Conley, Connaway, Conroy, Consoli, & Constantine
Ethel Wight Collection
By Don Taylor
This week for Photo Friday, I identify the people in five more envelopes from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The envelopes contain the names who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is vital to analyze the pictures and information to identify the individual therein.[ii] Ultimately, my goal is to reunite the images with family members who may have never seen the photo.
Thomas, Annie, and Philip Conley, c. 1937
The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. M. S. Conley, 58 Gray St, Portland, #456.”
The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Michael S (Anna E) Conley residing at 58 Gray.
The 1940 US Census lists Michael (born c. 1905) and his wife Annie E (McArdle) (born c. 1906) still living at 58 Gray Street. With them are five children. One child is too young to have been included in this photo. The other four children are:
- Thomas Joseph, Age 13 (Born 3 September 1926) (Died 14 June 1996)
- Annie Elizabeth, Age 12 (Born 4 December 1927) (Died 10 June 1992)
- Philip James, Age 10 (Born 11 September 1929 – Died 21 January 2008)
- Katherine, Age 7
A photo numbered 456 is probably from about 1937, which would suggest the youngest child to be about 4, making Philip 7, Annie 9, and Thomas 10. That appears correct.
Jay Hill Connaway (1893-1970) circa 1936
The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Jay Connaway, 602A Congress, Portland, #622.”
The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Jay H. Connaway as an artist living with his wife Louisa at 15 Willard, South Portland. It also lists Art Associates being at 602a Congress, Room 204.
Jay Hall Connaway is a famous painter who had a studio in Portland sponsored by Bartlett Arkell and Robert Macbeth in 1931. Later in the 1930s, he located to Monhegan Island, where he started the Connaway Art School.[iii] Mr. Connaway was born 27 November 1893 in Liberty, Indiana, and died 18 February 1970. This photo was taken about 1936 when he was about 43 years old.
Family Search identifies Jay H Connaway as ID G9YB-XV9. I am quite sure this is of Jay about 1936. I have uploaded two photos of him to his Family Search profile. I uploaded two additional photos of Jay to my Flickr Photostream.
Mary A. Conroy (1909-___)
The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Mary Conroy, 108 Newberry St., Portland, #136.”
The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Mary A. Conroy, a clerk working at 594 Congress and residing at 108 Newbury.
The 1940 US Census reports Mary Conroy, the 30-year-old daughter of Christopher and Annie Conroy, living at 92 Federal Street.
Family Search identifies Mary A. Conroy, the daughter of Christopher and Ann (LNU) Conroy, as ID GWQD-S2T. I am quite sure this is her about 1936. I have uploaded two photos of her to her Family Search profile.
Rita Consoli, circa 1936
This photo is from the Ethel Wight Studio, Portland, Maine.
The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Rita Consoli, 536 Cumberland Ave., Portland, #403.” The photo appears to be of a woman in her 20s.
I was unable to find Rita Consoli in Portland during the mid-1930s. A review of the address, 536 Cumberland, found various people[iv] living there during the 1930s, but none had a surname similar to Consoli or Rita’s first name. There was a considerable turnover of the units there, suggesting Rita may well have been there for only a short time.
A Filomena Rita Consoli was born 22 May 1905 in Lagonegro, Italy, and immigrated to the United States on 2 August 1926. She is a possible candidate to be the subject of this photo.
A Rita Consoli was born about 1921, who graduated from Wakefield High School (Wakefield, MA) in 1937. The woman in this photo looks considerably older than high school age. She is an unlikely candidate to be the subject of this photo.
The 1930 Census found the 14-year-old Rita Consoli living with her parents, Fred and Josephine Consoli in the Bronx, New York. It also found a 10-year-old Rita Consoli residing with her parents, Samuel and Adeline Consoli, in the Bronx, New York.
Unknown Boy – [Child of Anastasia Constantine (?)] c. 1937
The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Anastasia Constantine, 453 Cumberland Ave., Portland, #192.”
The 1938 Portland City Directory lists James and his wife Bessie J., living at 453 Cumberland.
The 1940 US Census lists James Constantine and his wife Bessie A. living at 453 Cumberland Ave. It lists no children.
The 1937 Portland City Directory lists James and his wife, Bessie A., living at 256 Danforth.
Likewise, the 1930 US Census lists James Constantine and his wife, Bessie, living in Portland (256 Danforth St.) with no children.
I am not convinced that Bessie’s middle name was Anastasia. Additionally, I can find no evidence that James and Bessie had any children. That leads me to speculate that James may have had a sister-in-law named Anastasia who was visiting James and provided his address. In any event, determining this child’s identity eludes me.
- Three successful identifications where I could post five profiles on Family Search
- One probable identification posted to Dead Fred.
- One non-ident also posted to Dead Fred.
If any of these photos are of your family member, I would love to hear your reaction. Especially if this photo is of a loved one for whom you hadn’t seen this photograph before.
[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.
[iv] Joseph and Amelia Ryan, Beneva Mishoe, Stela Martin, Carl Strout, Charles MacGrath, James Stamos, Mrs. Nellie Harding, Mary Hannigan, and several Grants.