Presidential nominee

The July 25 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included this photograph of U.S. Democratic Party presidential nominee John W. Davis:


John W. Davis (1873-1955) won the 1924 Democratic presidential nomination on the mind-numbing 103rd ballot. He lost the presidential election to Calvin Coolidge. He won only 28.8% of the popular vote, the smallest percentage ever won by a Democratic nominee – though it didn’t help that Robert LaFollette ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket and picked up 16.6% of the vote.

Besides being a presidential nominee, Davis was the United States ambassador to Britain from 1918 to 1921. He was also a successful lawyer, as he argued 140 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Charles Dana Gibson (1867-1944) was an artist and magazine illustrator. He was best known for drawing Gibson Girls.

Ethel Lackie

The July 25 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of swimmer Ethel Lackie, who had just won a gold medal at the 1924 Olympics in Paris:


Ethel Lackie (1907-1979) also won a gold medal in the 4 x 100 100-meter freestyle relay. In 1926, her time of 1:10.0 in the 100 metre freestyle set a world record that she held until 1929. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1969.

Wiley Post

The July 24 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included two photographs related to aviator Wiley Post. The first is a picture of his airplane stopping for repairs while in the middle of his solo around the world flight:


And here is a photo of Post with Italian Air Force Marshal Italo Balbo:


Wiley Post (1898-1935) first flew around the world in 1931 with navigator Harold Gatty, travelling 15,474 miles in 8 days, 15 hours, and 51 minutes. The trip made him famous. His 1933 solo trip was even faster, taking 7 days, 18 hours, and 49 minutes. Post died in 1935 when his plane crashed when taking off from a lagoon in Alaska; humorist Will Rogers, his passenger, also passed away in the crash.

Italo Balbo (1896-1940) was one of the leaders of the Italian Fascist movement that brought Benito Mussolini to power in 1922. Balbo, however, was opposed to anti-semitism and also opposed the alliance with Nazi Germany. Possibly for this reason, he was appointed the governor of Libya. He was accidentally killed by friendly fire during World War II.


First to compete

The July 22 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a photograph of (supposedly) the first woman ever to compete against men in an auto race.


I couldn’t find anything about Mme. Hitier in any searches (it doesn’t help that her name is very similar to “Hitler”). And this list of female Spanish drivers doesn’t include her. Either this photograph got her name wrong, or she is lost to history.

How Toronto grows

The July 22 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had photographs of the corner of Montgomery Avenue and Yonge Street, just north of Eglinton, in 1907 and 1926:


Streeter provides details on what has happened since. The post office shown in the lower photo was demolished in 1936 and replaced by an Art Deco-inspired two-story post office. This building is now being remodelled into a condominium; Google Street View shows what it looks like now.

Condition weaker

The July 19 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this bit of sad news about comedic actress Marie Dressler:


The “incurable disease” mentioned in this article was cancer, and Ms. Dressler passed away from it nine days later, on July 28, 1934. She was 65, not 62 as mentioned in the article.

She was born in Cobourg, Ontario. The home that she grew up in is now the Marie Dressler Museum and home to the Cobourg visitor information office. You can see it on Google Street View.

Witness collapses

Here’s a photograph from the July 19 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


A Google search turned up this page, which tells the story of a morals trial featuring Ms. de Long, movie extra Gloria Marsh, and Dave Allen, who was the head of Central Casting, the principal agency for casting extras in movies.

The “beautiful hands” reference is because Ms. de Long worked as a hand double. When a movie star’s hands were deemed not attractive enough for closeups, Ms. de Long’s hands were subbed in.

Molly Gourlay

Here’s a photo from the July 19 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a champion women’s golfer:


There is no Wikipedia entry for Molly Gourlay, but I found a long article on her. She won the French Open in 1923 and 1929 as well as in 1928. She then spent many years playing and serving as an administrator for golf in her home county of Surrey, as well as working as a golf course architect. She was honoured with an OBE, and passed away in 1989.

The National Portrait Gallery has a photo of her from 1939.

In race with husband

Here’s a photograph from the July 19 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman who beat her husband in a road race in England.


A Google search turned up an interview with W. B. Scott in Motor Sport magazine in 1976. From this,  I learned that W. B. Scott’s nickname was “Bummer”, he was from a wealthy background (his family owned Calgary Castle in the Isle of Mull and had over 2000 acres of shooting rights), he was a former Scottish squash champion, and his wife’s name was Jill.

The article describes Mr. Scott’s racing exploits in some detail, but doesn’t explain what happened to his wife. It does include the fascinating detail that the couple’s daughter, Sheila, sat in a race car travelling at over 100 mph at the age of five months; Daddy drove, while Baby sat in Mommy’s lap.

Blood was thin, she felt weak

The July 19 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for a patent medicine that claims to have cured the ills of a Toronto housewife.


When I see a name and address in a patent medicine ad, I like to look it up in the Toronto city directories to see if the person giving the testimonial really existed. In this case, there really was a Mrs. Mary Wilson at 210 John Street in 1928. However, she was not a housewife, as the ad claims: the Seneca Apartments were at that address, and she appears to have been living alone. She was there in 1929, but both she and the apartments did not appear in the 1930 directory.

Because she had such a common name, it was impossible to trace forward from there, so I thought I would try going back. The 1927 directory lists Mrs. Mary Wilson as living at 218 John Street instead of 210; I don’t think it’s too great a leap to assume that this is the same person. The 1926 directory also lists her at 218 John, and has an occupation for her: she was working as a serger at the Berger Tailoring Company at 256-260 Richmond Street West, which was very close by. But there was nobody named Mary Wilson working there or living at 218 John in the 1925 directory, so once again she is lost to history.

Husky and its proponent, A. G. Payne, are also lost to history – I could find no reference to either in searches. This is unusual, as a patent medicine seller often leaves a large paper trail. Mr. Payne isn’t local, either, as there is no one named A. G. Payne in the 1928 city directory.

To complete the collection of dead ends: 210 John and 218 John no longer exist. The block of John Street between Stephanie and Grange is now Grange Park.