Clara Bow Ancestry

To understand Clara Bow we need to appreciate her roots. Her mother, Sarah Gordon, was born on 19 April 1879 in Brooklyn. Her mother was Sarah Grace Hatton. Her father, Frederick, was a florist. No birth record for Sarah survives. Her birth date is derived from other records.

Sarah Gordon (colourised)

In 1880, Clara’s mother, Sarah Gordon, aged one, was living in Kings, Brooklyn, New York. Her full address was State Street (pictured, Wikipedia), House Number 220, Dwelling Number 31. She shared the house with her father, Frederick, and her mother, also Sarah, plus two older brothers, Frederick and Harry. Frederick Sr was from Missouri, his wife Sarah from England.

Frederick sold flowers while his neighbours had a range of professions, including dressmaker, clerk, livery stableman, coachman, grocer, and a manufacturer of ladies underwear. Also, a theatrical agent, John Hooley, lived in the street. Did Hooley and his theatrical family have any influence on Sarah? And did that influence impact on Sarah’s negative attitude towards Clara’s acting ambitious? It’s tempting to think that it did.

1920s – 1960s