Dow, Downs, Dresser, Drown, & Duddy
By Don Taylor
This week, for Photo Friday, I identify 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. It is vital to analyze the photo and information to identify the subjects of the photographs accurately.[ii]
Carol L. Dow, circa 1937
This photo is photo #751 of the Ethel Wight Studio (Portland, Maine) Collection. The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Harry S. Dow, 11 Alba St, Portland #751.”
The 1937 Portland City Directory, page 303, lists Harry S. Dow and his wife Beatrice living at 11 Alba.
The 1940 Census lists Harry S. Dow and his wife Beatrice J. living at 11 Alba with his daughter Carol L. Dow. Carol is six years old.
Family Search identifies Carol Dow, the daughter of Harry S. and Beatrice Louise (Jackson) Dow, as ID G2M8-78J. I posted this photo of Carol to Family Search.
Anna Toomey Duddy (1910-1976) circa 1936
This is photo #219 of the Ethel Wight Studio (Portland, Maine) Collection. The envelope this negative was in says, Miss Ann Duddy – 184 Congress St, Portland #219.”
Portland City Directory of 1937 lists Ann T. Duddy as having married Patrick J. Lowery. The Maine Marriage Index shows Annie married Patrick on 13 April 1936.
The Portland City Directory of 1935 shows Ann T. Duddy living at 184 Congress Street.
Family Search has Anna Toomey Duddy, born 6 September 1910 and married to Patrick J. Lowery as ID LRMS-WF3. I added two photos of Anna to her Family Search profile.
Eleanor Dresser (1914-1987) circa 1936
This is photo #772 of the Ethel Wight Studio (Portland, Maine) Collection. The envelope this negative was in says, Miss Eleanor Dresser – State St. Hospital #772.” The envelope also says to “mail proof to [? Sterp ?] Falls.”
The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Eleanor Dressor as a Student Nurse at 62 State and residing at 52 State.
The 1936 Standish High School Yearbook lists an Elynor Dresser, Class of 1932, attending training at the State St Hospital.
Standish is in Cumberland County, Maine. Steep Falls is a census-designated place in the town of Standish. So, the proof was to be mailed to Steep Falls.
The 1930 Census finds Eleanor C. Dresser, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Elmer F and Alice C. Dresser, living in Standish.
Several Ancestry Family Trees indicate that Eleanor was born 21 January 1914 in Standish. None of them include a death date.
After further research, I found that Eleanor married Norman Pierce Edgecomb. Eleanor died in 1987. Her memorial on Find a Grave had several errors. The birth date was 1884 and her death date was 1968, although the markers clearly indicate birth in 1914 and death in 1987. I have requested a correction of the Find-a-Grave memorial. The memorial indicates her parents as Elmer and Alice (Cousins) Dresser (which is correct), so I’m confident this is likely the right person.
On Family Search, I created Eleanor, the daughter of Elmer and Alice Dresser, and found she was already created as Norman P. Edgecomb’s wife with the ID of LK6F-VP6. She had no parents identified, so my creation and the existing entry merged. I have uploaded three photos of Eleanor to her Family Search Profile.
Do not confuse this person with Eleanor Dresser, the daughter of Mr. & Mrs. George Dresser of East Weymouth, MA.
Ocy L. Downs (1905-1999) circa 1937
This is photo #643 of the Ethel Wight Studio (Portland, Maine) Collection. The negative’s envelope says, “Miss Ocy Downes – 655 Congress St, Portland #643.”
The 1936 Portland City Directory lists Ocy L Downs (piano) at 655 Congress, Rm 511.
The 1940 Census record has 34-year-old, Canadian born, Ocy L Downes working as a music teacher.
Ocy Lorintha Downs was born on 27 August 1905 and died on 5 February 1999.
In 1937, Ocy performed solo on board the H. M. S. Queen Mary.[iii] I wonder if this photo was taken in conjunction with performances there.
She became a very accomplished musician. Today, the Portland Conservatory of Music hosts the “Ocy Downs Piano Competition.”
I have been unable to find a youthful photo of Ocy and can’t tell for sure which of the two women is Ocy, as both women appear to be in their late 20s or early 30s.
Family Search has a profile for Ocy Lorintha Downs (1905-1999) as ID LHW6-KSJ. I have uploaded two photos of Ocy and another woman to her profile on Family Search. I also mention that I don’t know which woman is Ocy nor who the other woman is.
Because of the connection to the Portland Conservatory of Music, I have messaged them via Facebook Messenger.
Child of Horace and Christine Drown – circa 1934.
This is photo #131 of the Ethel Wight Studio (Portland, Maine) Collection. The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Horace Drown – 9 Deane St, Portland #131.”
The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Horace W. Drown and his wife Christine living at 9 Deane.
The 1940 Census shows Horace and his wife still living at 9 Deane. With him is their seven-year-old son, Robert, and three-year-old daughter, Martha. This photo was taken about 1934 or 1935, so Martha would not have been born yet, and Robert would have been about 1 or 2 and is likely this child.
I am confident this is Robert about 1934.
Robert does not have a profile on Family Search. I have posted his picture to my Flickr site.
- Three successful identifications where I could post to Family Search.
- One 50-50 identification (Individual identified as one of two people) and uploaded to Family Search.
- One possible identification – I contacted other researchers for confirmation.
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.