Unable to afford to live in the city (some things never changed) she lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was the early 1900’s then, so, similar to my Gatsby-inspired visions of Elizabeth’s existence, I’ve allowed A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to paint a picture of how Mary lived, when in actuality it probably wasn’t even close. I highly doubt Mary was neighbors with Francie Nolan.
In 1907, inspired by the Folies Bergères of Paris, Florenz Ziegfeld created the legendary stage series known as The Ziegfeld Follies here in New York City. The Follies was an over-the-top Broadway production that ran until 1931 and was performed at the Jardin de Paris Theatre on 1514 Broadway at 44th street.
Whether it was luck, talent or beauty, my great-grandmother was a Ziegfeld Girl by 1909. Yes, she was living the dream of being a dancer, but it’s not as though anyone knew the names of the Ziegfeld Girls. They were stunning backdrops to some of the top performers of the time like W.C. Fields and Josephine Baker, but it’s not as though they were much more than pretty young things in sequins. Can you name a Rockette?
Honestly, Mary, who may or may not have used a stage name, is sadly no one anyone is probably even going to find on Google just like so many of those other “Girls” with whom she shared both their dreams and the nightly stage. Sure, some made it big, but most of them did their time, got too old to dance then moved on to something else.