Lifestyle

Katherine Dreier, The Société Anonyme Museum of Modern Art, & Yale University, 1941

Katherine Dreier, a co-founder in 1920 of The Société Anonyme Museum of Modern Art, gave an ethical legacy to my great-grandmother and a cultural legacy to the United States. The year Dreier deeded her collection to Yale University –1941 — she also wrote to my great-grandmother Ruth Seely Preston. In her letter, she enclosed an announcement by The Société Anonyme of giving their collection of modern art to Yale University. She also enclosed a Bulletin of the Associates in Fine Arts at Yale University showing and describing pieces from the collection. Most important to my family, she enclosed a personal statement certifying my great-grandmother’s birth, for that was what Ruth had written Dreier to request. Of the enclosed documents, Dreier wrote: “These you can show to the authorities if necessary to show them my standing in the community.” Since I found these documents among my grandmother’s memoirs, I have scanned and uploaded them in the interest of historical preservation. Here they are:

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My maternal grandmother, née Linda Preston, traveled as a singer with comedian Gene Sheldon in 1941. Unfortunately, it seems her tour with him was cut short when her brother, my Uncle Peter, took a curve too fast while driving her and ran the car into a tree. I remember Grandma told me her leg was broken, and got infected. She told me she begged the doctors in the hospital to save her leg rather than amputate it, and they gave her Sulfa drugs — brand new at the time — to kill the infection. They worked, mostly, but she was prone to getting infections in that leg in her old age.

Entertainment, Lifestyle

Grandma’s clippings re: singing with comedian Gene Sheldon

My maternal grandmother, née Linda Preston, traveled as a singer with comedian Gene Sheldon in 1941– a tour that was cut short by an automobile collision. View individual photos for longer descriptions.

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I found these photos among my maternal grandmother’s memoirs of her time as a vaudeville performer. They were all stamped on the back:

J. M. SHAFER
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
ALTOONA MIRROR

These nine photos were among my grandmother’s photos of her time as a trouper with Egyptian Follies. I searched the Internet for information about J. M. Shafer and found this mention of his time as a staff photographer with the Altoona Mirror in an obituary:

Mr. Shafer retired as photographer on May 21, 1980 [sic. Must have been 1970.], after more than 41 years’ service. He began his service with the Mirror on March 8, 1929, as a messenger to Daniel N. Step, president and publisher.

On March 8, 1933, he became the first staff photographer under the late J. Edward Benney, then city editor.

–Altoona Mirror [edits mine]

References

Altoona Mirror. (1983, August 5). Retired Mirror employee dies. Death Record, p. 4. Altoona, Blair County, PA: Altoona Mirror. Retrieved from http://boards.ancestry.com/surnames.shafer/739/mb.ashx

Entertainment, Photography

Photos by J. M. Shafer, Altoona Mirror staff photographer, 1940

These nine photos were among my grandmother’s photos of her time as a trouper with Egyptian Follies. I searched the Internet for information about J. M. Shafer and found mention of his time as a staff photographer with the Altoona Mirror in an obituary.

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I found these photos among my maternal grandmother’s memoirs. Her stage name was Linda Preston, and she was a singer who toured with comedian Gene Sheldon. Apparently, she was also a trouper with Egyptian Follies, a vaudeville variety show in 1940. I searched for information about Egyptian Follies, and I found this mention in a master’s thesis:

Throughout the 1931 – 1940 period scattered mention is made of vaudeville programs still being presented in conjunction with the movies. In 1931, a magic company, Rajah Raboid and His Mysteries of 1932, and the Carr Brothers and their musical follies, were presented at the Arcade; in 1932, another magician, Prince Shah Babar, and the company of Trixie Friganza and Her Discoveries; in 1934, Waxo the miracle man; Belle and Bozeman, adagio champions, and Ben Bernie and his orchestra; in 1935, a one-hour vaudeville program Broadway Bandwagon was presented as part of the Wilbur Cushman circuit, The Blue Paradise Revue, six acts of vaudeville, and The Soldiers of Fortune Revue; in 1937, still another magician, in 1939, The Rhythm Boys, RCA recording artists; and finally in 1940, the Egyptian Follies.

Patsy Ruth Heidt

Several of these photos were stamped on the back:

J. M. SHAFER
STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
ALTOONA MIRROR

More on J. M. Shafer in another post. I imagine the other photos were taken by my grandmother and other members of the troupe when they were in different cities.

References

Heidt, P. R. (1951). The history of the theatre in Lake Charles, Louisiana from 1920 to 1950. [Master's thesis]. Louisiana State University. Retrieved from http://library.mcneese.edu/depts/archive/FTBooks/heidt.htm

Shafer, J. M. (n.d.). [Photographs]. Altoona, PA: Altoona Mirror.

Entertainment, Photography, Travel

When Grandma was a trouper with Egyptian Follies

My maternal grandmother was Linda Preston, a singer who toured the Orpheum circuit with comedian Gene Sheldon. She was also a trouper with Egyptian Follies, a vaudeville variety show in 1940.

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Lifestyle, Photography

Photos of my grandmother before she met my grandfather

17 photos of my grandmother, Helene Greene, née Kupferman, as a baby, girl, & young woman before she met my grandfather, Ernest Greene. Taken in Brooklyn, NY 1910–1931

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