Ethel Wight Collection – Part 5

Austin, Axelsen, Axelsen, Baird, & Baker

Photo Friday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week for Photo Friday, I look at identifying more negatives from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The names on the envelope are of the individual who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is important to analyze the picture and information to identify the photographs positively.[ii]

Not William L. Austin

Unknown – Probably Not William L. Austin

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. William L Austin – 44 Brown St. Portland – #724.”

William Austin does not appear in the 1934 or 1935 Portland City Directories.

The 1936 Portland City Directory indicated William Austin was the householder at 53 Franklin, Apartment 9. Likewise, the 1937 City Directory shows William at 53 Franklin, Apt 9.

The 1938 Portland City Directory indicates William Auston residing at 7 Tolman Place.

The 1940 Census indicates William L Austin living at 7 Tolman Place as a widowed lodger. He was 75 years old.

If the photo were taken about 1935, as the other pictures in this collection were, then William L. Austin would have been about 70 years old. The man in this photo is definitely not near 70 and appears, to me, to be about 50.

So, I have no idea who this person is.  Although the photo was paid for by William L Austin, I do not believe it is of him.

Alfred J. Axelsen

Alfred J. Axelsen circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Alfred J Axelsen – 45 Randall Ave, Portland #252”.

The 1935 Portland City Directory indicates Alfred J Axelsen was a painter employed at 228 Sherwood and resided at 45 Randall, which confirms his identity.

The 1930 Census enumerates Alfred J. Axelsen living with his Father Jens Axelsen, apparent mother Maren, and a sister, Laura.

Further research indicated that Alfred Julius Axelsen was born on 8 October 1908, married Margaret Winslow in 1933, and died 5 November 1983. I am confident this photo is of him.

This individual has a profile on FamilySearch, ID GQW1-GCV; I posted two photos of Alfred there.

Mildred Christine (Weston) Axelsen

Mildred Christine (Weston) Axelsen ca. 1937

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. A. M. Axelson – 237 Sherwood Street, Portland #1054.”

The 1937 Portland City Directory is somewhat confusing. It indicates, in part:

  • Axelsen, Alfred J painter 237 Sherwood r 45 Randall
  • August M (Mildred C) painter 1754 Wash av h do
  • August M (Caroline E) mold maker 54 York h 43 Dorset
  • —Niels jr r 237 Sherwood

The 1940 Census places August M. Axelson and his 40-year-old wife, Mildred, at 45 Randall St. It also places August M. Axelson, and his 49-year-old wife, Caroline, at 43 Dorset Street.

The 1930 Census places August M Axelson living at 237 Sherwood Street with his wife, Mildred. August M. Axelson and his wife Caroline are residing at 43 Dorset Street.

So, it is clear Mrs. A. M. Axelsen is Mildred. Mildred was born about 1899, so she would have been about 36 in 1935. The woman in the photo appears to be about that age, so I believe this to be Mildred C. Axelson.

Mildred Christine Weston married August Mienerdt Axelsen on 1 June 1927.

Mildred has a profile on FamilySearch, ID L2JB-L79, and I have uploaded my photos there.

Elsie (McLeon) Baird

Elsie (McLeon) Baird, circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Elsie Baird – 20 Vesper St, Portland #656.”

The 1937 Portland City Directory indicates that Elsie M. Baird was the widow of John H. Baird and lived at 20 Vesper.

Further research indicated that Elsie M Baird (nee McLeon) was born about 1887 in Scotland. She had a daughter, also named Elsie, who was born in 1910. If the photo were taken about 1935, as many of the pictures have been taken, Elsie the mother would have been about 48, and Elsie, the daughter, would have been about 25 years old. The woman in these photos appears to be in her 40s, so I believe it is Elsie, the mother.

Elsie does not appear to have a profile on Family Search; however, she does have a memorial on Find-a-Grave. I uploaded copies of the images to Elsie McLeod Baird – Memorial 152470097.

Eleanor Baker

(Or possibly Beatrice E. Baker)

Possibly Eleanor Baker, possibly Beatrice E. Baker.

This negative envelope says, “Miss Eleanor Baker – 130 Highland St Portland #986.“

The Portland City Directory for 1936 shows an Eleanor residing at John Decker Ocean House Rd, CE, p o SP

Eleanor does not appear in the 1935 Portland City Directory; however, a Beatrice E. Baker does appear living at 130 Highland in the Directory. The Directory suggests a family consisting of:

  • Beatrice E. Baker, Stenographer at 289 Forest Ave. Residing rear of 130 Highland.
  • Elmer S. (Ruby A) Painter emp 362 Cumberland av householder 130 Highland.
  • Harold F (Florence V) Carpenter householder rear 130 Highland.

Beatrice E. Baker married Wilton J. Rosenblad on 23 August 1935, explaining why she doesn’t appear in any subsequent city directories.

A review of many individual trees revealed no individuals name Eleanor in the families. That aside, I believe that “Eleanor Baker” of the photo is Beatrice E Baker, born 12 May 1913. The image had to have been taken before 23 August 1935, so her age in the picture had to be about 22 years old.

Beatrice E Baker is in 9 public trees on Ancestry.Com and if any of them know of Beatrice’s middle name or can identify her in the photo, I will have confirmed her identity.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of a family member or clarify my identification, I would love to hear from you.

There are additional photos on my Flickr Site. See



[i] The Wight Studio was in Portland, Maine. Many thanks to Ethel Wight’s family for access to and permission to use the collection of their great aunt.

[ii] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera, and computer software. Individuals may use these photos in their genealogical endeavors.

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