Harriet Luella McCollum

The July 6 1923 Toronto Globe had an advertisement for a series of appearances by self-help author Harriet Luella McCollum:


Harriet Luella McCollum (1874-1948) was noteworthy for using her maiden name despite being married with two children, which was unusual for the time. She was the author of a number of books, which were apparently part of a series. Some of the books were:

  • What Is Applied Psychology (book 1 of the series)
  • Worry – How To Quit It And Why (book 2)
  • Psychology and Its Relation to Religion (book 4)
  • Mental Analysis (book 8)
  • Applying Occult Law For Perfect Bodybuilding (book number unknown)
  • What Makes a Master (ditto)

She does not have a Wikipedia page, so there is no single collection of details of her life.


Zurich society will bar Mathilde

Here’s a brief article from the June 7 1922 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention:


I was curious: did they marry? And did Zurich society bar her?

I found out the answer to only the first question, thanks to the Villa Turicum blog, which posted about Mathilde here and here. Mr. Oser, a riding instructor (which sounds a bit classier than “livery stable man”) was 44 and Mathilde 16 when they first planned to wed; they finally, and controversially, tied the knot in 1923. Despite the difference in their ages, they stayed together and had two children, but both died young: Oser passed away in 1942 at the age of 65, and Mathilde passed away in 1947, after surgery, at the age of 41.

I never did find out whether they were admitted to Zurich society. Since their children went to school in California and the couple had a residence there, they might not have cared.


Be careful

Here’s a tiny ad from the October 23 1946 Toronto Daily Star that I kind of enjoyed:


The Train Brothers had only recently moved to this location and added a brother: the 1945 city directory lists Lyman W. Train as the manager of the Train Motor Co. at 579 Yonge. The second Train brother signed on in 1946, and the 1947 directory is the first to list them at 472 Yonge. The Train Bros. stayed at this location until 1957.

472 Yonge is now the home of a Wine Rack store, in a building that looks like it was built when the used car lot went away.


Music in 1946

The October 23 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained ads for three upcoming appearances by famous musicians.

The first was for violinist Yehudi Menuhin, playing at Massey Hall the next Monday:


Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999) started his career early – he was a solo violinist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra when he was seven. He had a recording contract with EMI for seventy years, recording for them in 1929 and 1999.

Next up is another violinist, just billed as Kreisler, scheduled to play at Maple Leaf Gardens in the following month:


Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962) was born in Vienna, and became an American citizen late in life. His first performance in the U.S. was in 1888. Elgar’s Violin Concerto was composed for him.

Finally, there was a pianist, Claudio Arrau, who was to play at Massey Hall that night:


Claudio Arrau (1903-1991) was from Chile, and was a child prodigy – he was reading Beethoven sonatas when he was four. He developed a repertoire large enough to be able to perform at 76 different recital evenings.


Tragedy averted

One of the back pages of the October 23 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this small article about a tragedy narrowly averted:


I was curious, so I looked up the Toronto city directories. It turns out that the man’s name was Saul or Sol Belz, not “A. Belz” (the directories give both variants of his name). The address was 75 Carlton Street, and the cleaning and pressing shop was B & B Cleaners & Dyers. The listing appears in the 1947 directory and not the 1946 directory, so the business was new. (Before that, he ran Golden Eagle Cleaners at 235 Broadview.)

Despite the initial near-tragedy, Mr. Belz stuck with it; the firm appears in the 1952 city directory, so he remained in business at least a few years. I didn’t track it any further.


It was my twin brother

The November 25 1923 Toronto Daily Star contained this short article about a man who claimed that his twin brother had committed the crimes for which he was accused, and also claimed that his twin was three years older than he was:


The accused also apparently had the same fingerprints as his twin. The presiding judge, not surprisingly, was skeptical.


Diana Barrymore

Following on from yesterday’s post about Ethel Barrymore, here’s an ad from the October 23 1946 Toronto Daily Star featuring Ethel’s niece, Diana Barrymore:


Diana Barrymore (1921-1960) had a hard life, despite being born into privilege as a member of the famous Barrymore family of actors. Her parents separated bitterly when she was four, and she was raised by nannies and sent to boarding schools. Not surprisingly, she developed substance abuse problems, which affected her career, and married addicted and sometimes abusive men. The autopsy at her death failed to find the cause.


Ethel Barrymore

By random chance, I have found two articles in Toronto newspapers with news about actress Ethel Barrymore. The articles are over two decades apart!

The first is from the July 6 1923 Toronto Globe:


The second is from the December 12 1944 Toronto Daily Star, reporting that she had successfully fought off influenza:


Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959) was a member of the Barrymore family of actors; she is the grand-aunt of actress Drew Barrymore. While in England as a young woman, she met Winston Churchill; he is rumored to have proposed to her. After her divorce from Russell Colt in 1923, as described above, she never married again.


Daily Star radio

From 1922 to 1933, the Toronto Daily Star operated its own radio station, CFCA. Here’s a blurb from the October 15 1931 edition of the paper that advertised two upcoming musical soloists:


CFCA stopped broadcasting in response to legislation creating a national public broadcaster (the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission, which eventually became the CBC). The Star did not want to compete with a public broadcaster, and did not want to sink money into technological improvements during the middle of the Great Depression.

Google searches for Marie Baker and Elsie Thorpe-Brown turned up nothing – they appear to be lost to history.


King Carol and Magda

The December 31 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included this photo of King Carol of Rumania and his mistress, Magda Lupescu:


I was curious: were they actually married at the time? Wikipedia says no: they didn’t finally marry until 1947, long after King Carol had given up his throne in 1940. (Giving up his throne was not a new thing for him: he had renounced the throne in 1925 as a result of the scandal surrounding his affair with Ms. Lupescu, only to be restored to it in 1930 when the National Peasant Party achieved power.)

Marie of Rumania, Carol’s mother, at least once appeared in the Toronto Daily Star as a newspaper columnist.