Ethel Wight Collection – Part 32

Cohen, Colby(2), Colcord, and Corbin

Photo Friday
Ethel Wight Collection
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.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 photos with family members who may have never seen the image.

Bernice Colby, circa 1935

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Bernice Colby, Me Eye & Ear Infirmary, Portland #234.”

Bernice Colby, circa 1935

I was unable to fully identify Bernice Colby, however I found:

  • The 1934 Portland City Directory shows Bernice Colby as a student nurse at 79 Bramhall (Maine Eye & Ear Infirmary) and living at 804 Congress Street.
  • 1937, 38, 39, 40, and 41 Portland City Directories show Bernice Colby working as an Assistant Technician at 79 Bramhall and residing at 792 Congress.
  • I was not successful in finding her in the 1940 Census.

Alternative individuals?

  • The 1930 Census reports three different Bernice Colby’s living in Maine. One was born in 1929 and cannot be this Bernice Colby. Two live in Bath, Maine, — Bernice E and Bernice M. Bernice E was the ten-year-old daughter of Charles H and Vinettie Colby and is too young to be this Bernice. Bernice M. Colby was the fifteen-year-old niece of George and Annie Chase. There are twelve other Bernice Colby’s
  • There was a Martha Bernice Colby, born 3 August 1914 in South Portland to Herman Colby and Ethel Giggle. She married Thomas Robert Ahern on 15 June 1938 in Manchester, New Hampshire. She died on 15 November 1996. The 1940 Census indicates she and Thomas were living in Augusta in 1935.

I suspect that this is Bernice Martha (Colby) Ahern; however, I am unable to confirm that

This is a photo of Miss Bernice Colby, a nursing student who later worked at the Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary about 1934 or 1935. Besides this photo, I have added one additional photo of her to Dead Fred. Additionally, I added one more picture of her to my Flickr Photostream.

Bernice Colby, circa 1937

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Bernice Colby, Me Eye & Ear Infirmary, Portland #924.”

Bernice Colby, circa 1937

This is clearly the same individual as reviewed above. Again, I suspect that this is Bernice Martha (Colby) Ahern, probably about 1937 or 1938 before she married.

This is Miss Bernice Colby, Technician at the Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary about 1937 or 1938. Besides this photo, I have added one additional photo of her to Dead Fred.

 

Marjorie Grace Corbin, circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Marjorie Coburn, M. Gen Hospital #560.”

Envelope Writing appears to be Marjorie Coburn.

Initial searches for Marjorie Coburn were not successful. Finally, I searched for Marjorie, a nurse in Portland, Maine, and found Marjorie Corbin, a student nurse at 22 Arsenal, residing at 22 Arsenal. No other Marjorie’s with a surname beginning with a “C” appeared, so I believe this is the correct name for the individual in this photo.

Marjorie Grace Corbin, circa 1936

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Marjorie G. Corbin appears in the 1940 Census as a 24-year-old registered nurse living at 271 Vaughan Street in Portland, Maine.
  • Marjorie G. Corbin is listed in the 1934 and 1936 Oakland (Kennebec County) Maine Directories as a student residing at 293 Fairfield.
  • Marjorie G. Corbin appears in the 1930 Census as a 15-year-old “roomer” with Everett N. Brown in Farmington, Franklin County, Maine.
  • Marjorie G. Corbin appears in the 1920 Census as the four-year-old granddaughter of Edward H and Amelia M. Corbin living in Pownal, Cumberland County, Maine.
  • Finally, Maine Birth Records show Marjorie Corbin, daughter of Edgar and Blanche Corbin, was born 9 December 1915 in Lewiston, Androscoggin County, Maine.

Family Search does not have a profile for Marjorie; however, ten trees at Ancestry.Com refer to Marjorie Grace Corbin. Besides this photo, I have added one additional photo of her to Dead Fred. Additionally, I added one more photo of her to my Flickr Photostream.

Barbara Cohen, circa 1937

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. B. Cohen, 482 Woodford St, #1058.”

Barbara Cohen, circa 1937

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1935 Portland City Directory indicates that Benjamin and Bailee J. Cohen live at 482 Woodford. Benjamin was a Boston salesman.
  • The 1940 Census reports Benjamin and Bessy Cohen live in Dunmore, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. However, it indicates they lived in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine, in 1935. They have two daughters, Barbara and “Harrette.” Harrette is only three years old and can’t be this girl. Barbara is seven in 1940 and born in Massachusetts,

I could not find either a Family Search profile or an Ancestry Tree that contained either Barbara or her parents. I uploaded her photo to  Dead Fred.

Dorothy (Burgess) Colcord, circa 1937

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Dorothy Colcord, 142 High St., Portland #1093.”

Dorothy (Burgess) Colcord, circa 1937

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Dorothy Colcord, a hairdresser employed at 142 High, Room 226, living at 214 High.
  • The 1930 Census lists Dorothy Colcord living at 130 Brackett Street in Portland. She was born about 1896 in Maine and was a widow.
  • The 1920 Census lists Dorothy L. Colcord living with her husband, Everett S. Colcord, in Benton, Kennebec County, Maine.

Family Search identifies Dorothy Louise Burgess, wife of Everett Stacy Colcord, with ID LB51-7CH. Ancestry.Com has 23 trees that refer to Dorothy “Dora” Louise Burgell Colcord.

I have uploaded two photos of Dorothy to her Family Search profile.

Conclusion

I had:

    • One successful identification which I posted to Family Search
    • Four partial identifications I posted to Dead Fred.

Final Note

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.


Endnotes

[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.

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