Donna in the News – Seven New Venues

Chin Chin
In the News
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspaper articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (Donna Montran and Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue for my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.

This week I researched “Chin Chin,” the show Donna joined in October 1919, while it was already on tour. Thanks to, I was able to learn of seven new appearances of “Chin Chin.”

Date in 1919 Theatre Location
Nov 1 Chatterton Opera House Bloomington, IL
Nov 3 Plumb Theatre Streator, IL
Nov 4 Dixon Opera House Dixon, IL
Nov 5 Greene’s Cedar Rapids, IA
Nov 6 Berchel Des Moines, IA
Nov 21 Sterling Theater or
Rex Theatre[i]
Greeley, CO
Dec 9 Arcade Theatre La Grande, OR

The Greeley showing was an exciting find because the theater wasn’t identified. On November 27, 1919, the Windsor Beacon (Windsor, CO) reported:

The Windsor Beacon, Windsor, CO – Nov 27, 1919


“Chin Chin” was the attraction which took many Windsor people to Greeley last Friday night. Among those known to have attended were:

Dr. and Mrs. T. B. Gormly…

(Note: Windsor is about ten miles northwest of Greeley.)


The 1921 Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide reports Both the “Republican” and the “Tribune” as newspapers that serviced Greeley. I’ll need to find sources for those newspapers when I write more about “Chin Chin” playing in Greeley.

Because of those newly available online articles, I was able to add another seven venues for Donna’s “Chin Chin” tour.

New information added to her career list:

    • Nov 1, 1919 – Bloomington, IL – Chatterton Opera House
    • Nov 3, 1919 – Streator, IL – Plumb
    • Nov 4, 1919 – Dixon, IL – Dixon Opera House
    • Nov 5, 1919 – Cedar Rapids, IA – Greene’s
    • Nov 6, 1919 – Des Moines, IA – Berchel
    • Nov 21, 1919 – Greeley, Colorado – (Sterling or Rex Theatre)
    • Dec 9, 1010 – Arcade Theatre – La Grande, Oregon

– – – Disclaimer – – –


[i] Vaudeville Trails Thru the West “By one who knows” – Herbert Lloyd, page 98, reports only one theatre in Greeley, Colorado, the Sterling Theatre. It indicates the Sterling operated on Thursday for a 3PM matinee and an 8:15 PM night show. This could have been a special Friday night show. Alternately, the 1921 Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide for 1921 indicates that a second theater, the Rex Theatre, J. Lynch, Mgr. had a seating capacity of 800 and also played Traveling Companies.

Ethel Wight Collection – Part 12

Dexter, Dixon, Dodge(2), & Doherty

Photo Friday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week for Photo Friday, I look at identifying more negatives from the Ethel Wight Studio Collection[i]. The names on the envelope are of the individual who paid for the photos, not necessarily of the individual portrayed in the image. As such, it is important to analyze the photo and information to positively identify the photographs.[ii]

Mrs. G. N. Dexter – 129 Pleasant St., Portland, ME

Copy of Envelope Writing

This photo is from the Ethel Wight Studio (Portland, ME) collection. The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. G. N. Dexter – 129 Pleasant St., Woodfords #34.” (Woodfords is a neighborhood in Portland, ME.)

Mrs. G. N. Dexter – 129 Pleasant St., Woodfords.

I have been completely unable to identify this individual. The low ID number (34) suggests the photo was taken about 1934. I have not found any individual named G. N. Dexter, nor any Dexter who has the middle name starting with “N.” Likewise, searching for address 129 Pleasant did not reveal anyone with a similar name.

Image posted to Dead Fred.

There were two additional photos of Mrs. G. N. Dexter which I have uploaded to my Flickr Page.


Cynthia Alberta (Brimmer) Dodge (1893-1986)

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs Ira Dodge – Crosby St, Portland # 768.”

Mrs. Ira Dodge

The 1936 Portland City Directory lists Ira J. Dodge and his wife Cynthis B., living at 28a Crosby.

Cynthia Alberta Brimmer, (born 16 April 1893) married Ira James Dodge in Brewer, Maine on 29 April, 1922. Cynthis was the daughter of George W. and Isabel (Carr) Brimmer.

I’ve posted Cynthia Alberta Brimmer’s photos to her Family Search profile L5Z8-KKW.

Martha Dodge – circa 1937

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Ira Dodge – Daughter Martha – Crosby St Woodfords #10.”

Martha Dodge – circa 1937

I looked at Mrs. Ira Dodge of Crosby Street (above), so this identification was easy. The 1940 Census indicated she had two children, Patricia and Martha. Martha was 12 years old during the 1940 Census. If this photo was taken about 1936, she would have been about 8 years old, about right for the image.

Martha R Dodge has a profile on Family Search, ID L5Z8-KVL. I have uploaded three of her photos to her Family Search profile.

Wendel Wallace Doherty (1887-1949)

This photo is from the Ethel Wight Studio (Portland, Maine) Collection. The envelope this negative was in says, “Wendell W. Doherty – 562 Congress St., Room 613 #82.”

Wendell W. Doherty

The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Wendell W and Agnes C Doherty was a music teacher at 562 Congress, Room 613 and sec 249 Middle. His home was at 249 High.

The 1940 Federal Census indicates Wendell Doherty of 249 High Street was 53 years old, born in Maine, Married to Agnes C. Doherty, and has two children.

Further research found Wendell Wallace Doherty was born June 21, 1887, in Mechanic Falls, Maine.

Wendall W. Doherty married Agnes Catherine La Rochelle on 27 Dec 1915 in Portland, Cumberland County Maine. His marriage record indicated his father was John A Doherty and his mother was Sarah Waldron.

There was no profile for Wendall Wallace Doherty in Family Search. However, John A Doherty and Sadie Waldron.

I was able to confirm the relationship by the 1900 Census, which shows 13-year-old Wendel living with his parents John and Sarah with several siblings.[iii]

I created a profile for Wendel on Family Search, GH8T-WJ8 and uploaded his photo to that profile.

Unknown [Dixon?] – circa 1937

The envelope this negative was in says, “Mrs. Chas A. Dixon – 170 Bolton St, Portland #880.”

Young Woman, possibly related to Charles and Nellie Dixon of Portland, Maine

The 1937 Portland City Directory reports Charles A. D. Dixon and his wife Nellie G loving at 170 Bolton.

The 1940 Census found Charles A. D. Dixon living with his wife and son, Charles at 156 Brentwood Street. Nellie is 54 years old. The photo is clearly of a girl much younger. So, the 1940 Census does not provide a likely subject’s name.

The 1930 Census found Charles living with his wife and two sons at 11 East Kidder Street. Again, the census records do not provide a likely subject for the person.

This photo is of an unknown person, possibly related to Charles and Nellie Dixon. Possibly others who know the family will be able to identify the individual


I had:

  • Three successful identifications where I could post to Family Search.
  • One partial identification posted to Dead Fred.
  • One unsuccessful identification.

Final Note

If any of these photos are of a family member, I would love to hear your reaction.


[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.