Dear Reader

Dear Reader #184

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s twenty-third movie was The Primrose Path, produced during the summer of 1925 and released on September 15, 1925. Clara played Marilyn Merrill. For this movie, Clara was on ‘loan-out’, a common occurrence for contract players. 

The Primrose Path was classified as a ‘daily change’ movie, a movie that played in a theatre for one day then moved on to another town. In other words, it wasn’t very good.

At this stage of her career, Clara was overworked – sixteen movies in eighteen months – and underpaid, but she was making progress. In June 1925, she appeared on the cover of Motion Picture Classic, her first cover feature. The accompanying article stated: “The truth is, 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.”

I’m organising the Golden Age of Hollywood Mastodon Mega Movie Poll. Here are the results from Week Three.

Voted for by the movie lovers of Mastodon

The format: 32 movies seeded and selected by the American Film Institute receive a bye to Round Two.

Round One: 64 movies selected by Mastodon movie lovers, matched when possible by era and genre.

The African Queen 90% v 10% I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

South Pacific 40% v 60% White Christmas

Touch of Evil 54% v 46% 12 Angry Men

A Night at the Opera 28% v 72% Duck Soup

Shane 50% v 50% The Quiet Man

Shane won on AFI tie-break

A Matter of Life and Death 28% v 72% Wuthering Heights

Elmer Gantry 63% v 27% Trapeze

Point Blank 25% v 75% The Manchurian Candidate

Look who just appeared on my family tree, notorious outlaws Jesse and Frank James. Our common ancestor is William John James, 1570 – 1627. This branch of my family goes back to Dirk Jacobsz Van Haastrecht, born c1470 in the Netherlands.

My 5 x great grandfather Samuel Axe was an ‘esquire’, a property developer in late 1700s-early 1800s London. He had a wife, eight children and a mistress who on one occasion was pregnant at the same time as his wife. Yet, Samuel was ‘base born’, his father not acknowledged. How did his mother, Ann, find the resources to help him start his property developing career? I shall endeavour to find out…

My 6 x great grandmother, Ann Axe, was baptised on 1 October 1756 in St Alfege Church, Greenwich, Kent. Her parents were John Axe and Sarah. As a teenager, Ann gave birth to my 5 x great grandfather, Samuel Axe. Samuel’s father was not acknowledged. As watermen and excise officers on the Thames, compared to many, the Axes enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. And the surviving records suggest that Ann enjoyed her family’s support.

On 7 July 1778, aged twenty-two, my 6 x great grandmother Ann Axe, married Owen Griffiths. The couple married by special license through a ‘Marriage Allegation and Bond’. These licenses allowed for fast, private marriages. The reasons for such marriages were numerous, but on this occasion it would appear that Owen, a mariner, was about to set sail on his ship.

Owen had to pledge £200 should any fault be found in the legality of the marriage, a huge sum in 1778. Supporters sometimes added their names to the pledge. However, on this occasion ‘John Dow’, obviously a fictitious person, supported the pledge. Therefore, Owen was carrying the burden alone. Despite Ann’s status as an unmarried mother, he was very keen to marry her.

In common with most married women in the 1700s, my 6 x great grandmother Ann Axe gave birth approximately every two years – in 1779, 1782, 1784 and 1786 to William, John, James and Mary respectively. I anticipated finding another birth record in 1788, but instead I discovered Ann’s death record. Ann was buried on 15 January 1788. At the age of thirty-one, it’s possible that she died in childbirth.

A sad record, my 6 x great grandmother Ann Axe’s death record. However, in just a few words it confirms several key facts: Ann was married to Owen Griffiths and her father was John Axe, thus linking other records together. And, crucially, this record was recorded in a Non-Conformist register (one of our key family traits is that of non-conformity, in many aspects of life). The research path is now clear: search for other Non-Conformist Axe ancestors.

My article about Mary Pickford is featured in this month’s issue of Connections Magazine.

Clara Bow Quotes: Clara’s sisters both died within hours of their birth. Did these tragedies influence her ‘live for the moment attitude? She said this at the height of her fame: “I don’t want to look into the future. I don’t care. I distrust the future. If someone would lift the veil for me, I wouldn’t let them. It is better not to look ahead and not to look back. I will not look back. I must not. And I dare not look ahead. I am afraid.”

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

#1 for value with 565,000 readers, The Fussy Librarian has helped my books to reach #1 on 36 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian.

Don’t forget to use the code goylake20 to claim your discount 🙂

2 replies on “Dear Reader #184”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.