In “Traveling Blues”, we have stated that “Tommy Ladnier left New York and made a visit to a friend living in Connecticut. Originally, he intended to stay for only a couple of weeks but according to what he told Panassié, he stayed for two years.”
The Price & Lee’s Co City Directory, Stamford, Connecticut, of 1935 shows this entry:
Ladnier Thomas musician r 105 Pacific (r meaning “Resident with householder”)
In the 1935 Street Index, 105 Pacific has only two householders, Mrs M. Baugh and Arthur Scott, but it is not clear which one of these was Tommy’s “friend”.
Arthur Scott, born 1884, lived at 203 Pacific as shown in the 1930 census He was registered as a Negro, born in Georgia. Considering the number of people the Scotts had in the apartment, it is unlikely that Tommy lived in their apartment.
Mrs. M Baugh was Marcella Baugh, in 1930 married to Joseph A. Baugh, both registered as Negroes. Joseph had a boarding house or hotel. In 1935, Joseph Baugh owned Astoria Hotel at 24 Gay Street.
So what clues does this give us to the “friend in Connecticut?” None of these people give any obvious lead to whom Tommy visited – it could of course also have been someone else. However, it seems plausible that this friend was hotel owner Baugh.
According to Hugues Panassié, Tommy Ladnier lived in Connecticut for almost two years – probably from late summer 1934 to spring 1936 – and subsequently spent some time in Philadelphia from spring 1936 to early summer 1936.
The full account can be found in the pdf file available below.