Dear Reader

Dear Reader #179

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s eighteenth movie was Eve’s Lover, produced during the early months of 1925 and released on 6 July, 1925. Clara played Rena D’Arcy. This was one of Clara’s ‘loan-out’ movies. She was not the lead actress in this movie, yet her image featured on the lobby cards. Another example of how Clara upstaged everyone, regardless of her status in any given movie.


Born this week, 3 February 1813, in Margam, Wales, my 3 x great grandmother Ann David. Out of wedlock, Ann gave birth to a son, Evan Lewis. In 1847, Ann married a widower, David Jones and they produced two daughters, Mary and Ann. Mary died, aged 70, in an asylum, while Ann married my 2 x great grandfather, William Howe. In the 1880s, their son, and my great grandfather, William Howe acknowledged Evan Lewis as a member of the family by recording his name in the family Bible, pictured.

From ‘Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania’, mention of my 9 x great grandmother Barbara Aubrey (1637 – 1710) and her connection, through the Herberts, to the nobility and royalty.

Cowbridge, Wales, 1835 a little after my 9 x great grandmother Barbara Aubrey’s time, but I’m sure this landscape would have been familiar to her.

Philadelphia Quaker Monthly Meeting Records, c1730. 

The opening paragraphs pay tribute to my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan while the remainder of the page is the first part of the transcription of his diary. John explains how he converted to Quakerism while the introduction states: “John Bevan…a good man…having deserved to have his name transmitted to posterity for his holy life and conversation.”

John inherited a “considerable estate”. However, his brothers were unprovided for. When he came of age, John portioned his land and gave his brothers “a helpful subsistence in this world”.

The second page of the Philadelphia Quaker Monthly Meeting Records, c1730, details how my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan was excommunicated for his Quaker beliefs, how his wife Barbara “who sincerely loved her husband” gave the priest a “piece of her mind”, and how John’s friends were arrested at his house and imprisoned for fourteen weeks for their Quaker beliefs.

My latest article for the Seaside News, about Mary Pickford, appears on page 35 of the magazine.

Clara Bow Quotes: “When I was approached on the matter of paying money to keep statements about me from appearing in print, I was dumbfounded. What in the world could be said about me that already had not been printed? I had done nothing. I knew the statements to be entire fabrications. But what could I do? There was only one thing I could do and retain my self-respect. That was – fight.”

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #178

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s seventeenth movie was My Lady’s Lips, a silent drama released on July 1, 1925, that starred Alyce Mills. The film also featured William Powell, later to achieve fame in the Thin Man series, in his tenth movie role. Clara played Lola Lombard, the daughter of a newspaper magnet. Despite their overlapping careers, Clara and William Powell only worked on two movies together. 

At this stage of her career, Clara was making cheap films at a hectic schedule, often completing the production within two weeks. Vacillating between the flirtatious and the vulnerable, she was used by people in the film industry, and she used some of those people to get her way. 

From the slums of Brooklyn and burdened with low self-esteem, Clara Bow was a complex person, and all those complexities were on display during this phase of her life.

An early photograph of Mary Pickford. For twenty-three years she was the undisputed “Queen of the Screen”. For fourteen of those years she was the most popular woman in the world.

Although Mary was signed to Adolph Zuker’s Paramount, other studios bid for her services. Zucker couldn’t match their offers, so he invited Mary to rest for five years, on a salary of $52,000 per annum. Mary refused. Instead, she made movies for $675,000 per annum.

This ethereal image depicts Mary Pickford’s (centre) first appearance before a movie camera, on April 20, 1909, aged seventeen. The production was a short – Her First Biscuits. This was one of seven shorts Mary filmed in three and a half weeks. Listed number sixteen out of sixteen actors, she played ‘Biscuit Victim’. 

Another ‘Biscuit Victim’ was Owen Moore, a regular co-star during this period. In due course, Moore became Mary Pickford’s first husband.

The ‘Big Four’ in 1919 at the time of the formation of United Artists – Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, director D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks. Chaplin was a regular visitor to the Pickford-Fairbanks mansion, ‘Pickfair’. Chaplin and Mary Pickford were the big earners of the era. When one secured a more favourable contract, the other demanded one too.

My 9 x great grandfather John Bevan was mentioned in ‘Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania’, published 1911. This entry suggests that John was descended from the Last Prince of Glamorgan, and Edward III of England. It also suggests that he lived in Pennsylvania for twenty years.

‘North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000’ mentions my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan and his daughter Elizabeth in relation to a Samuel Richardson, in that Elizabeth married Samuel’s only son, Joseph, in 1696. The entry also mentions slave ownership and Samuel’s wardrobe. Many Quakers were anti-slavery, and from other entries I believe this was John Bevan’s stance. John gifted Elizabeth £200 for the marriage, the equivalent of £24,000 today.

A grainy, but important image, a page from the Pennsylvania Quaker Meeting Records, which recorded my 9 x great grandfather John Bevan, his wife Barbara, and their ‘tender’ family’s arrival in Pennsylvania, 1683.

This entry in ‘The History of Bucks County’ mentions my 9 x great grandparents John Bevan and Barbara Aubrey. It also mentions their daughter, Elizabeth, and Barbara’s ancestors. The entry describes John as a ‘man of considerable wealth, a friend of William Penn, a preacher of great influence, and a judge at the County Court of Philadelphia.’

Clara Bow Quotes: “With my mental attitude in this condition came rumblings. If I had only been able to foresee the results! I would have given anything gladly to have avoided such events but, as usual, with my trusting nature, I could not see the danger signals.

Talk travels rapidly in Hollywood, and before it gets very far the original comment has been distorted and twisted to suit the taste of the gossiper. Rumours, ugly rumours, began to spring up about me.”

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

For Authors

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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #177

Dear Reader,

Clara Bow’s sixteenth movie was Capital Punishment, produced in December 1924 and released on February 1, 1925. Clara Bow played Delia Tate, the witness to a murder.

The storyline for Capital Punishment was devised by Clara’s producer, B.P. Schulberg. It centred on a man condemned to die for a murder he did not commit. However, Clara saves the day and identifies the real murderer.

The New York Times published a scathing review of Capital Punishment. Nevertheless, the picture gave Clara her biggest break since her seventh movie, Black Oxen.

Over the past few days I’ve watched Clara Bow in It and Mary Pickford in Secrets. Mary wanted Clara to appear in Secrets, but it didn’t happen. At that time, Mary offered this insightful comment about Clara: “She is a very great actress and her only trouble has been that she hasn’t known enough about life to live it the way she wanted to live it.”

Betty Blythe (September 1, 1893 – April 7, 1972) appeared in 63 silent films and 56 talkies over the course of her career. She excelled in exotic roles – in The Queen of Sheba, 1921, she wore nothing above her waist except a string of beads.

In 1919 Betty married movie director Paul Scardon. The couple remained married until his death in 1954. Apparently, Betty made $3,500,000 when she sold a section of land that is now part of the Sunset Strip. However, she lost her fortune in the 1929 stock market crash.

This Week’s Family History Anniversaries

On 15 January 1842 my 3 x great grandmother Mary Hopkin gave birth to Thomas Reynolds, out of wedlock. Thomas’ father, also Thomas, died in 1845. He did not marry Mary.

On 24 August 1850 Mary married my 3 x great grandfather William Howe. The couple had four children. Thomas Reynolds lived with the family until adulthood when he found work on the local farms.

Later, William and Mary gave a home to Thomas’ son, Edward, after Thomas’ wife died. And they took in an orphan, Anne Price, after her parents, local shopkeepers, died. 

Mary used to walk fifteen miles to the local markets to sell bonnets. Her friend, Mary Francis, who walked with her to the markets, achieved great fame and attracted newspaper articles when she died at the remarkable age of 110.

My ancestor Mary Jones died on 19 January 1919. She died in an asylum. On 5 June 1879, Mary gave birth to her fourth daughter, Esther. On 19 May 1880, aged 29, Mary entered Angelton Asylum, pictured. Later, she was transferred to Parc Gwyllt. She never left that asylum. I have a full copy of Mary’s medical record. Victorian asylums were grim places. Her record makes for grim reading. 

Mary’s medical record states that, ‘She says she has committed a sin against the Almighty for which she will not be forgiven. And that she is eternally lost and that I (the doctor) have sold her to the Devil.’ In September 1880, she stated that she had ‘done something seriously wrong.’ 

A medical note dated 12 December 1883 is potentially revealing. ‘This woman is rather reserved. Her memory is deficient and her morals have apparently been loose.’ Could this imply that Thomas, her husband, was not Esther’s father?

On Christmas Eve 1886, Mary stated that she had been in Heaven and that it was a room with glass walls, which housed Jesus. 

In August 1908, Mary imagined that she was married to Samuel Butler, 4 December 1835 – 18 June 1902, author of the semi-autobiographical novel, The Way of All Flesh, a book that attacked Victorian hypocrisy. 

Was Mary’s sin real or imagined? I’m inclined to believe that it was real and that, after depression and poor physical health following the birth of Esther, it triggered a psychotic reaction.

And what of Esther? As a young adult she worked as a servant, caring for a young man who was mentally ill.

Died on 20 January 1866, my 4 x great grandfather William Stokes. William was a ‘corn meter’. Corn meters had the exclusive right of measuring all corn delivered within the city and port of London. They were the link between the cargo ships and the markets.

🖼 William’s workplace, the Customs House on the Thames.

William married Jane Esther Axe, an impressive lady who took an active interest in the family’s financial and legal affairs. William and Jane posted their marriage banns in April and May 1835. However, something cropped up because they cancelled the marriage and posted the banns again in August and September. They married on 20 September 1835 and produced four children.


Died on 21 January 1886, aged 27, my ancestor Mary Ann Howe. At the time, Mary Ann was with her brother, Hopkin, a Methodist minister. They were visiting a newly refurbished chapel.

Mary Ann’s first language was Welsh. However, I have a letter written by her in English. 

South Corneli, October 3, 1877

Dear Cousin,

I have taken the pleasure of writing these few lines to you in hopes to find you well as I am at present. Dear Cousin I could understand in Mary David’s letter the note you sent me that you was greatly offended to me and I don’t know the cause of you being so offended to me unless it is the cause of not sending your hat. The reason I did not send it because you told me you was coming to the tea party. You said that nothing would not keep you from not coming and I have not had no chance of sending it after unless I send it by train. Please write and let me know for what you are offended to me for. I am very uneasy ever since I did receive the note and I do think you don’t care much about me ever since you went away. I do only wish for you to write to me to tell me the reason by return.

So no more at present. From your cousin,

Mary Ann Howe


I’m trying to make sense of my ancestors’ connection with Pennsylvania. Starting with my 9 x great grandparents John Bevan and Barbara Aubrey, here are the basic facts.

John Bevan 

Born 1646, Treferig, Llantrisant, Glamorgan, Wales

Parents: Evan ap John and Jane ferch Richard

Both descended from the nobility 

Married 1665 Llantrisant, Glamorgan, Wales 

Died 1726, Treferig, Llantrisant, Glamorgan, Wales

Barbara Catherine Aubrey 

Born 1637, Pencoed, Glamorgan, Wales 

Parents: William Richard Aubrey and Elizabeth Thomas 

Both descended from the nobility 

Married 1665 Llantrisant, Glamorgan, Wales 

Died 26 January 1710, Treferig, Llantrisant, Glamorgan, Wales

Children Jane Bevan married John Wood

Evan Bevan married Eleanor Wood (my 8 x great grandparents)

Ann Bevan married Owen Roberts

Elizabeth Bevan married Joseph Richardson 

Barbara Bevan

Ann Bevan (born and died 1666)

Katherine Bevan 1675-1683

I’m hoping to learn more about my ancestors’ lives before they travelled to Pennsylvania, their lives in Pennsylvania, and why they eventually returned to Wales.

More details as my research unfolds.

Clara Bow Quotes: “Don’t think for a moment I was ungrateful. I know full well what Hollywood has done for me. I appreciate this to the utmost. But, after all, I paid for everything. If not with money, which I earned myself, then with heartaches. I was brittle in the Hollywood sense of the word. I was not able to shake off that sensitiveness of my early childhood. I never shall be able to shake it off. And it ground deeply into my soul when hurt.”

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.

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Dear Reader

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

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 🙂

Dear Reader

Dear Reader #171

Dear Reader,

A landmark for my Sam Smith mystery Sam’s Song, this week the book received its 1,000th review 🙂

The Portuguese version of our Hollywood magazine.

Clara Bow’s tenth movie was Helen’s Babies, a silent comedy based on an 1876 novel by John Habberton. Clara played Alice Mayton. The movie was produced during the spring of 1924 and released on October 24, 1924. 

At this stage of Clara’s career, producer B.P. Schulberg was loaning her out to various studios. She would play one part in the morning, another in the afternoon. Consequently, her hairstyle and hair colour would change continuously, sometimes during the course of one day.

In 1924, aged nineteen, Clara was renting a three-bedroomed house on Hollywood Boulevard. Her boyfriend, cameraman Artie Jacobson, lived with her, along with her father who had moved from Brooklyn. Jacobson was a steadying influence on Clara’s life. Her father, however…that, as they say, is another story…

Welcome to Mom’s Favorite Reads 106 page bumper Christmas and fiftieth issue!

In this month’s issue of our #1 ranked magazine…

Interview with Orna Ross, founder of ALLI. Plus, Author Features, Health, Nature, Photography, Poetry, Short Stories, Young Writers, Nature Photography Day, and so much more!

Available to read FREE here 👇

Eileen Sedgwick in The Terror Trail, a 1921 serial. The foreground is actually a film set while the background is downtown Los Angeles.

Clara Bow Quotes: “My advice for a girl trying to make good in Hollywood…Destroy the illusion from the start. Hollywood is no fairyland. Success comes to those with talent and ability who are willing to face hard work, to make such sacrifices as are demanded.

Take good advice and ignore bad, but be sure you are able to differentiate between the two. Don’t let your feelings run away with your good judgement. When you realise you are wrong, admit it. When you know you are right, FIGHT! Be yourself at any cost.”

Intertitle #11

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 35 occasions.

A special offer from my publisher and the Fussy Librarian.

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