Donna Darling Collection – Part 37

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Fay’s Theater – Providence, Rhode Island

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a set of clippings from the Donna Darling Collection. First, we see she received top billing of “Great Acts of Vaudeville.” Her show, “Dona [sic] Montran and her Bathing Beauties” included “Eight beautiful California girls from the Golden Gate displaying the coming summer fashions at the beaches; a carload of scenery and a satchel full of costumes. 


My immediate questions were where and when. This was the first large ad I’ve seen for a theatre where Donna played that didn’t provide the name of the theater. The when was pretty easy. The bill includes the 1920 silent short, “Wedding Blues,” which IMDB indicates was released on November 28, 1920. Also, Donna began her “California Bathing Girls” show in July 1920 and it ran until May or June of 1921.


A second ad provides information about where. The ad says Donna Montran is coming Monday 8.  It isn’t clear what the 8 means, but, if it means date, then it fits that it would mean Monday,  November 8th. I’ve seen cases before where IMDB is wrong about the release date, so I’m not too concerned about the inconsistency.

Another clipping on the same page provides a bit more insight. It reads, in part, “The act held the stage at the Broadway Theatre, New York for ten consecutive weeks coming direct to Newport from Fay’s in Providence where it established a new record for attendance.

Key features:

  • The date is possibly 8 November, but more likely December 1920 or January 1921.
  • The venue is the Fay’s Theatre, Providence, RI
  • The show is the “Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties. “
  • Also, on bill
    • “Wedding Blues” with the Christie Follies Girls

Analysis

I have searched all of the on-line newspaper sources I could to determine an exact date for her playing in either Providence or Newport – Ancestry.com, Chronicling America (using Elephind), Genealogy Bank, Google News Archive, Newspaper Archives, Newspapers.com, etc.  Search as I may, I was unsuccessful in finding an on-line source for newspapers from that time. The closest I found was the Google News Archive and it has a gap in coverage from Oct 8 thru Nov 15, 1920.

Conclusion

Nov 8-10 (Possibly later) – Fay’s Theatre, Providence, RI – Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties. 

Actions

According to the Library of Congress, “US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present” the following Libraries hold the Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.) 1920 issues, typically in microfilm form.

  • Boston Pub Libr, Boston, MA
  • Brown Univ, Providence, RI
  • Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  • Rhode Island Hist Soc Libr, Providence, RI
  • Univ of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
  • Wisconsin Hist Soc, Newsp Proj, Madison, WI

I will try to visit the Boston Public Library the next time I am in Boston and see if I can find newspaper article or advertising that proves the dates she played at Fay’s Theater in Providence. Alternately, I’ll add this article to my (lengthly) list of tasks when I can visit Washington DC.

Sources

Donna Darling Collection – Scan0071.

MM06 – Elmer Stevens Mapes (1898-1974)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 89



Elmer Stephens Mapes

1920 – Kanakadea

Elmer Stephens Mapes was born in New York on 24 Aug 1898. He was the third of four children born to James and Myrtle (Myrtie) E Mapes.

The 1900 Census finds little Elmer living with his parents and siblings and his paternal grandfather, Martin Mapes. Martin was 82 year, born in New York, a widower, and farmer who owned his farm without a mortgage. His father was also a farmer and his mother had four children, only three of whom were still living at the time.[i]
By 1905, Martin and family were living on North Church Street in Burns, Allegany County, New York. His father was a produce dealer.[ii]
The 1910 Census indicates the Mapes family still in Burns, but now on Mill Street. Elmer is attending school. The 1910 Census indicates that his mother had four children, all of whom were alive. [iii]This conflicts with the 1900 census, which indicated that one child of Myrtie, had died.
In 1915, the Mapes family is still in Burns, but now on Bennett Street. His father was postmaster and Elmer attended school. [iv]
  
Advertising Photo of the Alfred Cafe from the 1921 Kanakadea yearbook.
The Alfred Cafe – A sure Alfred College hangout.
Note: They have electric lights!
Advertisement in the 1921 Kanakadea – Via Ancestry.com
In 1918, Elmer headed off to attend Alfred College, sixteen miles away, in Alfred, New York. Elmer enlisted in the Army and served two months in the Alfred training company[v][vi]. He was a member of many groups.
The 1920 Census indicates that he was living on West Main in Burns. His older sister, Rena, was a high school teacher.[vii] Elmer was continuing in college, where he was the Assistant Business Manager for “Fiat Lux,” the school yearbook. His future wife, Marion Roos was the editor-in-chief of the “Fiat Lux” that same year. It is my suspicion that they met there. In any event, Elmer and Marion married in 1923.[viii]
By 1930, Elmer had moved to Bristol, Rhode Island, where he was the superintendent of schools.[ix] He must have been really good as a superintendent because, in 1933, the governor appointed Superintendent Mapes to a select committee.[x] Elmer was involved in civic organizations including the Rotary.[xi]

In 1935, Elmer, Marion, and their two daughters lived in Bristol, at 997 Hope.[xii]  

Photo of the devastation on Hope Street, Bristol, Rhode Island from the 1938 Hurricane.
Hurricane of 1938 aftermath in Bristol, RI

Photo: Hope Street, abt 10 blocks from Mapes home. 

On 21 September 1938, a hurricane & tidal wave hit Bristol, RI. Elmer S. Mapes stated that the schools would resume Monday (Sept 26th) contingent on the water service being restored by that time. According to a newspaper article, “Mr. Mapes took a leading part in the rehabilitation work.”[xiii]
Between 1940 and 1942, the Mapes family moved to 16 Union, still in Bristol.[xiv]
Elmer S. Mapes
PhotoL 1946 Reflector (Weymouth HS)
via Ancestry.com
About 1946, Mr. Mapes took a position as the superintendent of schools in Weymouth, Massachusetts. The school dedicated their yearbook to him that year.
Elmer S. Mapes showed his continuing leadership when he was elected as 2nd Vice President for the Massachusetts School Superintendents Association in 1958.[xv] In 1963, he was a panelist at a P-TA conference[xvi] and in 1965, tentatively supported school busing to correct racial imbalances in education.[xvii]
Elmer Mapes died on 17 Nov 1974 in Weymouth, Mass. [xviii]

[i] 1900 U.S. Census, Ancestry.com, Year: 1900; Census Place: Burns, Allegany, New York; Roll: T623_1008; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 11; FHL microfilm: 1241008.
[ii] New York, State Census, 1905, “New York, State Census, 1905,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MVBC-W4F : accessed 28 Aug 2012), Elmer Mapes, Burns, Canaseraga Village, E.D. 01, Allegany, New York.
[iii] 1910 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, Year: 1910; Census Place: Burns, Allegany, New York; Roll: T624_923; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0018; Image: 916; FHL microfilm: 1374936.
[iv] New York, State Census, 1915, Ancestry.com.
[v] New York, Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919, Ancestry.com, Elmer S Mapes.
[vi] U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, Ancestry.com, Elmer Mapes.
[vii] 1920 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, Year: 1920; Census Place: Burns, Allegany, New York; Roll: T625_1084; Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 19; Image: 864.
[viii] U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012, Ancestry.com, Alfred University – 1920 – Kanakadea, Page 74.
[ix] 1930 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.com, 1930; Census Place: Bristol, Bristol, Rhode Island; Roll: 2168; Page: 17A; Enumeration District: 4; Image: 144.0; FHL microfilm: 2341902.
[x] 1933-11-17 – Newport Mercury – Page 6 – ]Governor Names Unemployed Teachers’ Fund Group (Elmer Mapes)., Newport Mercury, Newport, Rhode Island (newspapers.com).
[xi] 1935-09-27 – Page 5 – Rotarians Swarm to District Convention (E.S. Mapes)., Newport Mercury, Newport, Rhode Island (newspapers.com).
[xii] Rhode Island, State Census, 1935, Family Search, Elmer S Mapes, Bristol, Rhode Island, United States; State Archives, Providence; FHL microfilm 1,753,866. (Accessed 1 September 2015),. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MPRS-K6W.
[xiii] Richard V. Simpson, “The Great Hurricane and Tidal Wave of 1938:   Scenes of the Disaster in Rhode Island’s East Bay”.  Roger Williams University. (Year 2012); online archives, Roger Williams University (http://docs.rwu.edu/), Chapter 1, The Tidal Surge and its Aftermath as Reported by The Scribe | Paragraph:  Schools May Open. http://docs.rwu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=hurricane_1938.
[xiv] U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta), Ancestry.com.
[xv] 1958-04-23 – Page 12 – Malden Man to Head School Superintendents. ., The North Adams Transcript, North Adams, Massachusetts (Newspapers.com).
[xvi] 1963-01-30 – Fitchburg Sentinel · Page 15 – State P-TA Conference Attended (Elmer S Mapes)., Fitchburg Sentinel, Fitchburg, Massachusetts (newspapers.com).
[xvii] 1965-04-16 – Bennington Banner – Page 2 – Racial Imbalance Report Draws Fire, High Praise (Elmer SMapes)., Bennington Banner, Bennington, Vermont (newspapers.com).
[xviii] Massachusetts Death Index, 1970-2003, Ancestry.com
————-  DISCLAIMER  ————-
newspapers.com newspapers.com