Ethel Wight Collection – Part 43

Foster, Fowler, Fox, Frank, & Frankman

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.

Mavis Fox, circa 1937

This negative envelope says, “Miss M. Fox, Maine General Hospital, Portland, #698.

Mavis Fox, circa 1937

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1938 Portland City Directory lists Mavis Fox, a student nurse at 22 Arsenal residing at the same address. (The address for the Maine General Hospital was 22 Arsenal.)
  • The 1940 Census lists eight individuals named Mavis Fox.
      1. Mavis H. Fox – 11-year-old – Too young
      2. Mavis Fox – 20-year-old in New York – Too young.
      3. Mavis Fox – 20-year-old wife in West Virginia.
      4. Mavis Fox – 14-year-old daughter in Tennessee – Too young.
      5. Mavis Fox – a 10-year-old daughter in Kentucky – Too young.
      6. Mavis Fox – a 17-year-old daughter in Tennessee – Too young.
      7. Mary [Mavis] Fox – a 16-year-old daughter in Pennsylvania.
      8. Morris [Mavis] Fox – a 32-year-old daughter in South Carolina, working as a nurse. She also lived in South Carolina in 1935. – Possible.
  • The Portland Press Herald reported that Miss Mavis Fox returned to the Mass. General Hospital, where she is a student nurse. In May 1948, January 1949, and December 1949. Her father is Charles Fox of Elm Street, Kezar Falls.
    • The 1940 Census indicates Charles G Fox and his daughter Mavis live in Parsonsfield, Maine. Parsonsfield and Kezar Falls are about 7 miles apart. This Mavis is 11 years old in 1940 and is undoubtedly the Mavis Fox reported about in the Press Herald in the late 1940s
  • Mavis E. Fox of Lovell, Me married Norman Gray of Fryeburg on 28 May 1938.
    • The 1930 Census shows Norman H Gray, born about 1912, living with his parents John H and Ethel M. Gray.
    • The 1930 Census also shows Mavis E Fox, the daughter of Arthur G and Clara A Fox, living in Lovell, Oxford County, Maine. Mavis was 17 in 1930.
Alternative individuals
  1. Mavis Fox, born about 1908 in South Carolina, was a nurse in 1940. She also lived in South Carolina in 1935, and I have found no connection of this Mavis to Maine.

Tentatively Identified

This is most likely Mavis E Fox, born 21 April 1912 in Lovell, Oxford County, Maine, to Arthur G. and Clara A. Fox. She married Arthur Heald Gray on 28 May 1938. She died on 28 May 1943. I have been unsuccessful in finding Mavis in the 1940 Census, and I have been unsuccessful in finding any connection between this Mavis and nursing.

Mavis E Fox appears in twenty-two trees at Ancestry.Com

I’ve uploaded two photos of Mavis E Fox to Dead Fred.

Chester W. Fowler, circa 1936

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Chester Fowler, 11 Paris St., Portland, #847.”

Chester W. Fowler, circa 1936

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The Portland City Directory for 1936 lists Chester W. Fowler living at 11 Parris, Portland. Chester O. and a Chester R. Fowler are also listed in the directory.
  • The 1930 Census lists 14-year-old Chester W. Fowler living at 49 Boyd Street. His parents were Kenneth G. and Margret V. Fowler. All had been born in Canada.
  • In 1937, when the photo was probably taken, Chester would have been about 21, and the young man in the picture appears to be about 21 years old.

Family Search identifies Chester Whitfield Fowler, born 5 April 1916, as ID LBX6-SZ7. I am pretty sure this is him about 1936. Nineteen trees at Ancestry.Com refer to Chester Whitfield Fowler.

I have uploaded his photo to his Family Search Memories.

A family photo showing Chester, his siblings, and his parents, clearly show this is Chester.

Ernest L. Frank, circa 1937

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Ernest L Frank, 385 Cumberland Ave, Portland (Raymond, Me) – #370.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Ernest L. Frank, circa 1937

    The 1936 Portland City Directory lists Ernest L and Alice M. Frank living at 385 Cumberland Ave. Apt 4.

  • The 1940 US Census lists Ernest L & Alice M Frank living at 395 Cumberland Ave. Ernest is 51 years old and living in the same house as he lived in 1935.
  • Ernest L Frank was born on 26 April 1885 in Portland, Cumberland County. His parents were Leander and Martha Frank.
  • The man in the photo appears to be in his 40s or 50s. Ernest would have been about 51 in 1936, which fits this image.

Family Search identifies Ernest Leroy Frank, born 26 April 1885, son of Leander and Martha (Milliken) Frank, as ID LHGX-FWM. I am sure this is him about 1936. Seventeen family trees at Ancestry.Com refer to Ernest Leroy Frank

I have uploaded a photo of Ernest to his Family Search Memories. 

Donald Foster, circa 1937 (Age 3)

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. L Foster, 146 Franklin, Portland, #1008.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Donald Foster, circa 1937 (Age 3)

    The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Thomas H (with his wife Laura) as an employee at 45 Custom House Wharf and residing at 146 Franklin.

  • The 1940 City Directory shows Thomas and Laura living at 61 Elm.
  • The 1940 US Census shows lists Thomas and Laura Foster living at 61 Elmwood. With them is their six-year-old son, Donald.
  • The US Social Security Applications and Claims Index lists Donald Thomas Foster, born 6 March 1934, the son of Thomas H and Laura M (Weagle) Foster.
  • This photo appears to be of Donald at about three years of age, circa 1937.

Family Search does not appear to have a profile for Donald Thomas Foster. However, Nine public trees at Ancestry.Com refer to Donald Thomas Foster.

I have added his photo to Dead Fred.

(The Frankman Couple?), circa 1935

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. N. Frankman, 129 Morning St., Portland, #70.

(?) The Frankman Couple (?), circa 1935.
  • I was unsuccessful in finding anyone with the Frankman surname in Portland directories during the possible photo time (1934-1937).
  • A search of all people residing at 129 Morning Street, Portland, in the Portland City Directories from 1934-1937 yielded the following surnames: Foley, Kroot, Mercer, & Souccier.

I failed to identify them adequately, so I posted their photo to my Flickr Photostream. 


  • I identified two individuals with Family Search profiles and was able to post their photos to Family Search
  • I identified two individuals without Family Search profiles that posted to Dead Fred.
  • I failed to identify one photo beyond guessing; they are probably the N. Frankman, husband and wife. Consequently, I only posted that photo here and to my Flickr Photostream.

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.


[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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