Ethel Wight Collection – Part 11

Davis (3), Derosier, & Dexter

Photo Friday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week for Photo Friday, I look at identifying five 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, I try to analyze the photo and information to positively identify the people in the photographs.[ii]

Mary Derosier (1914-1994)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Mary Derosier – State St Hospital, Portland #743.”

1936, 1937, and 1938 Portland City Directories list Mary H. Derosier, as a student nurse at 62 State, residence 52 do.

The 1930 Census indicates a 15-year-old Mary H. Derosier lived in Berlin, Coos County, New Hampshire. She was born in New York and was the daughter of Peter (age 51) and Elizabeth (age 51) Derosier.

Likewise, the 1936 City Directory for Berlin, New Hampshire indicates Mary H. Derosier, a nurse, living at 800 Second Ave, the same address as Peter D.Derosier.

Further research indicates that Mary married Howard C. Plummer, Jr., on 25 April 1938 in Maine. Mary Helen (Derosier) Plummer died on 3 June 1994.

I was not successful in finding Mary Helen (Derosier) Plummer nor her parents in Family Search. However, I did find her identified in 8 trees on Ancestry.

There were four photos of Mary Helen Derosier in the collection. I have posted all four to my Flickr Photostream. I have posted a photo to Dead Fred.

Donald Davis (1907-1972)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Donald Davis – 51 Jackson St, Portland #503.”

The 1935 Portland City Directory indicates that Donald W. Davis was a clerk at 585 Congress Street and lived at 51 Jackson.

The 1940 Census shows Donald W. Davis living at 51 Jackson Street with his mother, Flora E. Davis. Donald was 32 and working as a meat cutter.

The 1930 Census shows Donald W. Davis, a 23-year-old musician, living at 51 Jackson Street with his parents James W. and Flora E. Davis.

Family Search finds him to be ID: LYT1-9JG. I added this photo to his Memories section.

Four children of Hartley A. & Mary T. Davis of Portland, Maine.

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. H A Davis – 269 Ray St. Portland # 861.”

The 1938 Portland City Directory lists Hartley A. Davis and his wife Mary T, living at 269 Ray.

The 1940 Census shows Hartley and his wife Mary and their four children, Jacqueline, Robert, Sterling, and Caroline living at 269 Ray Street.

There is no doubt this is them, Robert, Caroline, Jacqueline, and Sterling (left to right).

Sterling has a profile on Family Search, LYBT-G8V. I’ve uploaded the photo there.

Child of Max & Evelyn (Stein) Davis – Photo circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Max Davis – 155 Dartmouth St., Portland.” The negative also says “News” and “Mail Proofs c/o Mrs. Jno Stein, 36 Surfside Rd, Lynn, Mass.”

The 1935 Portland City Directory list Max D. Davis and his wife Evelyn S. living at 84 North, Apartment 2.

The 1936 Portland City Directory lists Max D. Davis living at the Falmouth Hotel. Page 274 of that directory is not in the Ancestry image set, so the location of Evelyn is unknown.

1937, 1938, and 1939 Portland City Directories list Max D. Davis with his wife, Evelyn S. living at 286 State, Apt. 3.

The 1940 Census has Max with his wife and two daughters, Bernice I. and Joseph A., ages 13 and 8 respectively.  Note: although Max is listed at 72 years-old in the 1940 Census, that is in error. He is 32 in the 1930 Census.

Max’s wife’s maiden name was Stein, so sending proofs to her family in Massachusetts makes sense.

The photo appears to be of a boy about 4 or 5 years old. That age fits to be Joseph, assuming he is a boy and not a girl as the 1940 Census suggests.

There is not a profile for Joseph in Family Search. There appear to be 3 family trees on Ancestry which have Max and Evelyn (Stein) Davis.  I will contact each of them and let them know when this posts.

I have also posted the photo of Joseph Davis to my Flickr Photostream. Also, I’ve posted the photo to Dead Fred.

Muriel Loretta (Simmons) Curtis Dexter’s children

Barbara, Ruth,  & Walter Curtis and Stanley Dexter – c. 1935

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. C. S. Dexter – 61 Hampshire St. #1070.”

The 1937 Portland City Directory shows Carroll S. Dexter and his wife Muriel L living at 61 Hampshire.

The 1940 Census shows Carroll Dexter and his wife Marril living in Portland with their five children, Barbara (11), Ruth (9), Walter (8), Stanley (4), and Marchia. Marchia was a baby, only two months old, and wouldn’t have been in the photo. Barbara, Ruth, and Walter are all step-children with the surname of Curtis. Stanley was 4 during the 1940 Census. The baby in the photo appears to be under a year (probably 6 to 8 months).

Carroll Stanley Dexter Jr. was born on 26 May 1935 to Carroll Stanley Dexter and Muriel Loretta Simmons. So, I’m certain the baby in the photo is him. Muriel was married before to Walter Stewart Curtis (1895-1961). She had several children with him including Ruth Pendleton Curtis (1930-2006).

On Family Search, Muriel Loretta Simmons is ID GQNB-VQS

I have posted a second copy of the children to my Flickr account. 


I had:

  • Six identifications where I could post to Family Search.
  • Two identifications where I could contact other researchers.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of a family member, I would love to hear your reaction.


[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.

One thought on “Ethel Wight Collection – Part 11”

  1. Max Donald Davis was the Granduncle of my Husband. He was born in 1897 and died in 1942 at 45 years. He married Evelyn S Stein 19 June 1924 and they had two children, Bernice born 1926 and Joseph A Davis born 1932. My husband’s grandfather, Dr. John Louis Davis (1880-1937), Max’s oldest brother, was a physician in Portland. John’s daughter, Eleanor Davis Horwitz, was his mother. Max’s brother, Dr. Harry Eugene Davis (1894-1963), was the first Jewish dentist in Portland, Maine. He was famous for his big cigars and the fact that he treated all the poor children of Portland, no charge. Max had two other brothers, Samuel D Davis (1883-1956), owner of a pawnshop, and Morris Davis (1899-1987) who shows up as a student at Tufts in the 1919 city directory, and is very difficult to find after that. On the one other tree I found that had him, his death was listed as 1987 with no citation or place. so that needs more work. This child in the photo is almost certainly Max’s son, Joseph, at about 3 or 4. I noticed that you have a post at the left from my cousin, Ralph (Butch) McGrew. It didn’t surprise me, as he was a careful and dedicated amateur genealogist and helped me with my tree immeasurably. He passed away 5 Mar 2014, and though I hadn’t seen him in the flesh for years, I still miss him. I appreciate you contacting me, especially since it is so difficult to get photos of my husband’s Davis relatives. His mother had a box full. Not one of them was labeled.

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