Greenville sleuths solve the mystery of the majorettes

Posted Nov. 24, 2010, at 11:14 p.m.

Old photographs without words written on the back to inform us of what’s going on still have a way of speaking. But what they reveal is always open to interpretation. Sometimes that interpretation is a tad off, as I discovered with the photograph of the mystery majorettes that ran in the Oct. 12 edition of the Bangor Daily News.

The photo, and the questions and interpretations it brought, came to me from my cousin Delores Harris of Greenville, who found the photo among her late mother’s possessions. She surmised that the photo was of Greenville majorettes and that the photo was taken in Greenville. That was correct. However, a few people who called or e-mailed regarding the photo thought it was taken in Dexter. This was a natural confusion having to do with the Whitney and Sons sign in the background of the photo. That company had a branch by the same name in Dexter.

I surmised that the photo was taken between the years 1959 and 1963. That was incorrect.

With help from various Greenville folk, at least one librarian and several old high school yearbooks, the names of the four majorettes and the approximate year the photo was taken has been determined.

The photo was taken circa 1952-1954. The names of the baton twirlers are Muriel Linnehan, Patricia Ford, Jean Dennison and Amelia Crossman. Ford and Dennison are deceased.

My cousin said that she and others in Greenville had a lot of fun trying to figure out who the mystery majorettes were. She said it made for lively conversation in the local coffee shop and in the aisles of the grocery store.

Efforts have been made to locate the surviving majorettes and the families of the others. A copy of the photo will be sent to them.

The photo also prompted University of Maine majorettes Sarah Clark, Brandy Chadbourne, Meagan Sawyer and Megan Williams to conduct research on when the university last included majorettes in the band and who those twirlers were, said Andrea Fletcher, UMaine majorette instructor and director and coach, Central Maine Twirling Corps.

Using old UMaine yearbooks, the first majorettes the students were able to trace were in 1964. Fletcher said research is still in progress.

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