Donna Darling Collection – Part 89

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at two clippings from one page of the Donna Darling Collection. There is both an ad and a text write-up. The good news is that a handwritten note above the clippings is “Topeka Kans.”


Clipping from Donna Darling Collection

The ad shows three show times, 3:00—7:30—9:15, at the Novelty Theater.

The show is the “Dona [sic] Darling Revue with Sammy Clark in a riot of beauty and comedy singing and dancing.”

The clip also mentions four other acts in the program, Pathe News, and a Screen Comedy.

The text advertising write-up reads:

The First Half.

An entirely different bill of vaudeville will be on at the Novelty the first three days of the week. Col Mack believes in “mixing them” and avoiding “that sameness.” This season he will not only mix the attractions on every bill but he will make every possible effort to make each bill “different.”

The feature of the first half will be the Donna Darling Revue, with Miss Darling “The Musical Comedy Beauty,” and Sammy Clark the “Juvenile Komic,” making merry both on their own and because of their absolute dissimilarity. The revue is filled with song and dance number of just the sort that are demanded by vaudeville patrons. Donna and Sammy are supported in the act by the team of Barring and Lazure with Hal Dixon featured at the piano.

The program as usual will be started by the newest movie news….

Key features:

    • The venue is the Novelty Theater in Topeka, Kansas.
    • None of the other shows on the bill are named.


Donna and Sammy began their show together about May 1926 in New York. The show headed west to Michigan and Ontario. In July, it was in Illinois and Ohio. In August, it headed west to Illinois and Oklahoma. After a short return to Illinois, they headed west again for Colorado, Texas, and Arizona in September. After several months in the west, they returned to the Midwest (Iowa) in January 1927. I haven’t found any dates or venues for Donna and Sammy in Kansas; however, they had to have played in Kansas in August or September 1926.

Cinema Treasures indicates that the Novelty Theatre opened in Topeka, Kansas, in 1908. After Donna played there, it became the Dickinson Theatre, then closed in 1988 and was demolished in 1993.


New Venue:  August or September 1926 – The Novelty Theater, Topeka, Kansas – Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.


  • I have set up alerts for “Donna Darling” and “Sammy Clark” in Kansas during 1926 at and Genealogy Bank.
  • I added a task to check NewspaperArchives and Elephind (Library of Congress) every year for new postings.

Ancestor Sketch – Marie Louise Polk

Bradley-Hingston Project
Bradley-Taylor-Polk Line
By Don Taylor


Marie Louise Polk was born in Jan 1864 in Arkansas to John Widener Polk and Anna Eliza Kean. She had four siblings[i], Anna, Magdalen, John, and Mary. On 17 January 1887, when she was 23, she married William S Taylor, the son of Jacob H Taylor and Rebecca L Pittman, in a ceremony by J. J. Kennedy at St. Joseph Church in Jackson, Missouri. She died on 18 July 1903 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at 39 years of age.

Bradley-Hingston Project – Ancestor #BH-11


    • Grandmother: Magdalen Polk Taylor(1890-1970)
    • 1st Great-grandmother: Marie Louisa Polk (1864-1903)
    • 2nd Great-grandfather: John Widener Polk (1820-1902) [ii]
    • 3rd Great-grandfather: Robert Tyler Polk (____-____)

Life Events

Different records record Marie with several first names, Maria, Marie, and Mary. Also, some records indicate her middle name as Louisa and some Louise. I have selected Marie Louise as preferred.


Marie Louise Polk was born in January 1864 in Arkansas. That is shortly after the fall of Little Rock to the Union and before establishing a new Union government. Marie’s father was called “Colonel” in several documents. Also, her siblings were born in several states, suggesting regular moving as might be expected of a military officer. I’ll know more when I research Col. John Widener Polk in further detail.

Children of  and John Widener and Anna Eliza (Kean) Polk

Name Born Where born
Magdalen Tasker c. 1859 Maryland
Anna c. 1861 Missouri
Marie Louise Jan 1864 Arkansas
John c. 1866 Tennessee
Mary c. 1868 Missouri

1870 Census

For the John Polk family, the 1870 Census reflects one of the few times I’ve seen a family enumerated twice in the Census but very different locations.

Independence, Jackson, Missouri Wea, Miami, Kansas
John Polk, Age 52, born in Indiana John Polk, Age 50, born in Kentucky
Anna Polk, age 34, born in Kentucky Anna E Polk, Age 34, born Kentucky
Tascar Polk, age 11, born in Missouri Tascar Polk, age 12, born in Missouri
Anna Polk, age 9, born in Missouri Anna Polk, age 9, born in Missouri
Maria Polk, age 6, Born in Arkansas Maria Polk, age 6, born in Arkansas
John Polk, age 4, born in Tennessee John Polk, age 4, born in Tennessee
Mary Polk, age 2, born in Missouri Mary Polk, age 2, born in Missouri

The enumeration date for the Missouri location was 28 June 1870.
The enumeration date for the Kansas location was 20 June 1870

The differences between the two census locations are minimal. John’s age is two years different, and his birth location shifts between Indiana and Kentucky. The only other difference is that Tascar is a year older, eight days between the two Censuses. I suspect that John provided the information for one of the censuses and Anna provided for the second one.

1880 Census

In 1880, Marie lived with her sister, Madeline, and her husband, A. C. Buell, in Washington DC. The sixteen-year-old is attending school. With them are Mr. Buell’s two children, Rudolph and Augusta, ages 1 and 0, respectively. Also living with the family are two servants. Also of interest is that the Census taker reported that Madeline’s parents were born in LA and KY, while her sister’s parents were reported as being born in LA and MO. This confuses the birth locations of their parents, particularly their father.


Marie Louise Polk married William S Taylor in a ceremony by J. J. Kennedy at St. Joseph Church in Jackson County, Missouri, on 17 January 1887. After their marriage, they located to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Children of William S Taylor and Marie Louise Polk

Name Born Married Died
Dorothy 2 January 1888, P George A Rankin 1977 VA
John Polk July 1889, NY N/A (died at 20) 1909 VA
Magdalen Polk 31 December 1890, NJ Arthur Wilson Bradley 1970 VA

1900 Census

Marie was enumerated in two different Census locations, Philadelphia, PA, and Cape May, NJ.

Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Cape May, Cape May, New Jersey
William Taylor, age 43, born in Dec 1856 in Penn. William Taylor, age 40, born Dec 1859 in PA
Maria Taylor, age 35, Born Jan 1865, Penn. Maria Taylor, age 36, born Jan 1864, Arkansas
Dorothy, age 12, Born Jan 1888, Penn. Dorothy, age 12, born Jan 1888, Pennsylvania
John, age 10, born Jul 1889, New York John, age 10, born Jul 1889, New York
Madaline, age 9, born Dec 1890, New Jersey Madaline, age 9, born Dec 1890, New Jersey

Again, the difference between the two censuses is discrepancies in the ages of William and Maria and where Maria was born. In New Jersey, they have a border, 80-year-old John W. Polk. Marie’s father, John Widener Polk, was born about 1820 in either Indiana, Tennessee, or Kentucky. This census says he was born in Kentucky, so it fits that the “boarder” was really William’s father-in-law.

The Philadelphia enumeration indicates that the entire family were boarders, someplace on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Living with them was a 30-year-old Servant, Margaret Raby.

Death/Burial, etc.

Marie Louise (Polk) Taylor died on 18 July 1903; she was 39 years old. She was interred at Westminster Cemetery[iii] (Bala Cynwyd Community) in Lower Merion, Montgomery County, PA.

Events by Location

  • Arkansas        1864 (Birth)
  • District of Columbia, Washington – 1880
  • Kansas, Miami, Wea  – 1870[iv]
  • Missouri, Jackson, Independence – 1870, 1887 (Marriage)
  • New Jersey, Cape May, Cape May – 1900[v]
  • Pennsylvania, Montgomery, Lower Merion – 1903 (Burial)
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Philadelphia – 1900, 1903 (Death)

Further Research

In 1880, Marie was living with her brother-in-law A. C. Buell in Washington, DC. Mr. Buell is a journalist. Research to see if he is a celebrity or otherwise famous.

In 1880, Marie attended school in Washington DC; research into what school she attended.


  • 1870 Census, NARA, 1870 – John Polk – Independence, Jackson, Missouri. “United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 29 May 2021), John Polk, 1870.
  • 1870 Census, NARA, 1870 – John W Polk – Wea, Miami, Kansa. “United States Census, 1870”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 28 May 2021), John W Polk, 1870.
  • 1880 Census, NARA, 1880 – A C Buell – Washington, DC. “United States Census, 1880,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 19 February 2021), A C Buell, Washington, Washington, District of Columbia, United States; citing enumeration district ED 24, sheet 28A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), FHL microfilm 1,254,122.
  • 1900 Census, 1900 Census – William S Tayler, Jr – New Jersey, Cape May, Middletownship, Angelsea borough, Wildwood borough, Avalon Borough. “United States Census, 1900,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 August 2018), William S Tayler Jr., Middle Township Angelsea borough, Wildwood borough, Avalon Borough, Rio Grande Village, Cape May, New Jersey, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 107, sheet 12A, family 308, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,960.
  • 1900 Census, 1900 Census – William S Taylor, et al. – Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 9, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0159; FHL microfilm: 1241455.
  • Find a Grave Memorial, Find a Grave, Magdalen T. Bradley (1890-1970). Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 25 August 2018), memorial page for Magdalen T. Bradley (31 December 1890–24 November 1970), Find A Grave Memorial no. 182390190, citing Lawnview Cemetery, Rockledge, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by DAO (contributor 47943782).
  • Find a Grave Memorial, Find a Grave, Marie Polk Taylor – Memorial 94300773. Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 29 October 2021), memorial page for Marie Polk Taylor (1863–1903), Find a Grave Memorial ID 94300773, citing Westminster Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, USA ; Maintained by Shiva (contributor 47163650).
  • Jackson County, Missouri, US Marriage Records, 1826-2014, Jackson County, MO – Official Website, William Taylor & Marie Polk – 17 January 1887.
  • 1887-01-23 – Page 9 – Taylor-Polk (Marriage)., Kansas City Times, Kansas City, Missouri, online images (
  • Missouri, US, Marriage Records, 1805-2002 (Maine State Archives), Ancestry.Com, Marriage – William S Taylor & Marie Louise Polk. Missouri State Archives; Jefferson City, MO, USA; Missouri Marriage Records [Microfilm].
  • Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. – 1903-07-21, Page 7 – Maria Louisa Polk Taylor – Death. Newspapers.Com.,
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915 (Philadelphia City Archives), Ancestry.Com, Marie Polk Taylor – Died 18 July 1903. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.
  • Virginia, Death Certificates, 1912-1987, Various, Virginia, U.S., Death Records, 1912-2014 for Dorothy Rankin. 1977 > 13000-13499 – State File Number 77-913324 (Image 325 of 500).
  • Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014 (Richmond, Virginia, Virginia Department of Health), Ancestry.Com, Magdalen T. Bradley.


[i] I have confirmed four siblings. Several other researchers indicate she had many more siblings, however, I have not confirmed them. I expect I will when I research Maria’s parents John Widener and Anna (Kean) Polk.

[ii] I have not researched the ancestors of Maria Louise Polk and any date here about them is speculative.

[iii] I have requested a photo of her marker/memorial via Find-a-Grave.

[iv] Marie was enumerated in both Kansas and Missouri during the 1870 Census.

[v] Marie was enumerated in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania during the 1900 Census.

Donna in the News – The New Theater Bills

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

This week’s clipping is from The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kansas), dated 2 December 1923. It and several other clippings can be added to Donna’s history.  



VAUDEVILLE. Matinee and night. Two shows Saturday night. Blossom Seeley headlining bill opening Monday matinee for three days.

Blossom Seeley calls her medium of expression “Miss Syncopation.” Evidently she…

Billy McDermott, who bills himself as “The only Survivor of Coxey’s Army,” is a tramp…

Donna Darling is a musical comedy ingenue. With a capable supporting company, Miss Darling offers a dazzling dance fantasy called “A Song and Dance Romance.”

Orpheum Advertisement The Wichita Eagle,
2 December 1923

This clipping and the associated advertisements show Donna played at the Orpheum Theater in Wichita, Kansas, on December 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 1923.

Thanks to’s newly available online articles, I was able to add another venue for Donna’s vaudeville career.