Wm. V. R. Smith III
Bill--Thanks so much for sending me that gorgeous color picture of Beatrice; in partial response to your generosity, I have attached hereto a portion of my research on Beatrice and your family. The first few items involve the OTHER Beatrice Roberts, who married Robert Ripley. You will note in one of the later items attached from 1947 that Ripley actually DID acknowledge his earlier marriage to the Massachusetts beauty contest winner, it's just not your grandmother that he was married to--although decades of journalist missed that fact!
I also included the 1910 and 1920 census listings for Beatrice and her mother-even perhaps her father, George Roberts of Louisiana. Something may have happened to that relationship around this time, because Beatrice Nigro, your great-grandmother, was also listed with her family in that same census year--but apparently without her daughter. You will note that Beatrice Roberts is listed as being 2 years old; since that was supposed to be measured by the census enumerator as of June 1, 1910, and your grandmother was born, as I recall, in August, that would put her year of birth in 1907. The 1920 census shows Beatrice and her mother with the Nigros, and your great-grandmother with the surname Sanders.
After that, I have included a large number of articles concerning your grandmother's beauty pageant involvement--and I have also included a set of 3 articles on good grooming, makeup, etc. which I have concluded were written by your grandmother. I also have included items mentioning some of the shows and the Ziegfeld performance in which she was involved.
The items from the early to mid-1930's unfortunately deal with your grandfather's involvement with Nancy Carroll and Marion Douglas, and the announcement by Beatrice of her intention to obtain a divorce. There is a passenger manifest from early 1936 that shows Beatrice, her mother, and Louis B. Mayer sailed to Panama! There are also some nice reviews of her work in films and a mention of her being given a contract by Universal Studios in early 1941. I hope that you enjoy these items,and I wish you a Merry Christmas from me and my family-- and thanks,I have extra cachet with my son and daughter now that I told them that I have contacted you--they know of Beatrice from my research and have seen her in some of the movies that I have acquired, so being in contact with you strikes them as very cool indeed! Let me know if I can be of any further help, and I will certainly appreciate any more that you can tell me!
Scott P. Gallinghouse
First American Title Insurance Company of Louisiana
A Member of the First American Financial Corporation