Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!
The John Martin Smith Collection contains a variety of items from DeKalb County history. Today let’s look at a snippet from Ashley’s past: the Ginnivan Dramatic Company.
From 1897-1942, the Ginnivan Dramatic Company put on theatrical performances throughout the Midwest. According to John Martin Smith, “The Ginnivan family was the core of the troupe, but other actors and actresses were also hired. . . . They usually stayed two or three days at each location and presented different performances every night.”
The troupe headquartered in Ashley, Indiana, and occasionally “wintered” at the Lenox Hotel there.
The company was very popular. A 1922 issue of The Billboard says “not a single adverse criticism has been heard from any quarter regarding any play in [their] repertoire. The members have received numerous compliments on their personal conduct on and off the stage.” At one performance, a minister stood up during intermission, complimented the troupe, and asked everyone who wanted them to return to stand. Every man, woman, and child present stood and applauded—there were approximately one thousand people in the tent.
Check out more from Ashley’s history in the John Martin Smith Collection by clicking here and searching “JMS” and “Ashley.”
-Written by Genealogy Intern Chelsea