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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Genealogue Challenge #104

This one has me stumped. Faith Bacon was a burlesque dancer who is said to have invented the fan dance. She threw herself from a window in Chicago in 1956. I found her in the 1930 census, but the trail quickly runs cold.

What can you find out about Faith Bacon's origins?

Deb

OK. Here are some things I found that might help someone else....

1930 Manahattan Dist 389 NY NY Census
- - 305 Bacon, Faith head f w 19 s CA CA CA actress theatre
, Charm sister f w 28 s CA CA CA actress moving pictures

I'm thinking that Charm might actually be her MOTHER - see the following:

1910 Bacon, Frank m w 2? m 0 CA US US drayage own business
, Charmain wife f w 10 m1 0 CA CA PA

That's an awfully young wife, and also gives you a PA connection, which is where Faith had a ticket to when she died in 1956.

1920 Antelope Dist 1 Los Angeles CA Census
FM 56 56 Bacon, Frank P head m w 33 Dd (divorced?) CA MO CA farmer
(don't know if it's the same Frank, but looks promising, but I don't see Charmaine or Faith anywhere in the 1920)

In an ancestry database I found the following cemetery listing:
Wunders Cemetery, Chicago, IL
Dickinson, Faith Bacon
b: 1910
d: 1956

in the same cemetery listing:
Harold J Dickinson b: 1897 d: 1950

Maybe this is one of those tag team efforts.

Deb

Drew Smith

IMDb indicates that Bacon was born in Los Angeles in 1909.

An April 30, 1945 Time magazine article states that Bacon claimed to be descended from University of California founder Henry Douglas Bacon. Henry Douglas Bacon died in 1893 and had only one son, Frank Page Bacon. So far, I have not connected Faith Bacon to Frank Page Bacon.

MFraser

According to IMDB:
Date of Birth
1909, Los Angeles, California, USA
Date of Death
26 September 1956, Chicago, Illinois, USA. (suicide)

According to Girl Show: Into the Canvas World of Bump and Grind By A. W. Stencell, Bacon was destitute when she committed suicide, and her funeral was paid for by the American Guild of Variety Artists.
From The Unusual Guide to Chicago :

"FAN DANCER LEAPS TO HER DEATH- In 1930, Faith Bacon was the toast of Broadway. Her act consisted if two swirling ostrich fans and a smokey spotlight. She sometimes used flowers and bubbles. In 1933, Faith competed with Sally Rand as fan dancers at the World's Fair. Her star faded after the Fair, and by the late 1930s she was a has-been. In 1954, she tried to kill herself by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. In August of 1956, Faith came to Chicago from Erie, PA., and checked into the Alan Hotel here at 2004 Lincoln Park West.
She looked for work, but could not even find a job in the sleazy strip joints on skid row. Shortly after midnight on September 26, 1946, as a depressed Miss Bacon, 47, was walking down the stairs of the hotel between the fourth and third floors, she suddenly opened a window, and as a friend grabbed at her skirt, she tore loose and jumped out the window. Her body landed on the roof of a one-story saloon next door.
UPDATE - Besides a pair of rented fans, her effects included 85 cents and a train ticket to Erie, PA. When relatives could not be located, the American Guild of Variety Artists claimed her body and arranged for burial"


Time Magazine notes an unusual performance at a wedding here

Her obituary in the NY Times notes that she appeared in the Chicago Century of Progress exhibitions in 1933 and 1934, and also appeared at the NY World's Fair in 1939.

At the time of her death, she was estranged from her husband, Sanford Dickinson, of Buffalo. The Times article also confirms that she had been at the Alan Hotel in Chicago at the time of the time, and confirmed the burial arrangements by the AGVA.

Her burial is recorded under the name of Faith Bacon DICKINSON at the Wunders Cemetery in Chicago, according to Ancestry.

At the time of the 1930 Census , she is recorded as age 19, single, living in Manhattan,as head of household (although this appears to be a boardinghouse)and residing with her older sister Charm Bacon.
Both report themselves as actresses, and Charm works in the "moving pictures".

Meg

Well, her "sister" Charm Bacon certainly has a name that sounds like a pseudonym and doesn't appear in other censuses or records with that name (so far as I can tell). Which quite possibly means that some or all of her personal information is made up.

I did find a 1920 census record of three Bacon children in a San Jose, California Benevolent Home -- Hazel, Stanley, and Goldie. Goldie matches all of Faith Bacon's particulars except for first name... and having grown up in a Benevolent Home might explain away many of her relations. It's not a great match, but it might be worth following up on what happened to Goldie to see if she became Faith Bacon. I can't seem to make any headway in reverse.

Hazel and Stanley were also listed in the 1910 census as children of Charles and Olive Bacon. Goldie would not yet have been born.

Stanley died in CA. Hazel disappears after the 1920 census, possibly having gotten married. If so, perhaps she relocated to Erie, PA?

MFraser

the Internet Broadway database (www.ibdb.com) records her shows as follows:
Faith Bacon
Female
Performer


Productions Dates of Production
Ziegfeld Follies of 1931 [Original, Musical, Revue]
Performer: Faith Bacon ["Clinching the Sale" Performer];
Performer: Faith Bacon ["Opening" Performer];
Performer: Faith Bacon ["Tom Tom Dance" Dancer];
Performer: Faith Bacon [Whisk Broom]

Jul 1, 1931 - Nov 21, 1931
Earl Carroll's Vanities [1930] [Original, Musical, Revue]
Performer: Faith Bacon Jul 1, 1930 - Jan 3, 1931

Earl Carroll's Sketch Book [1929] [Original, Musical, Revue]
Performer: Faith Bacon [Ensemble] Jul 1, 1929 - Jun 7, 1930

Fioretta [Original, Musical, Romantic Comedy, Operetta]
Performer: Faith Bacon [Ensemble] Feb 5, 1929 - May 11, 1929

Earl Carroll's Vanities [1928] [Original, Musical, Revue]
Performer: Faith Bacon

Doogles McQuig

The Oakland Trib article after her suicide says her uncles were Thomas P. and Robert Bacon of Oakland; her great-grandfather was the late (as of 1956) Henry D. Bacon founder of the old Page-Bacon Bank in San Francisco; donor of the site for Oakland's Madison Park and a library and art gallery at the University of California. The article indicated that Miss Bacon said Henry D. Bacon was offered the portfolio of Secretary of State in President Lincoln's first cabinet. It says her grandfather was Frank Page Bacon, owner of the Bacon Block in Oakland. He apparently died in 1928. Her father was Frank Page Bacon, Jr of Pennsylvania and, according to the article, he never lived in Oakland.

MFraser

The Monday, Apr. 30, 1945 issue of Time magazine reported "Faith Bacon, ecdysiast extraordinary (she has used fans, fawns, feathers, flowers), sued the University of California for three sexy, pseudo-Grecian statues left it by Founder Henry Douglas Bacon, from whom she claims descent. Her demand: either remove the statues (which she has never seen) from storage in a University basement, or give them to her. The University decided to give. Weight of the overwhelming gift: nine tons."

It doesn't give a timeframe for this, but reads as though it's recent, which is still consistent with a reported death in 1956. (I think I mistyped as 1936 in the previous message.)

Character Studies: Encounters with the Curiously Obsessed By Mark Singer, references a book about Billy Rose's theatre which mentions a woman in the 1930s (Faith Bacon) who swung nude from a cross to the music of Ravel's Bolero.

Doogles McQuig

The Trib article sorta lied, maybe ... the two Frank P Bacons are living together in Oakland in 1900. Faith's father was born in California in 1886; his father in Missouri.

Doogles McQuig

The 1920 Frank Bacon that Deb noted in LA, 33 year old widow, born CA with father born in Missouri matches to be Faith's father. So who had Faith in 1920? Maybe one of the uncles.

Chris

The California Death Index shows a Robert Hereford Bacon and Thomas Pinkerton Bacon who may be Faith's uncles. Both died in Alameda County.

Chris

This is cool. Faith's estranged husband, Sanford Dickinson, was apparently the "Music Consultant" for Glen or Glenda—the perfectly awful film directed by Ed Wood.

Doogles McQuig

Faith's grandfather, Frank P Bacon died 1928 in LA. His obit says he was husband of Emily F Bacon; father of Henry D, William F, Joseph C, Thomas P, Robert H, and Frank P Bacon, Mrs. Julia Marriott, and Mrs William P. Kessel. So there are all Faith's aunts and uncles if anyone wants to hunt in the 1920 census.

NevadaGenealogist

I am not sure if or how this fits but interesting.
From the book:
A loving memoir of Beatrice Ayer Patton (1886-1953), the wife of one of the greatest military figures in history, General George S. Patton, Jr. Written by the Pattons' daughter, Ruth Ellen, the book covers Beatrice's life...

page 333, "Sometimes he had cheerful things to write about, and he often sent Ma clippings and other enclosures. The best one of these was a long letter with several shiny publicity photographs of the notorious striptease artist Faith Bacon. She wrote Georgie that he was her favorite general, and that she hoped she was his favorite artiste. She wrote that, in addition to admiring him very much, she wanted him to know that he was also her cousin, and she included a photocopy of her Colonial Dames papers, which traced her ancestry to a cousin of his grandmother, Margaret Hereford Wilson."

Chris

That accounts for her uncle's middle name, Hereford. It also suggests that Faith was a stripteasing genealogist.

Chris

Here's the Hereford connection. According to the IGI, Frank Page Bacon, Sr., married Mary Minerva Cooper, daughter of Isaac Jones and Mary Catherine (Hereford) Cooper. Mary Minerva Cooper and her (apparently) widowed mother were living in the same Los Angeles household as George Patton's grandmother, Margaret Hereford Wilson, in 1860.

Craig Manson

The Hammond Times, Hamond-East Cgicago, Ill., Sept 26, 1956:

HEADLINE:FAN DANCER IS INJURED IN HOTEL PLUNGE, p. 1.

"She claimed to be descended from Peregrine White, first child born on the Mayflower, and said her great-grandfather was Daniel Dearborn Page, second mayor of St Louis."

That may explain the "Page" names that turn up in several sources (or not!).

Chris

You're absolutely right, Craig. Her great-grandfather, Henry Douglas Bacon, was married to Julia Ann Page, daughter of Daniel Dearborn Page. Bacon and Page were business partners, as detailed here.

Chris

The search continues here.

LittleB

A relative's father, Robert Hereford Bacon of Oakland was Faith Bacon's cousin, not uncle. She stayed with his family in the late 1940's while down on her luck, It's true her great grandfather was Henry Douglas Bacon and one of his sons was Frank Page Bacon. Faith was a descendent, along with rest of this Bacon family of Peregrine White of Mayflower fame. The article about three Bacon Children in a S.J. Benevelent Home has nothing to do with this Bacon line, neither do Charles & Olive. Frank Page Bacon, probably while working on his father's Marengo ranch in Southern Calif. met and married Mary Minerva Cooper, usually referred to as Mamie who was a cousin of George Patton. Stories of Thomas P. Bacon and George Patton riding through the citrus groves on their horses and hacking fruit off the trees with their swords is often told. It seems Doogles McQueg's notes are quite accurate. And the beat goes on...

spestate6

My mom was a genealogist when it wasn't cool, documenting and hording family letters, etc. Here is the direct lineage to Faith: Henry Douglass Bacon (m. Julia Ann Page 5/2/1844) -> Frank Page Bacon (m. Mary Minerva Cooper 12/24/1874) -> Frank Page Bacon (jr.) (m. ___ ) -> one child "Faith". Hope this helps... William R. Bacon

Lance Frederiksen

Frances Yvonne "Faith" Bacon was my mother's first cousin. I've spent hours and hours trying to track down the particulars of her life, but have been frustrated by misinformation (some of which was probably provided by Faith).

If anyone has definitive information regarding her marriages (Fenton Perkins or Sandford Hunt Dickinson), I would love to see that. Also, it's been extremely difficult to find information regarding her father (Francis "Frank" Page Bacon, Jr.) or her mother (Charmion Cerry Hayes), who may have assumed the identify of Faith's sister.

Lance Frederiksen

Lance Frederiksen

Frances Yvonne "Faith" Bacon was my mother's first cousin. It's been extremely frustrating confirming certain information regarding her two husbands (Fenton Perkins and Sandford Hunt Dickinson), her mother (Charmion Cerry Hayes), and her father (Francis "Frank" Page Bacon, Jr.).

I suspect some of the problems were due to Faith's own dealings with the press and, perhaps, "Charm's" desire to underrepresent her age in order to start her own acting career.

Any information would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Lance Frederiksen

Bill Bacon

I did not know about "Fenton Perkins" marriage. Do you have a source on that? I suggest you search the various newspaper articles on Faith. In some instances she was interviewed. I did a search on the Ancestry newspapers about two years ago and got some interesting comments she made. But her childhood and adolescence is almost nil. One tantalizing reference was her being with her mother on ship to France when about 13 or so. Mother under a last name of Miller, apparently recently married and going to France for a period. In one of her interviews, she refers to studying medicine at earlier age. Perhaps she was in school over in France, but that is quite a young age. I still feel some local newspaper where she did her gig and hopefully in an interview will provide some additional information on her life and dreams. That would probably be our best bet! ... Bill Bacon

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