The Burgum family history society is a member of the Guild of one name studies and researches the names

Can You Help? (Solved!)

Sometimes family history research can throw up as many questions as it does answers. Listed here are a number of mysteries that have yet to be solved. My challenge to you is this: Can you solve any of the questions listed below?

Who is Mary Burgum?
Mary Burgum is pictured here giving an award to David O. Selznick (1902-1965) who was a famous American film producer and studio executive.
Selznick is probably best known for producing Gone with the Wind in 1939, which won him an Academy Award for Best Picture. He was also instumental in bringing Alfred Hitchcock to Hollywood and was rewarded with his second Best Picture Oscar in 1940 for Rebecca.

The award Mary Burgum is presenting reads -
" Modern Screen Award for Exceptional Merit. To the Metro Goldwyn Mayer Production DAVID COPPERFIELD. This award for exception marit is presented bt Modern Screen. This magnificent artistic achievement has brought critical acclaim and heart-warming pleasure to millions."

The photographs were taken in 1935.

The picture on the left shows them both holding the award. Others in the photo are Basil Rathbone, Freddie Bartholomew, Una O'Connor, Mary Burgum, Elizabeth Allan, Jessie Ralph, Ivan Simpson and, in the back, John Buckler. The award was presented at a reception given for the occasion and the picture was taken by Culver Pictures Inc. (Both pictures are signed by Mr Selznick).
But who was Mary Burgum?

We know she was editor of the magazine "Modern Screen". At one time it claimed to have the largest circulation of any screen magazine in the world! The picture on the front features Asta and Myrna Loy.

The magazine Modern Screen began publication in 1930 and continued until its demise in 1983. This edition shown on the right was from September 1939 and included an article by Mary Burgum on the British born actor Arthur Treacher.

(Treacher was an Englishman who played in numerous movies and TV programs, often playing the perfect butler. He was a regular guest on the Merv Griffin Show).

The Answer!
Walter has written to me (September 2018) to say Mary Burgum was his paternal grandmother, birth name Sybil Mary Burgum, daughter of Ernst and Sarah Burgum, nee Biddle. She was born in New Rochelle, New York in October of 1904 and graduated from Barnard College with a double major in English and Classics in 1905. She live in New York City from her college years up through her marriage to my grandfather, James Marshall Mayes in August of 1934.

Mary Burgum worked for several publishers in the 1920s, including G. Schirmer, Inc., publisher of sheet music, a job she secured because she was a trained musician and an excellent pianist. She started working for George Delacorte in around 1930, starting in secretarial and copy editing positions, becoming Associate Editor of Radio Stars magazine in about 1932. She become the first female editor of Modern Screen in 1934, a position she continued until the birth of her first child, a daughter, in 1935.
This picture shows Mary Burgum having lunch at The Brown Derby in Hollywood, CA in 1935. Gloria Swanson is at left; Jeanette MacDonald is at right. This was Mary’s last trip to the West Coast for Modern Screen, as she was six months pregnant with her first child. She was a stay-at-home parent for the entirety of her childrens’ youth, but wrote articles, wrote and produced a weekly radio show, and accompanied the local Gilbert & Sullivan troupe on the piano.

She and Walter's grandfather, James Marshall Mayes (known as Marshall) raised their two children, (names withheld) one of which is Walter's father. Mary went back to work from 1961 to 1966 as a secretary at General Electric. Mary died in 1983 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery next to her husband Marshall, who predeceased her by 21 years.