Darling & Co. com

Montrans in the News – Female Help Wanted.

Beauties at City Hall, Boston, 1916, Included Donna MontranMontran 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 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]

Philadelphia Inquirer, 30 March 1916, Page 15.

Article transcription:

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 learned:

I don’t believe this “Miss Montran” is my Donna Montran. It is much more likely to have been Maude Minnie (Winter) Montran.

ENDNOTES

[1] 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