When Frank Gumm of Tennessee and Ethel
Milne of Michigan met in Superior, Wisconsin while working in a vaudeville/movie theatre, they could hardly have
dreamed that one day their child would become one of the most famous singers in the world!
In 1914, Frank and Ethel Gumm formed a vaudeville team
known as Jack and Virginia Lee, Sweet Southern Singers. They settled in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, a small town on
the edge of the Mississippi River and Frank took over the management of the local movie theater, The New Grand. On weekends
they would perform their vaudeville songs between film reels. Sometimes they also traveled to local theatres
in other towns to perform.
Mary Jane Gumm was born in 1915 and her sister, Dorothy Virginia
followed in 1917. When the girls were still quite small, Ethel taught them to sing in two-part harmony.
The Gumm Sisters
made their debut in their Frank's theatre, The New Grand imitating the well known vaudeville act, the Duncan Sisters.
Janie was 5 and Jimmie was 3.