Donna Darling Collection – Part 20

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I am looking at three clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that indicate she played at three different Broadway Theaters; B.S. Moss’ Broadway theater in New York, The Broadway theater in Butte, (MT?), and the Broadway theater in Long Branch, NJ. None of the clippings have dates.

B.S. Moss’ Broadway Theater, New York, NY

The first clipping is a rare playbill for The California Bathing Girls and Donna Montran in “A Beach Promenade.” Previous research found that this show ran over a month, from July 26 to August 29, 1920 at B.S. Moss’ Broadway Theater.

The playbill provides much new information about the show. One of the most exciting things is that it provides names for the cast.

Besides Donna Montran, the Bathing Beauties included Alice Dean, Alice Eldridge, Dorothy Smith, Lola St. Clair, Helen Travisand, and Marie Thompson. I was surprised to see what appears to be two men in the cast, Adrian Wally and Bobby Tremaine. Also, credit is given to Behrens for costumes, Shoes by Miller, One Piece Bathing suits by Asbury Mills and the scenery was painted by Jack Klein. Tom Rooney and Earl Lindsay were the producers and the show was conceived and staged under the personal direction of Earl Lindsay.

For more information about the show see Moss’ Broadway at 41st – California Bathing Girls in “A Beach Promenade” and The Donna Darling Collection – Part 2

Broadway Theater, Butte, MT

The second clipping is an advertisement showing “An Outstanding Vaudeville Feature Act – DONNA DARLING REVUE With Sammy Clark and Company.

Showing with the Donna Darling Revue was a silent film, “Fig Leaves” starring George O’Brien and Olive Borden. According to IMDB, that film was released on 22 August 1926, so the show had to occur after that. Also, through other research I have found that the Donna Darling Review played on 27 November 1926. Butte and Helena are only 80 miles apart. With the schedule the show had, I’m sure that the Butte performance would have been within a day or two of the Helena performance.

This clipping allowed me to add another venue for Donna’s performances with an approximate date.

Broadway Theater, Long Branch, NJ

The final clipping that I am looking at this week relates to Donna and Sammy playing at the Broadway Theater in Long Branch, NJ. The program indicates that the “Darling Clark Revue” played Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, May 3-4-5. Donna and Sammy got together about 1925 and separated about 1930.  The only year on which May 3rd, 4th, and 5th, was on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday was 1926.

It is interesting to see the show called “Terpsichore Personified” and “A Novel Dance Melange.” My memory of Donna is that she had an incredible vocabulary. My mom used to say that Donna could cut you down with words and you’d never know you had been cut. I have to admit I needed to look up “Terpsichore.” Terpsichore is one of the nine Greek Muses and is the goddess of dance and chorus. That is a description that I’m sure Donna liked. I suspect she probably wrote the portrayal.

This is another new venue and date for Donna’s career. I will add it to my projects.


  • Research The Donna Darling Revue at the Broadway Theater, Butte, MT, between 24 and 30 November 1926.
  • Research “Darling Clark Revue” at the Broadway Theater, Long Branch, NJ, on 3, 4, & 5 May 1926.
  • Research Alice Dean, Alice Eldridge, Dorothy Smith, Lola St. Clair, Helen Travisand, Marie Thompson, Adrian Wally, Bobby Tremaine, Tom Rooney, and Earl Lindsay.

William Isack Middleton (1872- )

William Isack Middleton (1872- )

Project Middleton/Smith

By – Don Taylor

Follow your Process

I find there is a right way to do things and a wrong way. The wrong way is usually a lot faster and a lot less work, but when you do it that way, inevitably you realize the error of your way and find the need to do the same work over. Such was the case of some research that I was doing for my (former) step-daughter.

I returned to her tree the other day and found a note I had made the last time I was researching her second great grandfather, William I. Middleton. It was questioning the validity of the couple I had established as his parents. I had been using Ancestry Web interface and allowed the sources and citations to be the easy attribution that Ancestry.Com provides. It is easy and nice but not as thorough as I like to document a person. When I ran into a problem suggesting different parents for William, I really couldn’t sort it out because the sources were all electronic and didn’t provide an easy way to see all of the data simultaneously. In other words, analysis was difficult, if not impossible.

Admittedly, it was a lot easier to do the work the second time because Ancestry did provide links to the Ancestry provided Census and other documents. I then took that information, generated my own hand-written census sheets and printed out for my records all of the other documents, such as a copy of William’s WW1 Draft Registration. Then I gleaned all of the information out of the various documents that I could to provide a much better picture of William and his life.

The bottom line is when you have a process that fully documents your facts and fully links those facts to the sources, don’t try to take shortcuts. Follow your process.

Bio – William Isack Middleton (1872- )

William Isack Middleton was born on 17 Nov 1872[1], in New York, probably Kings County, to John Alexander and Mary Elizabeth (Collyer) Middleton.
William had three siblings, a brother, Ferris J., who was 11 years older, a sister, Cora R., who was 9 years older, and another sibling whose age and relationship is unknown.  The 1900 Census indicates that his mother had had four children, three of whom were still living.  The family grew up in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.
The Evening World (New York, NY
December 14, 1893 – LAST EDITION, Page 3
Courtesy: Chronicling America
It appears that William moved to New Jersey before 1893 because he was he involved in prosecuting the owner of a disorderly house in December of 1893[2].  He married Lillian Neilson Bailey on 2 September 1895, at Trinity Episcopal Church, Arlington, NJ.
In February, 1900 Lillian gave birth to a son Stuart Rae Middleton[3].  William was working as a millwright at a machine shop. Family tradition says Lillian gave birth to twins and that the other child died as an infant. The 1900 Census corroborates this by indicating that Lillian had had two children, only one of whom was living.  The young couple was renting a home on Chestnut Street, Kearny, Hudson County, New Jersey next door to Lillian’s parents, William and Mary Bailey.
625 Chestnut Street, Kearny, NJ Today
Photo Courtesy: Google Maps

By 1910 the family had purchased a home at 625 Chestnut Street.

W hen he registered for the draft in 1918, the 45 year-old William was working as an “Erecting Engineer” for Permutit Company. Permutit was a pioneer in water and wastewater treatment technology and was acquired by United States Filter Corporation in 1993[4]. William must have been prematurely gray as his physical description was Medium Height, Stout Build, Blue Eyes, Grey Hair.

In 1919, his son Stuart married Lillian Wanding and the couple came to live with William, William’s wife (also named Lillian) and William’s mother-in-law, Mary (Russell) Bailey[5].

Sometime between 1920 and 1929 William and Lillian moved to Mountain View, Passaic, New Jersey. In 1929, William and Lillian had a car accident while in Trenton. They were hit by a truck at corner of Hamilton and Broad Streets. [6]

By 1930, the couple moved again, this time to a home on Spruce Ave. valued at $6500, in Lincoln Park, Morris County, New Jersey. In 1935 they were living someplace in a rural area of Morris County and in 1940 they had moved in with their son, Stuart, to a house on Grove Street in Boonton, Morris County, New Jersey.

When or where William died or was buried is unknown.

Further Actions:
·      Order copy of William and Lillian’s Marriage License.
·      Order copy of William’s birth record.
·      Order copy of Lillian’s Death Record. (It should show if William proceeded her.)
·      Find William’s death record.
List of Greats
1.     Stuart Rae Middleton
2.    William Isack Middleton
3.     John Alexander Middleton

————- DISCLAIMER ————-

[1] U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,,, Registration: New Jersey; Hudson; Roll: 1712201; Draft Board: 5. William Isack Middleton.
[3] U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,,, Database online. Registration Location: Hudson County, New Jersey; Roll: ; Draft Board:. Record for Stuart Rae Middleton.
[5] 1920 U.S. Census,,, 1920; Census Place: Kearny Ward 4, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1048; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 279; Image: 1053. – Line 35. 625 Chestnut Street (Ward 4)
[6] Trenton Evening Times (Trenton, NJ) – March, 28, 1929, Page 2 via