A research exercise updated

Monroe Salisbury by DeGaston Studio.

Nine Vita Brevis readers took the plunge and sent in a set of complete answers to Monday’s research challenge. Thank you all for participating!

The winner had ten answers correct out of eleven; not a single person identified Monroe Salisbury (1876–1935), who played the second-billed Earl of Kerhill in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1914 western The Squaw Man.[1] Only one person correctly identified Milton Sills (1882–1930) as Gloria Swanson’s co-star in The Great Moment (1921); the general feeling among respondents was that Wallace Reid (1891–1923), who acted with Swanson in DeMille’s The Affairs of Anatol and Sam Wood’s Don’t Tell Everything (both 1921), was the man in the picture.

Kamuela C. Searle

A number of people voted for Lawson Butt (1880–1956; sometimes credited as W. Lawson Butt) in the undetermined role in DeMille’s Male and Female (1919); the correct answer was Kamuela C. Searle (1890–1924), perhaps best known for playing the title role in The Son of Tarzan (1920).

Bebe Daniels and Rudolph Valentino

A number of people had the third photo correct in all its permutations: Bebe Daniels (1901–1971; already seen in this Vita Brevis post) with Rudolph Valentino (1895–1926) in Monsieur Beaucaire (1924). Many respondents had Gloria Swanson (1899–1983) for the fourth photo, and most people recognized Jackie Cooper (1922–2011) and Thomas Meighan (1879–1936) in Meighan’s final film, Peck’s Bad Boy (1934).

Gloria Swanson and Milton Sills

The answers:

  1. a. Monroe Salisbury, b. Cecil B. DeMille, c. The Squaw Man
  2. a. Kamuela C. Searle, b. Male and Female
  3. a. Bebe Daniels, b. Rudolph Valentino (Extra credit: Monsieur Beaucaire)
  4. a. Gloria Swanson, b. Milton Sills (Extra credit: The Great Moment)
  5. a. Jackie Cooper, b. Thomas Meighan (Extra credit: Peck’s Bad Boy)
Jackie Cooper and Thomas Meighan by George Hurrell

Again, thanks to you all for taking part. As one respondent noted, it was “A great exercise to see where you are apt to fail in genealogy. Assumptions and not following through!” – and, I hope, fun as well!


[1] The popular choice was Dustin Farnum (1874–1929).

About Scott C. Steward

Scott C. Steward was the founding editor at Vita Brevis; he served as NEHGS Editor-in-Chief 2013-2022. He is the author, co-author, or editor of genealogies of the Ayer, Le Roy, Lowell, Saltonstall, Thorndike, and Winthrop families. His articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, NEXUS, New England Ancestors, American Ancestors, and The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, and he has written book reviews for the Register, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

3 thoughts on “A research exercise updated

  1. Good stuff! It keeps us all sharp and asks us to question our sources and ourselves. I look forward to more of Scott’s research exercises!

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