Maye & Faye: The Knowels Twins

The Knowels Twins were singers, dancers, and acrobats. Their vaudeville act toured every state of the U.S. in the 1920's and 1930's with the Fanchon & Marco vaudeville show. Eleanor May, on the left, is the mother of Charles Griswold and Lin Johnson. We're proud of her!

We hope you'll enjoy seeing the family history and photos of the Knowels Twins. If you would like to contribute photos or information, please contact Teresa Meikle-Griswold at meikle@sonic.net

Marjorie Fay and Eleanor May Knowels were identical twins, born in Buffalo, Missouri, on December 9, 1907, the youngest of 5 children.


From left to right: Katherine, May or Fay, Lawrence and John. Photo is probably from 1908.
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Maye and Faye's father and mother, George Knowels and Stella Wisdom, married Aug. 1, 1897


George Knowels and Stella Wisdom Knowels. Photo is probably from 1897.

George played the clarinet and saxophone, was leader of the town band and also was a fireman. He died in the great influenza epidemic of 1918.


George Knowels and the Buffalo, Missouri town band. George is standing at top right. Photo is from a postcard sent Feb. 3, 1910 by Stella Wisdom Knowels to her sister in Wenatchee, Washington.

The family in 1911, in Buffalo, Missouri. From left, Lawrence, George, John, May or Fay, Stella, May or Fay, Katherine


After their father died, Stella and the children moved to Wenatchee, Washington, where Stella's sister lived. The twins enjoyed singing, dancing, doing acrobatics. Their earliest employment was picking and sorting apples, and herding cows for the neighbors.


May and Fay, age 17, practice a routine in Wenatchee. July 28, 1925.

After graduating from Wenatchee High School, the twins studied dancing at the Mary Ann Wells School in Seattle. Their tap-dancing teacher was Ann Bennet. Their first tour with Fanchon-Marco vaudeville production company was in "The Twin Idea." (later known as "Seeing Double"?)


May and Fay, around 1929.

Fay and May danced in a newsreel filmed on Mt. Rainier in the late 1920's. This is believed to be a still from that newsreel, held in the University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections.

May and Fay were only 5'0" tall, and always danced at the ends of the chorus lines. This picture was taken in 1931 at the Loew State Theatre in Los Angeles, California.


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Next page: See some of the Fanchon & Marco acts that toured the U.S.A., 1930-1932!

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