Donna Darling Collection – Part 69

Palace Theatres

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at four clippings about the Palace Theater. from the Donna Darling Collection

Palace Theatre – Port Richmond

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palace Theatre – Port Richmond.
  • The show is the “Donna Darling & Boys” in “As You Like It.”
  • Also, on the bill:
    • Bert Lahr & Mercedes in “What’s the Idea?”
    • Malloy & Cowell – Comedy Sketch “Hogan the Mummy”
    • Rose Garden – Comedy song & Piano
  • Coming attractions include:
    • May 8, 9, 10—Richard Talmadge, Douglas Fairbanks’ only rival, in “The Unknown.”


The first of these clippings relates to the Palace Theatre of Port Richmond. Although it is undated, it mentions the show following, the movie “The Unknown,” will come May 8, 9, and 10. Donna Darling & Boys “As You Like It” appears to have opened in June 1921 and ran until June 1924. “Pay Day” with Charlie Chaplin was released in April 1922. So, I’m confident this ad was from May 4, 5, & 6, 1922. Port Richmond is a section of Philadelphia and there was a Lehigh Palace Theatre it is in Glenwood about three miles from Port Richmond but it doesn’t seem to fit the ad.

Port Richmond is also a neighborhood in Staten Island. Also, it had a Palace Theatre which operated from before 1916 into the 1950s. Additionally, Donna Darling & Boys played at the Crescent Theatre in Perth Amboy, only 17 miles away, immediately following the Palace Theatre gig. As such, I am confident this is evidence that Donna and the Boys, played at the Palace Theatre in Port Richmond, Staten Island, New York May 4-6, 1922.


May 6-8, ?, 1922 – Port Richmond (Staten Island) – Palace Theatre – Donna Darling & Boys in “As you Like It” – DDC-69.

Palace Theatre – Detroit, Michigan

The next two are the cover and inside of a program showing what is coming next week.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palace Theatre – Detroit, Michigan.
  • The show is the “Donna Darling and her Bathing Girl Revue” and includes the “Comedy Life Guards”
  • Also on the Program:
    • Tom Brown Presents “Seven Gifted Chinese Musicians” With their Oriental Stringed Octette.
    • Meredith and Miller in “Bring ‘em In”
    • Harry Oliver and Ada Lee in “At the Stage Door” by Jimmy Barry
    • Fayette and Co. “Spectacular and Comedy Illusions”
    • Three Runseys in “An Athletic Surprise”
    • Movie: Emil Jannings in “The Last Laugh”
  • Date: Unknown (Next Week)


Thanks to Genealogy Bank, I learned previously that Donna Darling’s Bathing Beauties played at the Palace Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 7th & 8tt, 1925. Clearly, this program is from that showing.

I find it interesting that, presumably, Tom Brown and his Saxophone Clowns (from the Chin Chin Days) morphed into a “Chinese Octette.”

The Bathing Beauty on the inside, “One of the Ten Hollywood Bathing Beauties” does not appear to be Donna. It is rare that Donna ever allowed any of the other women in the show to be displayed in advertising.


Add images to existing files I have regarding Donna playing at the Palace Theatre.

Palace Theatre – “Dolly Montrose”

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palace – The Home of Supreme Vaudeville (Location unknown)
  • The show of interest is “Dolly Montrose – Singing Comedienne”
  • Also on the Program:
    • Beyer & McNulty in their comedy hit “Hunting”
    • Bill Browing—The Talkative Man
    • ??? eley and La Rose—Some Team
    • ??? Lone Star & Co. – Songs and Dances
    • Movie: “Diamonds Adrift” starring Earl Williams
  • Date: Unknown (Probably early 1921)


This fragment is intriguing. The Big Vitagraph Feature is “Diamonds Adrift” starring Earl Williams which was released in January 1921. The clipping does not mention Donna but does portray a “Dolly Montrose – Singing Comedienne.” Donna occasionally used the name “Dolly” in her early career, but I’ve not seen “Montrose” ever used before. It may have been a typo, but I suspect something else.

Donna’s known career in early 1921 is lacking many venues. I suspect there was a week in February where Donna didn’t have any shows with her Bathing Beauties and wanted to keep working so she got a gig as a “Singing Comedienne” named Dolly Montrose. A name different enough to not be an embarrassment to her Bathing Beauties show.


Although my speculation may be right, unless I find corroborating information, I’m just going to just keep this clipping aside and see if something else comes to light.

1900 Census – Searching for misspelled Salefske’s

Census Sunday
Roberts-Dion-Spry-Salefske Project
By Don Taylor

My half-brother’s (Tom) maternal line has been difficult to trace, mostly due to unusual names. His great-grandmother’s name is probably Ottilie Salefske. But in various records, I’ve seen her named Ottlie, Tillie, Lillie, Tily, and even Matilda. Likewise, her surname is spelled a half a dozen ways also, It seems like I need to search using lots of question marks, “S?l??sk?”. As such, neither he nor I were successful in finding Ottilie in the 1900 Census. So, I gave it a try leaving the surname off completely. I searched for her father, “Charles” and his wife “Hattie” with a child “Albert.” Albert is believed to be Ottilie’s next younger brother. They are all names that are common enough to typically be spelled correctly in the Census record and to be interpreted by indexers correctly. It didn’t matter if I searched using Ancestry.Com or Family Search, the correct family was found immediately with a completely different, but understandable, spelling – “Lelensky.” So, if you can’t find someone in a census that you should, be sure to try searching without the surname and enter just the relationships of several first names.

Document Image

Image of the 1900 Census showing Charles Salefsky & family of Detroit, Wayne, MI
1900 Census – Charles Salefsky – Detroit, Wayne, MI.

My Transcription

1900 Census – Michigan, Wayne, Detroit, Ward 14
Enumeration District 156, Sheet 18
Lines 6 through 14 – 246 Lovett

  • Lelensky [Salefske] Charles – Head – May 1855 | 45 – Married 10 years – Born Germany, PR Immigration 1888 in the US for 11 years – Machinist – Owns House.
  •     –    Hattie  – Wife  –  June 1857 | 42  Married 10 years, 3 children born, 3 living  – Born Germany, PR – Immigration 1879, in US 20 years.
  •     –    Otto  –  Son     – July 1880 – Age 19            – Born Germany, Pr – Immigration 1888, in US 11 years. – Brass Finisher
  •     –    Odilia  –  Daughter – Dec 1883 – Age 16     – Born Germany, Pr – Immigration 1888, in US 11 years.
  •     –    Albert  –  Son  – Mar 1886 – Age 14             – Born Germany, Pr – Helper Machinist  – Immigration 1888, in US 11 years.
  • Sauli [Sante?], Anna – S. Daughter  Jan 1887 Age 13 – Michigan At School
  •     –    Walter   –  S. Son   Mar 1888 – Age 11 – Michigan       At School
  •     –    Hugo   –  S. Son – Nov 1891 – Age 2    – Michigan
  • Salensky, Louise – Mother  – Jan 1818 – Age 82, Wd 4 children, 4 living – Germany, Pr. Immigration 1893, 6 yrs in the US

All parents were born in “Germany, Pr.”


The great thing about this census record is that it clearly shows that Hattie was in the United States before Otto, Ottilie, and Albert came to the United States.

Also, it shows that Anna, Walter, and Hugo are all stepchildren to Charles.

One obvious mistake is that Hugo, who was born Nov 1891 is identified as only 2-years-old instead of 8 years old.  It does make some dates a little confusing; if Charles and Hattie had been married for 10 years, how did Hugo, age 8, become identified as a step-son? Even if Hattie were pregnant with Hugo when she and Charles married, it would seem incorrect. I need to search further to find Charles and Hattie’s marriage record.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 36 – Fox Washington Theatre

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection concerning “The Fox Washington – Washington Blvd at Clifford.”

Continue reading “Donna Darling Collection – Part 36 – Fox Washington Theatre”

Charles Selefsky & Family in the 1900 Census

Dion-Spry Project

Census Sunday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Sometimes when you at a census closely, you realize something in there is just not possible. Such is the case of Charles Selensky (aka Selefsky, Selefske, & Seleske) as he appears in the 1900 Census. His step-children just aren’t right.

1900 Census – Michigan, Wayne, Detroit – Charles Lelensky [Selefsky]


Selensky, Charles      Head       May 1855          45         Married for 10 years.

___, Hattie                Wife        June 1857         42         Married for 10 years 3 Children, 3 Living

___, Otto                   Son         Jul 1880            19

___, Adelia                Dau.        Dec 1883          16

___, Albert                Son         Mar 1886           14

Sauli, Anna                Step-Dau Jan 1887           13

___, Walter                Step-Son Mar 1888           11

___, Hugo                 Step-Son Nov 1897            2       

Salensky Louise        Mother    June 1818         82         Wid 4 Children, 4 Living.

At first glance, it appears that Hattie had three children with a previous husband, and unknown Sauli (or Sante) There are three children with another surname and she had had three children, all of whom were living. Then I noticed that Hugo was only two years old but Charles and Hattie had been married for 10 years. Even though Hugo is identified as a Sauli, and is identified as a step-son, I’m confident that Hugo must be the child of Charles and Hattie and that the enumerator made a mistake.

So, I’m tentatively putting Hugo’s parents as Charles and Hattie and the other three children, Otto, Adelia (Ottilia), and Albert as the children of Charles and Unknown.

If you can think of another scenario that makes sense of this Census Record, I’d love to hear it.

Ancestor Bio – Ottilie Salefske Spry

Dion-Spry Project

52 Ancestors – Week 2018-32
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Some names are both easy and difficult to follow. In the case of the Salefske line the surname is spelled, Salefske, Salefski, Salefsky, Salesky…. You get the idea, it was spelled by the individual who heard the name and guessed at the spelling. Ottilie’s siblings also appear to have taken on different spellings in many of their dealings.  Sorting out what should be the surname and what should not is an exercise in futility. I’ll just go with Salefske for the surname and know that individual records may have virtually any surname spelling. Ottilie’s first name is also a mix of records, sometimes, it has one “t” sometimes two “l’s;” sometimes it is Tillie, Lillie, Tily, Matilda and even Adelia. All-in-all, I’ve given up trying to determine her first name as well. I’m spelling it as “Ottilie,” mostly because that spelling is more common than any of the others.

Dion-Spry 2018 – Ancestor #15

List of Grandparents

  • Grandmother:  Viola Lorraine Spry (1908-2002)
  • 1st Great-grandmother:  Ottilie Rhine-Selefske
  • 2nd Great-grandfather:  Charles/Carl Salefske
  • 3rd Great-grandfather:  Frederick Salefske

Ottilie Salefske (1883-1975)

Ottilie Salefske was born in December 1883 in West Prussia, a province of the Kingdom of Prussia. After 1945, West Prussia became a part of Poland. Her father was Charles/Carl Salefske. It is unclear who her mother was. She and five of her siblings immigrated to the United States in 1888.[i]

She became a naturalized citizen when her father became a citizen in 1892.

In 1900, the 16-year-old was living at 246 Lovett, Detroit Michigan with her father (Charles); step-mother, Hattie; brothers Otto and Albert; a step-sister Anna; a step-brother Walter; and another brother, Hugo, who I believe to be a half-brother.

Name Relationship Born
Leo Fredrick Salefske Brother 30 Dec 1876 – Germany
Otto Julins Salefske Brother Jul 1880 – Germany
Augusta F. Salefske Sister 1881 – Germany
Albert C. Salefske Brother Mar 1886 – Germany
Anna Janke (Salefske)[ii] Step-sister Jan 1887 – Michigan
Walter Janke (Salefske) Step-brother Mar 1888 – Michigan
Hugo Salefske Half-Brother Nov 1897 – Michigan


Sometime between 1901 and 1902, Ottilie married Thomas Frederick Spry.[iii]

Together they had four children

  • Ethel H Spry – Born 1902, Died 1985.
  • Unnamed boy – Born and died in 1904.
  • Viola Lorraine Spry – Born 1908.
  • Isabel Jean Spry – Born 1918.

The couple probably lived in Ypsilanti for a short time after marriage. Ethel and the unnamed boy were born there. The other two children were born in Detroit.


The 1910 Census finds the family at 671 Buchanan Street, Detroit.

By 1918, when Thomas registered for the draft, they were living at 1415 25th Street, Detroit.

The 1920 Census finds the family still at 1415 25th Street.[iv]

5727 Missouri Ave, Detroit, MI – Photo by Google Maps

The 1930 Census finds Thomas and Ottilie renting at 5727 Missouri Avenue Living with then was their 11 year-old daughter, Isabel. Their daughter Viola was living with them while the whereabout of her husband, Albert Dion, is unknown.

The 1940 Census finds Thomas and Ottilie still at 5727 Missouri Ave, Detroit. Their daughter Violet, and Violet’s husband, Albert Dion, are living with them, as is their Granddaughter, Janet.

Death & Burial

Ottilie (Salefske) Spry died in October 1975. She was preceded in death by her father, Charles/Carl; step-mother, Hattie; Brothers Leo, Otto, and Hugo; sister Augusta; her husband, Thomas, and her unnamed child who died in 1904.

She was survived by her three daughters, Ethel, Viola, and Isabel.

Her burial location is unknown.


  • 1900 Census – Michigan, Wayne, Detroit – Charles Lelensky –
  • 1910 Census, Thomas Spry – Detroit, Wayne, Michigan – ED 211, Sheet 9B. Year: 1910; Census Place: Detroit Ward 14, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T624_686; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 0211; FHL microfilm: 1374699
  • 1920 Census (A), Thomas Spry – Detroit, Wayne, Michigan. Year: 1920; Census Place: Detroit Ward 12, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T625_811; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 363.
  • 1930 Census (NARA), 1930 Census – Michigan, Wayne, Detroit – ED 82-300, Sheet 12-A – Thomas Spry.
  • 1940 Census, 1940 Census – Michigan, Wayne, Detroit, ED 84-527, Sheet 8B – Thomas Spry. 1940; Census Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: m-t0627-01856; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 84-527
  • Michigan Births, 1867-1902, Ethel Spry – 3 Sep 1902. “Michigan Births, 1867-1902,” database with images, FamilySearch, Thos. F. Spry in entry for Ethel Spry, 03 Sep 1902; citing item 1 p 419 rn 1673, Ypsilanti, Washtenaw, Michigan, Department of Vital Records, Lansing; FHL microfilm 2,363,098.
  • Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952, Albert Dian & Viola Spry – 17 May 1927.
  • S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Isabel Jean Spry – 7 Aug 1918. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.
  • Original data: Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007.
  • S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014, Ottilie Spry – 1883-1975 – (No Image). U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2014.
  • Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.
  • S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Thomas Frederick Spry. “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch, Thomas Frederick Spry, 1917-1918; citing Detroit City, Michigan, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,675,372.

————–  Disclaimer  ————–


[i] The 1900 Census indicates she arrived in 1888 and had been in the US for 11 years.

The 1910 Census indicates she arrived in 1886.

The 1930 Census indicates she arrived in 1887.

[ii] The 1900 Census indicates the surname for Anna, Walter, & Hugo was Sauli. It is very difficult to read. Hugo’s obituary establishes Walter’s surname as Janke. I assume that Anna’s surname was the same. Leo’s obituary identifies Walter’s surname as Salefske. So I suspect Walter went by both surnames during his life.

[iii] The 1910 Census indicates the couple had been married for eight years.

[iv] The 1920 Census indicates they were renting at 1417 25th. 1415 and 1417 are the same building. I believe the Draft Registration is more likely correct.