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Dear Reader #176

Dear Reader,

This week, I wrote Chapter 35 (of 65) of Tula, the story of a young 1920s actress from the slums of Brooklyn. In this chapter, Westward Bound, after many struggles and misadventures, Tula arrives in Hollywood. And this is the sight that greets her.

In Chapter 37 of Tula, Tula’s chaperone, Gloria Steenberg, insists that she should change her image and become a flapper. A battle of wills and ambitions between the two women ensues.

🖼 “Where there’s smoke there’s fire” by Russell Patterson.

Clara Bow’s fifteenth movie was The Adventurous Sex, produced in November 1924, with location shooting at Niagara Falls, and released on June 12, 1925. Clara played Patricia Webster. Sadly, this silent movie is now lost.

The Adventurous Sex was one of sixteen movies Clara made in eighteen months. At this stage of her career, she was on the movie treadmill, and not enjoying it. Many of these movies were low budget and of poor quality. However, her hard work was rewarded with an appearance on the cover of Motion Picture Classic, June 1925, her first magazine cover appearance.

Of Clara, Motion Picture Classic said, “Little Clara Bow shows alarming symptoms of becoming the sensation of the year in Hollywood. There is something vital and compelling in her presence. She is the spirit of youth. She is Young America rampant, the symbol of flapperdom.”

Pearl White (March 4, 1889 – August 4, 1938) began her career on the stage at the age of six. Later, she featured in silent films, especially serials, and became known as the “Queen of the Serials”.

Often cast as a plucky heroine, Pearl performed her own stunts, most notably in The Perils of Pauline. Unfortunately, a spinal injury sustained while filming The Perils of Pauline resulted in drug and alcohol dependence in an effort to ease her pain, a dependence that led to her early death from liver failure.

Nancy Carroll (November 19, 1903 – August 6, 1965) started her career in Broadway musicals. She became an actress in talkies and appeared in 39 films between 1927 and 1938. 

In the early 1930s Nancy received more fan mail than any other star. Nevertheless, Paramount Pictures cancelled her contract because they regarded her as ‘uncooperative’ when she balked at the roles offered by the studio.

Anniversaries: Married this week, on 9 January 1843 at St Mary’s, Haggerston, London (pictured) my 4 x great grandparents Matthew Cottrell and Sarah Gadsden. Matthew worked as a porter/trader in the London markets. Sarah gave birth to seven children, six girls and a boy. Before marriage, the couple lived in the same street, Castle Court, Matthew at number 14, Sarah at number 2. They remained married for 51 years, until Sarah’s death in 1894.

The key year for my 6 x great grandmother Barbara Bevan arrived in 1746 when she married Rees David in Llantrisant, Glamorgan. Her father, John Bevan, also died that year.

Barbara gave birth to eight children. Her husband, Rees David, was an alderman who inherited Treferig Isaf in Llantrisant. He was also a Quaker. However, the intriguing aspect of Barbara’s story is she was born in Pennsylvania. What were her parents doing there? 🤔

I’ve discovered that four generations of the Bevan branch of my family had close ties with Pennsylvania. All the Bevans in Merion, Pennsylvania are descended from my ancestors. To make sense of how and why my Bevans arrived in Pennsylvania I need to go back to my 9 x great grandfather, John Bevan, 1646 – 1726. This is going to be exciting 🙂

Clara Bow Quotes: “Back in Hollywood, I was restless. The picture wasn’t going so well. My house was always full of people, some of whom I knew, others I did not. It seemed that my life was not my own. I fretted.

My name was news and the slightest ripple on the surface of my existence was a signal for the newspapermen to place my name in headlines. So, this was Hollywood, and fame and fortune! Where were the real things in life? Was I to continue like this?

Some book news. Nine years old this year, Sam’s Song is number one on the Amazon charts again 🙂

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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