The Many Names of Mrs. Rickard and Her Daughter
by Robert F. Delaney
I wrote this piece to help myself sort out the evolution, and sometimes retrenchment, of the various names used by “Mrs. Tex Rickard” Maxine and her daughter Maxine. Each time I returned to add to the genealogical record or write something about either one, it took a good deal of review and study to discover how and why I had previously recorded a particular variation of their names. It’s no wonder that others who have written historical accounts involving “Maxine”, as well as those who have included them in their genealogical records on the Web, have sometimes presented confusing data. Thus, I set forth below, based on my research and documents available from that research, an account of the names used by these two individuals over their lifetimes. Perhaps this information will be useful to those who follow me and will help them avoid going down the same confusing paths that I took on occasion in my attempts to keep straight just “who was who” or “when did she go by that name” or “why was her name reported that way.” If you can supply additional information, documents or corrections, please contact me (Bob Delaney: email@example.com).
This odyssey began several years ago when I discovered the connection between Maxine “Mrs. Tex Rickard” and one of my great-grandfather John Francis Delaney’s daughters, Bernadette Delaney. So, we’ll start with Bernadette.
1881: Bernadette Marie Delaney, the first child of John Francis Delaney and Margaret (Montgomery) Delaney, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 22 August 1881. Source: Certificate of Birth, Brooklyn, #6375.
Circa 1902: Bernadette Marie Delaney married Jessie Thomas Hodges. Source: Marriage date undocumented at this time, but based on an assumption using their child’s birth year and an assumption that Bernadette was their first child.
July 1903: Bernadette Maxine Hodges is born to Bernadette Marie (Delaney) and Jesse Thomas Hodges. Source for “Bernadette Maxine” versus just “Maxine” Hodges: The July 3, 1943 application for Social Security number (Form SS-5) in which she declared that Bernadette Maxine Hodges was her name at birth.
1926: In a “Special to the New York Times,” with a “Chicago, July 18” byline, the world learns that the famous boxing promoter, “Tex” Rickard is engaged to marry “Miss Maxine Hodges,” an actress. If her name at birth was Bernadette, she seems to have dropped it by now in favor Maxine. There’s no reference in this article to Bernadette as a part of her name.
1928: Maxine Hodges, now married to Tex Rickard, is referred to as Maxine Elliott Rickard in Tex’s last will and testament, dated March 13, 1928. Source: New York Times article dated January 12, 1929, page 10. This is another indication that she had dropped the use of Bernadette and was using Maxine as if it were here given or “first” name. But from where did she derive “Elliott” and why did she start using it? We know that before she married Tex, Maxine performed in the theater and vaudeville. Could “Elliott” have been a stage name? In the late 19th century and early 20th century, there was a quite well known stage actress, Jessie Dermott (1868-1940), who used Maxine Elliott as her stage name. To make herself more visible theatrically, perhaps she latched onto Elliott as part of her name. This is, of course, pure speculation on my part and may only be an interesting coincidence. Or, was Maxine married to _____ Elliott before her marriage to Tex? So far, I have found no references to a marriage prior to the one to Tex. Or, could she have adopted what was (or she thought was) part of her mother’s name (see 1943 for more on this particular angle). I hope to someday solve the “Elliott mystery.”
1929: On January 6, 1929, Tex died in Miami Beach, Florida. The death certificate lists his wife as “Maxine Rickard,” and on the “Informant” line of the document she signed “Maxine Rickard.”
1930: The 1930 U.S. Census data recorded on April 13, 1930, at Miami Beach, Florida, lists her simply as Maxine Rickard.
1932: An April Time magazine notice about the value of Tex Rickard's estate refers to his surviving spouse as "Maxine Elliot Rickard." Source: Time, April 11, 1932.
1932: Maxine married Frank Daily in New York on April 24, 1932, according to a 1933 newspaper article, which refers to Maxine as “Mrs. Maxine Rickard Dailey.” Source: New York Times, March 17, 1933, page 20.
1933: Maxine’s marriage to Frank Daily is annulled. Apparently the marriage had been kept secret and hadn’t been revealed until November of 1932. It was reported that “Mrs. Dailey, in an uncontested action, received permission to resume the name of Rickard.” Source: New York Times, March 17, 1933, page 20.
1934: In a New York Times death notice about her mother, Bernadette M. Hodges, Maxine is referred to as “Maxine L. Rickard.” Perhaps the “L” was a mistake or typographical error. So far, I have not found any other document or reference with respect to “L” being her middle initial. Source: New York Times, October 11, 1934, page 23.
1935: In a “Letters of Administration” notice published upon the death of her mother, Bernadette M. Hodges, Maxine is referred to simply as “Maxine Rickard.” Source: New York Times, February 1, 1935, page 42.
1936: At the time of her marriage to Thomas Gill, a Chicago broker, on July 25, 1936, a newspaper report refers to Maxine as “Mrs. Maxine Rickard Dailey,” even though her marriage to Frank Dailey had been annulled in 1933. Was Maxine still using the name “Dailey,” or was the newspaper reporting using some stylistic convention of the time? Anyone searching for information about Maxine during this period of time should be aware that she may still be listed (rightly or wrongly) under Dailey or with Dailey as part of her name. Source: New York Times, July 26, 1936, page N6. Another newspaper article, with a picture of the couple, refers to her as "Mrs. Maxine Rickard," without any reference to the Dailey name. Source: Los Angeles Times, July 26, 1936, page 6.
1936: Maxine wrote a book called “Everything Happened to Him,” which is about the life of George L. (“Tex”) Rickard. But, rather than being attributed to Maxine Rickard, the book’s author is “Mrs. Tex Rickard.” Undoubtedly, this was to help sell the book, but it also fit into the social convention of the day whereby women were often referred to using the following structure: “Mrs.”, then the husband’s first name, followed by the husband’s surname. .
1937: Time magazine reported that “Mrs. Maxine Rickard Dailey Gill” was suing Thomas Gill, a Chicago broker whom she had married after Frank Dailey’s death, for divorce on the grounds of cruelty. Once again, the reporting strings all of Maxine’s married names together. [Note the 1933 item above that indicated her marriage to Dailey had been annulled in 1933.] Source: Time, July 5, 1937.
July 1943: On her application to obtain a Social Security number, Maxine stated that her name at birth was “Maxine Bernadette Hodges,” but also stated that the name “Maxine Elliott Rickard” would be used when employed. Apparently she had been using Maxine Elliott Rickard for a number of years (see 1928) and continued to do so in 1943, even after two marriages and divorces subsequent to Tex’s death in early 1929. On the part of the form that asked the applicant to “Write Your Name As Usually Written …,” she signed “Maxine H. Rickard. The conclusion I’ve drawn from the way in which Maxine signed the form is that while she had been using Elliott in her name for many years, her legal name probably remained Maxine Hodges Rickard, as evidenced by the “H” in her signature. Of course, we still don’t know how the Gill surname, based on her marriage to Thomas Gill in 1936, was dropped, but perhaps she reverted back to Rickard after a divorce or his death. She had returned to Rickard once before when her marriage to Frank Dailey was annulled. Document: Form SS-5, application for Social Security Number, dated July 3, 1943. Of course, things are never simple; her daughter provided different information about Maxine’s names (see below 1943 Maxine’s, the daughter, Form SS-5.)
1976: When Maxine died on August 6, 1976 at New England Sinai Hospital, the death certificate that was prepared gave her name simply as Maxine Rickard, followed by Hodges, her birth surname, in parentheses.
2000: And to round out the picture, in an e-mail exchange with Maxine’s grandson, Joseph Rickard Halprin, I learned Maxine’s nickname. Joe wrote that his grandmother had been called “Mimi.” Source: E-mail message from Joe Halprin to Bob Delaney, January 10, 2002.
Maxine . . . the Daughter
1930: The 1930 U.S. Census data recorded on April 13, 1930, at Miami Beach, Florida, lists her simply as Maxine Rickard. Since she was only three years of age at the time, undoubtedly her mother provided the information to the census taker (Tex was already dead by the time this census was taken).
1943: Preceding her mother by one day, on July 2, 1943, Maxine (the daughter) submitted a Form SS-5, “Application for Social Security Account Number” on which she stated that the name given to her at birth was “Joan Maxine Texas Rickard.” She also declared that “Maxine Bernadette Rickard” would be the name given to employers (she was unemployed at the time). For some reason, she had decided to adopt Bernadette as her middle name, which had been her mother’s given name at birth before she dropped it in favor of her middle name, Maxine. Maxine goes on to complicate the research of genealogists that followed, including me, by stating that her mother’s full name before marriage was “Maxine Elliott Hodges.” Perhaps she was right, but it contradicts what her mother declared in her own Form SS-5 (see above). If not, the confusion would be understandable since her mother had often been using Elliott as her middle name and perhaps the daughter took it to be her middle name from birth. As noted above, it’s a mystery as to where Maxine the mother derived and starting using the Elliott name (see above). Maxine the daughter signed the SS-5 simply as “Maxine Rickard.” Document: Form SS-5, application for Social Security Number, dated July 2, 1943.
1956: At the time of her divorce from Edwin W. Goodfellow, Jr. in March 1956 in Palm Beach, Florida, her name was listed in the index of divorces as “Maxine R. Goodfellow.” Presumably the letter “R” referred to Rickard. [State of Florida, Divorce and Annulment Index, Volume 740, Certificate 4146]
2002: Joseph Rickard Halprin told me in 2002 that he doesn’t remember his mother ever using the name Joan, as she had marked on the SS-5 in 1943. However, he went on to say “but she did name my sister Joan so maybe she had a connection to the name.” Source: E-mail message from Joe Halprin to Bob Delaney, January 10, 2002.
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