Ethel Wight Collection – Part 154
By Don Taylor
I examined five more envelopes from the Ethel Wight Studio Photo Collection this week for Photo Friday. These last few envelopes are challenging to research and often lack the information to learn who is in the photos. I try to analyze the pictures and information to identify the people or places therein.[i] Ultimately, my goal is to reunite the photos with family members or others who may be interested in the images.
Appears to be Helena Hodsdon, circa 1934.
This negative envelope says, “Helena Hodsdon #14 – Made by Mr. Spurling.”
What I learned from researching this photo.
- In Part 61 of this series, I reviewed Helena Susan Hodsdon of 217 Stevens Ave. She was the daughter of Herbert S. and Helena C. Hodsdon. This photo is clearly not of her.
- In Part 151 of this series, I reviewed a photo package that said, “Helena Hodsdon – was a good friend of Ethel Wight (fellow artist). I was not 100% convinced that person was Helena, Herbert’s wife, and Helena Susan Hodsdon’s mother.
- The April 23, 1934, Portland Evening Express (page 6) show a photo of a group presenting “The Village Skewl” at the South Portland High School Auditorium. That cast photograph shows Mrs. Helena Hodsdon who was in the play. Based upon my previous research and this cast photo, I believe this is a photo of Helena Curtis (Morris) Hodsdon from the early 1930s.
Because I cannot associate any other information regarding this individual in this photo, or who Mr. Spurling is, I can only say that this photo appears to be of Helena Hodsdon, circa 1934. As such, I have only posted the photo here and to Dead Fred.
Two Early King’s Daughters Circles (Portland, Me.) circa 1888.
This negative envelope says, “Miss Scribiner’s copy – 1949 (Kings Daughters?).” This collection includes two photos. Both appear to be reproductions of photos taken much earlier. The first photo is inscribed on the bottom, “My first Group of Kings Daughters” and consists of 11 women. The second photo includes 14 women. Both photos were taken on the wide steps of an ornate brick building with columns and planters.
What I learned researching this.
- On July 26th, 1887, Miss Margaret Bottome, of New York gave a Bible Talk on The King’s Daughters” at the State Steet Chapel.
- On 9 August 1888, the Portland Daily Press reported that the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union Conference was devoted to the King’s Daughters society.
- On 5 November 1888, the Portland Daily Press reported that Mrs. Arthur L. Bates and Miss Mable Stevens were chosen president and secretary of the King’s Daughter by the residents of Grand and High Streets.
- The King’s Daughters, Circle No. 1, then hosted parlor entertainment and a fair on 14 November 1888 at the residence of Mrs. S. D. Brown, No 6 Locust Street.
- Quickly afterwards, on 17 November, ten young girls met at 125 Emery Street and formed another society of King’s Daughters. This second group was connected with the Williston Sunday school. During December, the Emery Street ‘Daughters completed work that was to be sent to girls at the missionary school at Frankfort, Alabama[ii]. Meanwhile the Grand and High streets gave delightful parlor entertainment at R. H. Turner’s, 33 Deering Street.
- On Christmas Day, 1888, the Portland Daily Press ran an article about “The Kings Daughters | What they are doing in Portland and Elsewhere and the Rapid Increase of Benevolent Organization.
- It spoke of the first circle being organized in New York city by Mrs. Bottome, Miss Georgiana Libby, daughter of Mrs. F. O. Libby of Portland[iii], and others.
- As originally organized, each circle consisted of ten girls united in charitable work. They also made clothing for the “thinly clad” and food for the “sick poor.”
- On 23 May (1888) Mrs. Stephen Brown of the Chestnut Street church call her Sunday school class together and organized a group, assisted by Miss Libby, secretary of the Central circle in New York as the first circle of King’s Daughters in Portland. These young ladies consisted of: Lillian Rash, Florence Callahan, Lillie Hall, Nancy Griffin, Daisy Ogilvie, Mable Sawyer, Mable Hanson, Nellie Sayder, Lissie Jencks, and Alice Wormwood. Mrs. Brown’s circle labor for the motherless and poor children.
- Miss Alberta Thompson organized a Circle about the same time as Mrs. Brown. Instead of limiting the number of members to the traditional ten, she admitted some twenty or more girls. They are named the Inasmuch Circle of the King’s Daughters.
- Just before Thanksgiving, Mrs. S. F. Pearson’s Sabbath school class met at her house on Wilmot Street and formed a circle of ten. Mrs. Pearson was elected president, Miss Lilla Burns vice president, and Miss Laura Files, secretary and treasurer.
- A circle was formed at Williston church and another up town named the Grant and High Street circle and some half dozen circled form in the city with new one being formed.
- On 28 December 1888 a letter to the editor indicated the first King’s Daughters circle formed in Portland in September 1886. The “Alpha Ten” formed in the State Street Church and was addressed by Mrs. Bottome and Miss Libby in the summer of 1887.
- By July 1889, the King’s Daughters reported the order numbered about 100,000 members.[iv]
My research hasn’t determined who Mrs. Scribner was or which King’s Daughters Circle she was a part of. Likewise, I have not determined the place the photo was taken. (Although I suspect it was 6 Locust st, across from St Paul’s Church in Portland – Today it is a parking lot.) The King’s Daughters continue today.[v]
I am quite certain these photos represent two of the early Circles of King’s Daughters in Portland, Maine, probably from the late 1880s.
Mrs. Brooks’ Mother & Cat, 1945.
This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Brooks’ Mother – Dec 1945.”
What I learned from researching this photo.
- There are many, many “Mrs. Brooks” in Portland during the 1940s. The 1940 City directory includes over 20 “Mrs. Brooks” in Portland. Any of them could be the Mrs. Brooks in this photo. We expect that her mother will have a different surname, so this photo could be of many individuals and is undeterminable.
One photo included Mrs. Brooks’ mother and her cat and is particularly adorable and well worth posting here.
Unknown Fogg (women), 1949.
This negative envelope says, “Miss Fogg’s Mother & group – 1949.”
What I learned researching this photo.
- There are many individuals this photo may apply to. Based upon the envelope notes, I am unable to identify any of the individuals.
Unknown (Clinton Nursery?) Building, 1937.
The envelope this negative appears to say, “Clinton Nursey 1937 – Building.” It consists of four photos of a building under construction. It includes three construction workers, none of whom are recognizable.
While examining this photo package I learned:
- My review of Newspapers.Com failed to find any entries for “Clinton Nursery.” Likewise, my search for “Clinton AND ‘building permit’” on Newspapers.Com failed to find any useful results.
- A walkalong Clinton Steet in Portland[vi] and a walk along Clinton Street in South Portland[vii], failed to yield any structures, not even the building density, shown in these photos. My review of Clinton, Maine[viii], failed to find any locations with the building density shown in this photo.
I failed to identify this building under construction. As such, this is the only place I’ve uploaded the image. I do have three more similar images available upon request.
- I identified one individual whose photo I uploaded her photo to Dead Fred.
- I learned a lot about “The King’s Daughters” social groups in Portland.
I would love to hear your reaction if any of these photos are of your family member. Especially if this photo is of a loved one for whom you hadn’t seen this photograph before.
Due to software limitations, the images uploaded to Family Search, Dead Fred, and Flickr have higher quality than those linked here.
For all postings of the Ethel Wight Collection, please see here.
[i] These images were converted to positives using a lightbox, a Nikon camera and computer software.
[ii] The Portland Daily Press – 11 Dec 1888, Page 4, Column 1 “King’s Daughters.”
[iii] Georgianna Howard Libby, born 12 Jan 1845 in Portland, Maine. Died 22 Dec 1915 in Manhattan, NY City, NY. She is #5-7-8-1-1-2-3 in The Libby Family in America 1602-1881 Page 494. She never married.
[iv] The Portland Daily Press – 10 Jul 1998, Page 3, Column 1 “The Home-Notes About Women.”
[v] Newspapers.Com has over 3,000 matches for “King’s Daughters” from 1887 to 2023. My searches failed to find “Scribiner” in any of them.