Throwback Thursday: The Ginnivan Dramatic Co. in the John Martin Smith Collection

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.

Main Entrance

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.”

Lenox Hotel

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


About Jenny

I am the Associate Director of Eckhart Public Library. My office is in the Administrative Annex, but I can often be found roaming the Eckhart Public Library Campus, performing acts of librarianship in every department! I love to read and learn about history. I'm also a huge fan of movies, TV and pop culture in general, and I love to read books of all types. Currently, I'm working my way around the romance section, with some historical fiction and graphic novels thrown in for variety! But you never know what I'm going to pick up next.
This entry was posted in Throwback Thursday, What's Up At Willennar. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Throwback Thursday: The Ginnivan Dramatic Co. in the John Martin Smith Collection

  1. Pingback: It’s Time For The Fair: Let Us Entertain You! | Charlie Chat

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s