Did Maxine Doyle lie about her age?

By John Doyle Witney, her son— Posted 03/04/2013, updated 04/14/2013

So when was Maxine Doyle actually born?

Well---this question came to the fore during a recent family get-together. Three of my cousins, who are older and wiser, have all told me that the 1915 birth date on Mom's web page is wrong and that she was actually born in 1912.   Further research and memory of a conversation with Dad in which he said “your mother lied about her age” has led me to wonder if perhaps she really was born in 1912.

Here's what I know so far:-

 *  No official birth certificate can be found in the family archive.

 *  I have an official Certificate of Baptism stating that she was born on January 1st 1912.  It also gives her middle name as Rose.  I've also come across another family document, which is a typed, sworn statement by Laura M. Doyle (mother), dated September 1942 and signed by M.D. Frank Petrie stating that she was born on January 1,1915.

 *  A year book from the 'Girls High School'  she attended in San Francisco indicates that she was a freshman in December 1925.  If she was born in 1912, this would put her at 13 or 14 years old.

 *  My cousin, Gary Green, swears up and down that there was a  7 year age difference between Maxine and her older sister, Bernice (Gary's mother). We know for a fact the Bernice Doyle was born in 1905.

*  A news article dated September 1933 (see Maxine’s article page) gives various ages.  One reports that she was a minor in 1933, when she signed a contract with Charles R Rogers Co. and had to appear before Superior Court Judge Shaw for permission to work.  Other articles cite her age as being anywhere between 17 and 20.  We do know that she took over the role of Mistress of Ceremonies at the Earl Theater in 1930.  If she was born in 1912 that would put her at 18.  If born in 1915 she would only have been 15.

So that's another bit of trivia for fans of Maxine Doyle - and the search for the truth continues! Now another photo recently discovered is a picture identified as her first grade class. This is clearly dated on the back with names of all the children in the picture. I have confirmed the handwriting is her mothers and it is dated 1921.

So the investigation continues!