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Margaret Morris: Ziegfeld Follies & Midnight Frolic Star_Betty (daydreamnworld)
by jane for group historicalziegfeld Dec 4, 2008
Thanks so much to Betty for these wonderful photos and other memorabilia (including signed photos and postcards from her Broadway friends) left by Margaret... and more to come :) Not many leave anything behind or if they do it's all lost to time or sold off.
I have another album from Betty up that is a rare photoshoot from the Midnight Frolic of 1916 with May Leslie along with the Rotogravure the photos were taken for.
I asked Betty if she would write a bit about Margaret and her memories of her and she kindly did. It's my pleasure to know Betty and to have gotten to know about Margaret through her.
Here is Betty's story about her great aunt Margaret Morris:
"I grew up knowing that my great aunt, Margaret Morris had been a member of the Ziegfeld Follies. Family lore had her discovered by Florence Ziegfeld while dancing on a street corner in New York City. From time to time my mother or grandfather would talk about Margaret’s Ziegfeld career, but we did not have a lot of contact with Aunt Margaret while I was growing up.
Margaret was born on September 18, 1888 in New York City. She was the oldest of four children. My grandfather, John was born in 1890, Joseph was born in 1892, and Francis (Frank) was born in 1898. There was also another child born in 1894 that lived with them for a while, but was never legally adopted. His name was William O’Conner and I believe the four Morris children considered him another brother.
For reasons I’ll never understand, my grandfather and his siblings were not very close after my grandfather married my grandmother. According to my mother, the Morris family did not approve of him converting from Catholicism to Lutheran when he married her. I’ve never been totally convinced of this explanation, but for whatever the reason I don’t believe there were good vibes between my grandmother and the Morris clan.
My mother was Margaret’s only niece and Margaret was very fond of her. Mom would tell me that during her early childhood Margaret was making very good money and talked of paying for my mother’s college education someday. Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last. After her Ziegfeld career came to an end she worked as a wardrobe mistress on Broadway and it would appear she struggled financially.
According to my mother Margaret was married for a short time during her childhood, but I have found no documentation. Her brother Francis was also married for a short time, but his wife died. As long as I can remember Aunt Margaret and Uncle Frank shared an apartment in New York City.
As a young child during the 1950’s I remember Aunt Margaret and Uncle Frank coming out to NJ to visit us. I have a vivid memory of Aunt Margaret’s kind smile. I knew she was happy to see us. What I’ll always remember is how much larger her one arm was than the other. It must have been three times as big and as a small child I was fascinated. It was only when I was older that I learned she has battled breast cancer and the larger arm was an after affect of the surgery.
Margaret died on June 7, 1966. She had been a member of the Ziegfeld Club and some of the other members signed the condolence book at the Frank Campbell Funeral Home in New York City. She is buried at Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York.
After Uncle Frank died my mother was given Margaret’s possessions. There wasn’t much. I am now in possession of her photo album and I’ve been scanning the pictures of her fellow Ziegfeld performers for Jane. After I finish I’m going to see if the Ziegfeld Club would be interested in having the originals for their collection. I also have Margaret’s fur trimmed coat which my mother had saved. It’s a beautiful coat with her initials monogrammed on the inside. I don’t know why I’m keeping it, but since it was important enough for my mother to want to keep it I thought I should too. I also have Margaret’s silver monogrammed dresser set from Tiffany’s which she must have acquired during her successful Ziegfeld days and decided to keep. I don’t know why, but keeping these things helps bring me closer to her. I’ve always been the unofficial family historian and pack rat.
I was very pleased to find Jane’s website. I didn’t realize anyone besides me was still interested in the Ziegfeld Follies and I’m thrilled that Margaret will now have an online presence. Jane has been a wonderful source of information and I feel like I’m finally getting to know Margaret better. My hope is that the lady with the kind smile that I knew as Aunt Margaret will long be remembered. Thanks Jane."
Thank YOU so much, Betty!
In this album:
Elphye Snowden, Florence Cripps, Kay Laurell, Louise Meyers, Margaret Morris, Vera Michelena.
- 1914 Queen of the Movies PostCard (Margaret center top row, Betty)
- 1916 - midnight frolic - girls at practice - NY Tribune 01-23
- Elphye Snowden Postcard - Little Nemo 1908-1909 (Betty)
- Fishing 01 - Midnight Frolic - by White Studios
- Fishing 01a - Midnight Frolic - by White Studios
- Fishing 02 - Midnight Frolic - by White Studios
- Fishing 02a - Midnight Frolic - by White Studios
- Louise Meyers 1914 - by Moffett Studios (Betty)
- Margaret Morris & Other Ziegfeld, Broadway Beauties - Washington Post 05-26-1914
- Margaret Morris - H J Hollen Studios (Betty)
- Margaret Morris - Midnight Frolic of 1915 01 - by White Studios
- Margaret Morris - Midnight Frolic of 1915 02 - by White Studios
- Margaret Morris - Modeling Ad (Betty)
- Margaret Morris - Newspaper Clipping 'The Maid of the Mountains' 1918 (Betty)
- Margaret Morris - Newspaper Clipping 01 (Betty)