Photo Friday – Swensen & Strout

Ethel Wight Collection – Part 153
By Don Taylor

As I wind down with the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i], it becomes tougher each week. This week, for Photo Friday, I examine five more envelopes from the collection.[ii] Ultimately, my goal is to reunite the photos with family members who may have never seen the image.

Probably Louise Swensen, circa 1943.

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Swensen – 1943 – (2 prints of Louise).” The photos show a young girl, 2-3 years old, by a fireplace.

Photo probably of Louise Swensen, circa 1943.
Probably Louise Swensen, circa 1943

What I learned about this photo package.

My search of Ancestry for a Louise Swensen (or Swenson) failed to find any potential candidates born between 1939 and 1943 and who lived in Cumberland County.

Photo of an unidentified man in his 30s.

Unidentified Man (circa 1930s)

This negative envelope says, “[Nothing].” The envelope had some information written on it which was completely stricken out. As such, there is nothing I can use to identify this man.

Bloomville & Harriett Strout Camp (home), circa 1934.

This negative envelope says, “Mr. Strout Camp, Miss Gurneys Camp #105.” The negatives consist of three images. One photo shows a nice camp with a sign, MAPLE ST, nailed to a tree by the door. The second photo shows a couple standing in front of a simpler camp. The third photo include a beautiful Maine lake shoreline. There is a building at the edge of the photo with a sign, but I can’t read the sign at all.

What I learned about this photo image.

Photo of a camp (House) apparently on Maple St.
House “on Maple Street” apparently owned by the Strouts.
  • There was a Bloomvil [sic] (and Harriett) Strout who lived at 12 Maple av, Westbrook in 1930. A Google map photo of the current house suggests that it is the same house as was photographed in 1934.
  • Bloomville H and Harriet “Hattie” E (Verrill) Stout lived in Westbrook from1920 until 1955.

I am quite sure this photo is of Bloomville & Harriet’s house about 1934.

Photo of a camp with an older couple in front.
Camp with an older couple (probably Gurney” in front.

If the first camp was the Strout camp, then I presume the second camp is the Gurney camp. There are quite a few Gerney’s in Cumberland County. Because the Strouts were in Westbrook, I decided to look at Gerneys in Westbrook. There were two Gurneys in the Westbrook City Directory for 1938.

  • Cleveland (Dorothy) lived at 86 Lamb.
  • James, lived at 29 Seavey.

A Google Maps View of those addresses do not provide any likely homes matching the photos. As such I don’t believe I will be able to determine which Gurneys owned the camp in the second photo.

Unknown (Boys) Camp

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mr. Carr – 1945.” The package consists of 13 35mm b&w negatives of activities at a summer camp for boys. Most of the negatives show boys involved in various activities, including archery, baseball, canoeing, exercising, and hiking.

Photo of a summer camp with a tall flagpole.
A summer camp with a tall flagpole.

What I learned about this photo package.

  • My first assumption is that Mr. Carr was from Portland, as he brought his 35mm negatives to Ethel Wight’s Studio to have prints made.
  • Looking at the 1945 Portland City Directory, there are dozens of Mr. Carrs listed. Many worked at NESCo (New England Shipbuilding Company). Many others were in military service. But, I’m not seeing any Mr. Car whose occupation is something like camp owner or camp counselor.

Having not identified the camp nor any of the individuals in the photos, I am posting two photos of the camp and two photos of the camp staff here. If you can identify the camp or any of the staff, I’d love to hear from you.

Mr. Ford’s photo of Men building a clubhouse.

This negative envelope says, “Mr. Fords Negatives.” The package includes three photos, one of boys playing volleyball, one of several men and a boy building a fort or clubhouse of some sort, and one night photo of several men and boys backlit by a large brush fire.

What I learned about this photo package.

  • The 1940 Portland City Directory includes only two men with the Ford surname.
    • David Ford (Frances) – Ocean House rd, Cape Elizabeth.
    • Edward J Ford (Doris B) – A labeler at 45 Water living at 16 Dalton.
  • David is likely Isaac David Ford (1882-1971) who married Frances Maynard in 1903 and lived in Cape Elizabeth during the 1930 Census.
  • Edward is likely Edward Joseph Ford (1906-1990) who married Doris Beth Stewart in1933 and lived in Portland from 1935 and 1940.

Having not identified the camp nor any of the individuals in the photos, I am only posting one of the men building some sort of fort or clubhouse.


  • There were only two individuals in these photo sets. Neither were positively identified, but one was probably identified.
  • There were photos of two camps/houses. I believe I identified the owners and location of one of them.
  • There are photo packages of two boy’s summer camps. I didn’t identify either of them.

I’d love to hear your reaction if you can identify andy of the people or places in these photos.

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


[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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