Walter Adopts a Son!

Walter Gallagher and Ruth Burrows were married on August 7, 1922.  By 1924, for whatever reason, they had not had any children.  That part is still a mystery.

1928 04 25 Letter sending contract for fostering

In any case, they decided they wanted a child.  I can only assume that they visited the New York Foundling Hospital in Manhattan and selected one – a la Little Orphan Annie.  A boy.  On April 24, 1928, the Foundling Hospital sent the couple a the fostering contract for Joseph Smith, along with a letter explaining that after six months they would be eligible to adopt their foster child.  He was placed with them on May 15, 1928.

1928 05 23 Indenture p2 1928 05 23 Indenture p1

They signed that document on May 23, 1928.  About a week later, apparently Ruth wrote to the Foundling Hospital expressing their pleasure about Joseph and asking about his birthday.

1928 06 01 Letter about birthdate


Sister Maria Cyrilla returned a letter explaining that Joseph was born on September 29, 1924.  Clearly, Walter and Ruth were overjoyed with their foster child, and on November 13, 1928, they made an agreement to adopt the boy.

1928 11 13 Agreement for Adoption p1 1928 11 13 Agreement for Adoption p2 1928 11 13 Agreement for Adoption p3

The agreement is accompanied by an Affidavit by the Treasurer of the Foundling Hospital, Sister Xavier Maria (Sarah E. Hurley), indicating that on October 8, 1924 (9 days after he was born), Joseph was brought to the New York Foundling Hospital by the Department of Public Welfare.  Since that time, no parent or relative has made any inquiries about the child or provided any support for the child.  It also says that Walter and Ruth are “persons of good moral … habits.”  More on that later.

1928 11 13 Affidavit of Custody p1 1928 11 13 Affidavit of Custody p2

On December 4, 1928, they appeared at the Surrogate’s Court and – through their attorneys, Peck & Hancock – filed their Petition for Adoption.

1928 12 04 Petition for Adoption p1 1928 12 04 Petition for Adoption p2

On the same day, the Order of Adoption was also signed and filed, thus changing the child’s name to John Joseph Gallagher.

1928 12 04 Order of Adoption p1 1928 12 04 Order of Adoption p2

And then what is probably the most disappointing document of all time was filed with the Order of Adoption.  The Order Sealing Papers.  It is this document that is preventing me (and thousands of other researchers and adoptees) from accessing these archival records from the Surrogate’s Court in New York.

1928 12 04 Order Sealing Papers

The court documents you see here are merely copies that were held by the Foundling Hospital.  The originals would surely show the signatures of everyone involved, but they are still under lock and key at the Surrogate’s Court.  My only hope is that they are being protected from damage wherever they are held, and have not been destroyed.  My grandfather spent the latter years of his life trying to get access to his adoption records, but died before that could happen.  I hope I am able to find the answers that eluded him for so many years.

John J Gallagher 1929 (800x1024)

Walter and Joe at Club Madrio; New Chummy Club

This first item is a portion of an undated, unidentified article that includes a paragraph or two about Walter and his uncle Joe opening a new club.  Unfortunately, the first part of this article was removed, likely in the process of cutting out the article on the opposite page, and the last part was not preserved.  I’ll only transcribe the parts about Walter, Billy, and Joe.  

The second item is the announcement of the opening of the new club.

The third item is an undated article about the (re)opening of Billy’s Chummy Club.  I believe all of these are from the summer of 1926, based on the reference to Eddie Elkins’ show “Americana” appearing at the Belmont Theater.


-1926 Walter and Uncle Joe Club MadrioWilliam Arnold, producer for William J. Gallagher, one of the most popular restaurant men on Broadway, announced yesterday that when they Monte Carlo reopens a week from Monday that smart establishment will have another new show, including a completely new cast of principals.  There is a likelihood, too, that there will be many new faces in the chorus.  Mr. Arnold has refurbished the revue in the Chummy Club, No. 711 Seventh avenue.  It is one of the most scintillating little bits of entertainment on the “street.”

Walter and “Uncle Joe” Gallagher have been busy night and day for the last week in rehabilitating the Club Madrid, No. 131 West Fifty-second street, which they have renamed Club Madrio and which will be formally opened at half-past ten o’clock Monday night and at eleven o’clock every night thereafter.

The new proprietors are negotiating for the services of Billy Kent, the comedian of “Rose-Marie,” to double in the Madrio.  Another entertainer, who has been on a vaudeville tour for months and who is also to be featured, is Artie Leeman.  The Madrio will have six singing hostesses.

Other names appearing in this article:

Earl Lindsay
Eva Dowling
Fawn Gray
Gilda Gray
Charles Dillingham
Mignon Laird
Lucretia Craig
Virginia Franck
August Janssen
Lee Simonson
John F. Lenigan
A. W. Kramer

-1928 Walter working at Club Madrio with Joe Gallagh26



Billy Gallagher, Aided by His Son Joe and Ben Levy, Put on Good Show — Tex Guinan Back From Atlantic City, Welcomed Home


1926 00 Chummy Club Opening Becomes a Night for All Old TimersIt was a regular old home week at the formal opening of Billy Gallagher’s Chummy Club.  Many parties were made up of old-timers who were regular visitors years back when the place was known as Gallagher’s.

Billy has his son Joe and Ben Levy, former owner of the Hi-Hat Club, taking charge of affairs for him while he is running back and forth between Rockaway and New York.  Billy’s newly acquired cafe at Holland station will be ready to open July 1.

There is a corking good show down at the Chummy, headed by the Wallace Brothers, Frank and Lew, harmony songsters, and the latter acting as master of ceremonies.

The others include Flo Hauser, the tiny queen of syncopation ; Julia Morgan, a blues singer ; Rose Schall, prima donna ; Lillian Craig, a red-hot mistress of song and dance, and Irving Bloom and his radio recording orchestra.

The Chummy is opening at a rather unsettled time, with Summer here and the 3 o’clock curfew law in effect, but with business good for its first three days it looks like Billy knew what he was doing in opening now.

There were several big parties of “out-of-towners” down for the opening.  Harry Lieberman and party of nine from Philadelphia and Dave Brown and party of six from Buffalo.

Other names in this article:

Richy Craig, Jr.
Texas Guinan
Colonel Vaughn
Sophie Tucker
Eddie Elkins
Willie Collier
Connie Lutz
William Schwind


Christmas and Relief Fund Benefit

This is another undated, unidentified article from the scrapbook. I estimate it was published around December 1928.

-1928 Deauville membership donation driveMISS LILLIAN RANDALL, hostess and Walter Gallagher, son of Billy, received at Monte Carlo.  Charley Hanson, Harry Keller, George Metzger, Jimmy Miller and Charley Farrell received and assisted the Deauville membership, and at the Broadway Gardens everybody received magnificently.


WALTER GALLAGHER gave $100 at Monte Carlo.  Mr. Hanson gave the same amount at Deauville.  So did Miss Ona Munson, Keith headliner, and at the Broadway Gardens old Billy Gallagher was persuaded to sing a song for the first time in twenty years — for $331 given by the members of the yacht club who had labored long and furiously, and by the waiters, the girls in the show there, the orchestra, even the cigarette girl, Mr. Gallagher’s son and Mrs. Gallagher, who gave $100.  And Mr. Gallagher gave another $100.

And Miss Corinne Barber, attended by Mrs. A. C. Riely, both of whom had previously contributed, gave $50 more.

It was a fine, human and remarkable demonstration — one of the finest incidents in the long and happy career of the Christmas and Relief Fund — the song and the manner in which everybody responded to the suggestion that Mr. Gallagher sing.

Broadway Broadcastings: Walter Gallagher Back

Another undated, unidentified article.  This one is probably from around 1928. 


by Alex Sullivan


Everyone is glad to see Walter Gallagher, handsome son of the famous Billy, back on the job as manager of the Monte Carlo.  Walter, who was a great athlete in his day, had been on a sic-months’ trip around the country.

“There’s only one Broadway — and one New York,” says Walter.

“I’ve been in Atlantic City, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis, Frisco, Los Angeles, Hollywood, and many other high spots in the country — and just as Americans say about the United States as a whole when they return from tours abroad I say about trips throughout our country — away from New York.  The fellow who wrote the song, ‘When you leave New York, you’re only camping out,’ sure hit the nail on the head.”

-1928 Broadway Broadcastings - after Walter's 6 month tripOTHER NAMES IN THE ARTICLE:

Dan McKetrick
Gene Sennett
Charlie Henderson
Milton Wallace
John L. Sullivan
Andrew Mack
Jim Corbett