Weds his former secretary

Here’s a photograph from the August 13 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a British peer who was about to get married.

Rufus Isaacs, the first Marquess of Reading (1860-1935) was no ordinary peer. He was the first practicing Jew to ever become a marquess, the second to become a member of the British cabinet, and the first to become Lord Chief Justice. He was born the son of a fruit importer and became the second commoner to become a marquess, with the first being the Duke of Wellington.

He was knighted in 1910, ennobled in 1914, a Viscount in 1916, a Count in 1917, and finally made it all the way to Marquess in 1926. Before acquiring all of these honours, he was a lawyer and a Liberal Party member of the British Parliament. His first wife, the former Alice Cohen, passed away in 1930.

Stella Isaacs, Marchioness of Reading (1894-1971) was originally the first Marchioness of Reading’s secretary before becoming the Marquess’s secretary. After his first wife’s death, she became his political hostess and then became his second wife; the marriage was apparently greeted with “universal applause”. After his death in 1935, the Marchioness went on to form the WVS (Women’s Voluntary Service). It was said of her at the time that had she been born a man, she might very well have become Prime Minister. As it was, she became a life baroness in her own right in 1958.

An entirely new view on life

Here’s a photograph from the August 13 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a gymnastic wheel invented in Germany.

The wheel gymnastics device later known as the Rhönrad was patented in 1925. Its creator, Otto Feick, was inspired by a childhood memory of tying sticks between hoops that his blacksmith grandfather had made and then rolling down a hill.

Wheel gymnastics was a demonstration sport at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin but never became an Olympic event. While the sport is mostly practiced in Germany, the International Wheel Gymnastics Federation holds a world championship event every two years.

Thanks, awfully, for the lion cubs

Here’s a photo from the August 13 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an author who had received an unusual present.

Fannie Hurst (1889-1968) was a bestselling author during the 1920s and 1930s, eventually producing 19 novels and over 300 short stories. She was popular enough in the early 1930s to become a celebrity, but her writing later fell out of fashion. One critic complained that she relied too heavily on stereotypes, including “The Cad, the Alcoholic, the Egotist, the Self-Absorbed Rich Lady, the Golden-Hearted Whore, the Brave Wife, the Pure-Minded Virgin, and the Honest Burgher”.

Ms. Hurst was also a social activist, working to support equal rights for women and Black people. She was a member of the Lucy Stone League, an organization that advocated that women should keep their maiden name when they married. Ms. Hurst retained her maiden name when she married Jacques S. Danielson; the couple kept separate residences and renewed their marriage contract every five years.

Going to be cooled off

Here’s a photograph from the August 13 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a boxer who was going for an enforced dip in the water.

Tommy Loughran (1902-1982) was the world light-heavyweight boxing champion of the world for a nearly two-year stretch between 1927 and 1929, after which he vacated the title to compete as a heavyweight. He lost a world championship heavyweight bout to Primo Carnera in 1934.

After he retired from boxing in 1937, Loughran had a successful career as a commodities broker on Wall Street. He became a keynote speaker who worked on promoting the image of boxing.

Step right in line

Here’s a photo from the August 13 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an actress wearing a felt hat.

Anita Page (1910-2008) became a star at the end of the silent film era. At her peak, she was receiving more fan mail than any female star except Greta Garbo. She employed her father as a chauffeur, her mother as a secretary, and her brother as a gym instructor, and she received several marriage proposals from Benito Mussolini.

She retired from acting in 1936, later to return briefly in 1961. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, she appeared in some low-budget horror movies. She was the last living attendee of the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929.

Set swim-suit styles

When all else failed, the Dionne quintuplets always served as a good source of photo material. Here’s a picture from the August 7 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

In his book, The Dionne Years, Pierre Berton wrote that the Dionne quintuplets were a $500 million asset at their peak.

Finsler’s comet visible

Here’s an article from the August 7 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a comet that was visible in the night sky.

Paul Finsler (1894-1970) was a Swiss mathematician whose doctoral thesis was on differential geometry. The MacTutor website has a detailed article about him, including his interest in astronomy. He had previously discovered another comet in 1924.

I found a number of articles and photos about Finsler’s 1937 comet, including this photo. The article shown here estimates that the comet won’t be visible again from Earth for another thousand years.

Safety sled

Here’s a photo from the August 7 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young woman with a “newly invented surf sled”:

Sometimes, a photograph like this is of a movie actress. But I couldn’t find Althea Martin in the Internet Movie Database or anywhere on the Internet. So I guess she was just a random young woman trying out a sled and now lost to history.

Cashier is robbed

Here’s an article about a robbery, from the August 7 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, that caught my attention. It originally appeared in one long column, but I’ve split it into two to make it easier to display here.

I can’t say this for certain, but I suspect that “Slow Motion” Carrick is one of the best criminal aliases ever.

I looked up the protagonists of this article in the Toronto city directories:

  • I didn’t find Louis Rotstein, alias “Slow Motion”, but I wasn’t expecting to. Though I was half-hoping that he would have a listing with an occupation of “criminal”.
  • Laurie Davidson, youthful chemist, didn’t appear either. (“Laurie Davidson, Youthful Chemist” would be a great title for a children’s animated series.) I suspect that “youthful” meant that he was not of age in 1937.
  • I couldn’t find Ernest Baker, plumber, either. In the 1937 and 1938 directories, the resident at 4 Clarence Square was one Ryerson McPhaden. In the 1936 directories, this address was home for John Clohessy and Albert Heywood.

    Clarence Square is possibly the only street in Toronto that is numbered consecutively, as opposed to having even numbers on one side and odd numbers on the other. 5 Clarence Square is the first townhouse on the street that still survives; 1 through 4 were torn down and a gas station is there today.
  • Mrs. Blanche Tozer, the victim in this crime, was the only person I could find in the city directories. The 1937 directory lists her as a bookkeeper at Fraser & Beatty, with her home address as 482-488 Spadina Avenue. And that is where she stayed: the 1947 directory lists her at Fraser, Beatty, Tucker, McIntosh, and Stewart with her home address as 488 Spadina. The 1957 directory lists her with the same employer with a home address of 484 Spadina. I didn’t look her up in any later directories because I’m kind of hoping she’s still there.