Dear Reader

Dear Reader #186

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s twenty-fifth movie was Free to Love, released on November 20, 1925. Clara played Marie Anthony, a woman falsely accused of murder. Producer B.P. Schulberg was still content to churn out movies at pace – he reduced the shooting time from three weeks to two – rather than focus on quality. A shame, because Free to Love’s noirish plot – before noir was ‘invented’ – had something going for it.

My 9 x great grandmother Anna Maria Papillon, 1668 – 1738, gave birth to ten children. Only three of those children – William, Anna Maria (my direct ancestor) and Elizabeth survived into adulthood. I don’t know how Anna Maria’s heart and mind survived. The picture depicts a memorial to her children.

I have a number of rogues on my family tree – indeed, one branch of my family were regulars at the Old Bailey – but this obituary suggests that my 9 x great grandmother Anna Maria Papillon, 1668 – 1738, was a lovely person. She offered charity to the poor and benevolence to all, and possessed a “lovely character”.

Pictured, my 10 x great grandmother Jane Brodnax, born 16 March 1627 in Godmersham, Kent. On 30 October 1651, Jane married Thomas Papillon MP in Canterbury Cathedral. The couple had eight children. The first four died young, the second four, including my ancestor Anna Maria, eighth born, survived. Jane was a great letter writer, and a number of her letters also survived. I’m looking forward to reading them 🙂

My 10 x great grandfather Thomas Papillon MP was born on 6 September 1623 in Roehampton House, Putney, London to David Papillon and Anne Marie Calandrini. Of French Protestant Huguenot origin, his family arrived in Britain as refugees. Thomas never forgot his roots and, although he later acquired great wealth, he was mindful to care for the poor.

Acrise Place, Kent, home of my 10 x great grandparents Thomas Papillon MP and Jane Brodnax. The couple purchased the house in 1666. Jane managed this property and another in Fenchurch Street while Thomas was – frequently – away on political and economic business.

I’m organising the Golden Age of Hollywood Mastodon Mega Movie Poll. Here are the results from the Second Round, Week One. Voted for by the movie lovers of Mastodon.

Citizen Kane 51% v 49% The Third Man

Bonnie and Clyde 49% v 51% A Streetcar Named Desire

Casablanca 78% v 22% The Apartment

King Kong 76% v 24% Shane

Singin’ in the Rain 72% v 28% West Side Story

The Sound of Music 41% v 59% Modern Times

Gone with the Wind 63% v 37% Wuthering Heights

Dr Strangelove 81% v 19% White Christmas

Lawrence of Arabia 93% v 7% Elmer Gantry

Clara Bow Quotes: “When the weeks turned into months and the duties of the ranch and of guiding the baby’s first steps came, I completely forgot I had ever been a movie actress, believe it or not, until a souvenir hunter came along.”

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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