Ethel Wight Collection – Part 61

Hodgins, Hodsdon, Hoffman, Hoffses, & née Sholes

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.

Lynette Hodgins, circa 1934

The envelope this negative was in says, “Miss Lynette Hodgins, 96 Morning St, #184.”

Miss Lynette Hodgins, circa 1934.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1934 Portland City Directory lists Lynette G. Hodgins as a clerk who moved to Brewer. There was an Ardra Hodgins who resided at 13 Lewis.
  • The 1933 Portland City Directory does not list Lynette. I have been unsuccessful in finding Lynette G. Hodgins in any Census records or other documents in further research.

Neither Family Search nor Ancestry trees appear to include Lynette Hodgins.

I have uploaded one photo of Lynette to Dead Fred. 

Mildred Susanna Hoffses, circa 1936

This negative envelope says, “Miss Mildred Hoffses, Eye & Ear Infirmary #948.”

Mildred Susanna Hoffses, circa 1936.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1934 and 1935 Portland City Directories list Mildred Hoffses as a student nurse at 79 Bramhall, residing at 804 Congress.
  • The 1936 Portland City Directory lists Mildred S Hoffses as an Assistant Tech at 79 Bramhall, residing at 792 Congress.
  • The 1937 and 1938 Portland City Directories list Mildred Hoffses as a supervisor at 79 Bramhall, living at 804 Congress.
  • According to the 1937 Portland City Directory, 79 Bramhall was the Maine Eye and Ear Infirmary address.
  • The 1930 US Census lists Mildred S Hoffses, a 17-year-old Maine-born woman boarding at 226 Capisic Street in the household of Henry and Marion Chapman.
  • The 1930 Deering High School includes a photo of “Millie” Mildred Susanna Hoffses, whose ambition was to become a nurse. She is noted as, “A girl who came from way down east to get an education at Deering.”
  • Ancestry family trees indicate Mildred Susanna Hoffses was born 10 August 1912 in Jonesport, Washington County, Maine.

This photo was taken about 1936 when Mildred graduated from nursing school.

Family Search identifies Mildred S Hoffses, born 10 August 1912, as ID L8MY-T3C. Thirty-three public trees at Ancestry refer to Mildred Susanna Hoffse.

I have uploaded one photo of Mildred to her Family Search Memories. 

Confirmed to be Mildred by a granddaughter.
Also confirmed to be Mildred by a grandson.

Empire Theatre Mural, c. 1934.

This photo is from the Ethel Wight Studio, Portland, Maine.

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Helena Hodsdon, 217 Stevens Ave #71 – Mural for Empire Theater.”

In this case, the photo is not of a person; instead, it is the photograph of a mural of Portland Head lighthouse that was once at the Empire Theatre.

The Empire Theatre was at 68 Oak. Converted from a horse stable, which later became a roller skating rink, the Empire Theatre opened 8 October 1913. It was renamed the Paris Cinema. It was demolished in the early 1980s.[iii]

Helena Susan Hodsdon, 1935.

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. Helena Hodsdon, 217 Stevens Ave #547.”

Helena Susan Hodsdon, 1935

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1937 Portland City Directory lists Helena C. Hodsdon, the wife of Herbert S Hodsdon, living at 217 Stevens.
  • The 1930 US Census lists Herbert S Hodsdon, his 39-year-old wife Helena C., and his daughter seven-year-old Helena S. Hodsdon renting at 237 Brighton.
  • The individual in the photo is not in her 40s, so it must be their daughter Helena.
  • Ancestry Family Trees suggest their daughter, Helena Susan Hodsdon, was born on 8 September 1922 in Yarmouth. A photo of Helena from 1935 is clearly of the same young woman, she is even wearing the same dress.
  • This photo is of Helena Susan Hodsdon, from 1935, probably the same sitting.

Family Search identifies Helena Susan Hodsdon as ID L269-NN5. Also, eleven trees at Ancestry refer to Helena Susan Hodsdon.

I have uploaded one photo of Helena to her Family Search Memories.

Eldora May Hoffman, née Sholes, circa 1935.

This negative envelope says, “Mrs. W Leore Hoffman, 48 Allen Ave #228.”

Eldora May Hoffman, née Sholes, circa 1935.

Why I believe this to be the individual.

  • The 1934 Portland City Directory lists William L Hoffman and his wife Eldora M., living at 48 Allen Ave.
  • The 1940 US Census finds William L and his wife Eldora living at 203 St. John Street. Both were 32 years old in 1940.
  • Ancestry Family Trees include William Leon Hoffman and his wife Eldora May (née Sholes). Eldora was born 18 May 1907 in Portland, Maine.

This is a photo of Eldora about 1935 when she was about 27 years old.

Family Search identifies Eldora M Sholes, born 18 May 1907, as ID GM7V-NMX.  Eldora May Sholes (1907-1967) appears in 15 Ancestry public trees.

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


  • I fully identified three of the four individuals. They had profiles at Family Search, so I uploaded their photos to Family Search
  • Other than the name of the person who paid for the photograph and name confirmation, I could not identify one of the individuals. I posted her photo to Dead Fred.
  • A fifth image was of a mural at the Empire Theatre and not the photo of an individual, so I only posted that photo here.

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.

[iii] Cinema Treasures – Paris Cinema, 68 Oak Street, Portland. Today it is the home of The Oak Street Lofts – 37 efficiency apartments designed specifically with local artists in mind.

Donna in the News – “Chin Chin” is Well Liked… in Saskatoon

“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue for my grandmothers exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.

This week two articles from two newspapers in Saskatoon.

  • Saskatoon Daily Star (Saskatoon, Canada) dated January 13, 1920.
  • Star Phoenix (Saskatoon, Canada) dated January 13, 1920.

“Chin Chin” in Saskatoon – January 1920

I have long known that Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” played in Calgary on January 8th through the 10th and in Regina on January 15th through the 17th.  I suspected that the show played in Saskatoon, SK, in between the two shows but had no evidence of it. Sure enough, newly digitized newspaper pages at Newspapers.Com showed two callouts for Donna among some 18 articles and advertisements for “Chin Chin” playing in Saskatoon on January 12, 13, and 14.

On January 13th, the Daily Star wrote, “Outstand among the other principals were Donna Montran as the goddess of the lamp, Neva Larry….”

Also, on January 13th, the Star Phoenix wrote, “Donna Montran has a nice voice and puts two very pretty songs across to advantage. Star Dunham.…”

New information added to the Madonna Montran career list:

Jan 12-14, 1920 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada – Empire Theatre (