Ethel Wight Collection – Part 56

Harkins(2), Harkinson, Harlow, Harriman, and née Phinney

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.

Virginia Harkins, circa 1936

This negative envelope says, “Miss Virginia Harkins, 62 State St. #852.”

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Virginia Harkins, circa 1936

    The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Virginia Harkins, a student nurse at 62 State and residing at 52 State. Note that 62 State was the address for the State Street Hospital.

  • Virginia Harkins married Hugh Alton Curry in Andover, Victoria, New Brunswick, Canada, on 22 May 1937.
  • Virginia appears in the 1940 Portland City directory as a graduate nurse living at 112 Park. Hugh does not appear in the directory.
  • In the 1940 US Census, Virginia also appears as the 26-year-old head of household at 38 Franklin Terrace in South Portland. She is the night superintendent at a Hospital. Living with her is her 48-year-old mother, Virginia Parker. Both mother and daughter lived in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, in 1935.
  • The 1930 US Census lists both Virginia’s living in Chicago with the surname Harkins.
  • A photo of Virginia Eleanor Harkins in Ancestry Trees confirms this is the same young woman.

This photo is of Virginia Eleanor Harkins, the daughter of Michael John and Ida Minnie (Tibbetts) Harkins, born 19 March 1914 in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine

Virginia Eleanor Harkins is found in 11 trees at Ancestry. Family Search identifies Virginia Elenore Harkins as ID 9V73-X1F.

I have uploaded a photo of Virginia to her Family Search Memories. I also uploaded two additional photos to my Flickr photostream.

Verified to be Virginia (Harkins) Curry by a granddaughter.

Morris Harkinson, circa 1935

This negative envelope says, “Mr. Morris Harkinson, 193 Congress St. #455.”

How I searched for this individual.

  • Morris Harkinson, circa 1935

    The 1935 Portland City Directory lists nine people living in ten apartments at 193 Congress Street. None of them is surnamed Harkinson nor with the first name of Morris.

  • Likewise, the 1936 Portland City Directory lists 11 people, none of whom have the first name of Morris or a surname of Harkinson. Also, there are no Harkinsons listed.
  • And the 1937 Portland list no one named Morris nor Harkinson at 193 Congress Street.

I am confident that the name listed on the envelope the negatives for these photos says Mr. Morris Harkinson. Also, this photo is of a man in his late 20s or early 30s who was transitory in Portland.

Alternative individuals:

In 1905 a Morrie Harkinson was living in Philadelphia with his (apparent) wife, Rachel. The Morris in the photo is much too young to have been married in 1905.

Other than the supposed name on the negative envelope, I could not identify this man, so I uploaded his photo to Dead Fred. I also uploaded one additional photo of him to my Flickr photostream.

Constance Harkins, circa 1936

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Ethel Harkins, 150 Grafton St, #824 | Constance Harkins.”

Constance Harkins, circa 1936

Last week, in Ethel Wight Collection – Part 55, I looked at another photo for Ethel Harkins that would have been taken the same day as the photo of John Harkins.

According to Ancestry Family Trees, John had two sisters, Frances Evelyn Harkins, born 9 May 1928, and Constance A Harkins, born 10 October 1933. Additionally, the negative envelope has “Constance Harkins” written. So, this photo is her.

Five public trees on Ancestry list Constance A Harkins. Again, Constance Harkins does not have a Family Search profile, so I uploaded her photo to Dead Fred.

Jane Harlow (née Phinney), c. 1936

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Jane Phinney Harlow, 100 Brentwood St. #641.”

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Jane Harlow (née Phinney), c. 1936

    The 1934 Portland City Directory list Mrs. Jane P Harlow residing at 100 Brentwood.

  • The 1940 US Census lists 52-year-old Jane Harlow living with her mother, Clara L Phinney, at 100 Brentwood. Jane is divorced

This photo is of Jane Harlow (Née Phinney) about 1936.

Jane Pinal Phinney is found in eight Ancestry trees. Family Search identifies Jane Pennell Phinney, daughter of Clara Luella (Pennell) Phinney, as ID LTDF-8WD.

I have uploaded two photos of Jane to her Family Search Memories. 

Stephanie Harriman, circa 1936

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Merton Harriman, 407 Cumberland Ave. #886.”

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • Stephanie Harriman, circa 1936

    The 1935 Portland City Directory lists Merton N Harriman, a painter living with his wife, Dorothy B, at 4 Mechanic.

  • The Maine Marriage Index indicates that Merton N Harriman and Dorothy B Foster were married on 16 April 1932. Both lived in Portland, Maine, before the marriage.
  • The 1940 US Census lists Merton N Harriman as a lodger, with 19 other lodgers at 223 High Street. The New York-born 27 year old is divorced.
  • The 1940 US Census lists Dorothy Harriman, living in Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, with her 58-year-old mother (Ella Foster) and her two children, Stephanie, age seven, and Garry, age two. Dorothy, Stephanie, and Ella lived in Lewiston, Maine om 1935.
  • Stephanie Harriman was born in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine, on 10 December 1932.

Garry is too young to be the person in this photo. Based upon the number (#886), the photo was likely taken about 1936 when Stephanie was about three years old.

Two public trees at Ancestry refer to Stephanie Harriman, daughter of Dorothy Bell Foster. Family Search does not appear to have a profile for Stephanie.

At first, I was concerned the photos I had for Stephanie were of two different children; however, the child is wearing the same skirt and tights in both sets of images; only the addition of a sweater changes the child’s appearance.

I added one of her photos to Dead Fred and the other to my Flickr Photostream.

Confirmed to be Stephanie Harriman by a half-brother.


  • I identified two individuals with Family Search profiles, so I posted their photos to Family Search
  • I identified two other individuals that do not have Family Search profiles, so I posted their photos to Dead Fred.
  • Other than a supposed name, I failed to identify one individual; consequently, his photo to Dead Fred.

For all of the Ethel Wight Collection analysis, please see here.

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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