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Leaves $150,000,000

A brief article in the October 24 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star mentioned that a teenage girl was about to become very wealthy.

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James Buchanan Duke (1856-1925) and his father gave enough money to a small college in North Carolina that it was renamed after them. It is now Duke University.

Doris Duke (1912-1993) became known as “the richest girl in the world” after receiving her father’s bequest. Looking at her biography, it looks like she did the sort of things that people with a lot of money do: philanthropy, buying real estate, various hobbies and interests.

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The new Mrs. Sitwell

The October 24 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had this photograph related to a marriage between a Montreal woman and a member of a famous British literary family.

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Oddly enough, neither the bride nor the groom appear to be in this photo.

After yesterday’s long, drawn-out divorce drama, it’s a relief to discover that Sacheverell Sitwell and his new bride remained married until her death in 1980.

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Divorce 1925 style

The October 24 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had an article about a divorce proceeding that was far from amicable, to put it mildly:

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I was curious what happened, so I did a search for Hilda Betty Cooke in the Toronto Daily Star newspaper archives. The divorce turned out to be a long and bitter process – there were Daily Star articles going back at least to late 1924, and on into 1926. I found five others, and there were probably several more. I’ll just list the headline and sometimes a brief summary;

In chronological order:

  • September 24 1924: Wife sues James Cooke for $50 a week alimony
  • January 14 1925: Argument continued in the Cooke case: there apparently were allegations against Mrs. Cooke that were not proven
  • January 21 1925: Court hears a rumor Mrs. Cooke is in U.S.: she had allegedly moved to Buffalo with her mother and five-year-old daughter
  • January 27 1925: Father given custody of the Cooke child: she had allegedly been guilty of “marital misconduct” with three men
  • March 25 1926: Find both Cooke parents fit and proper persons: a judge in Salt Lake City, Utah, ruled that the child’s happiness would be endangered if she were to be returned to her father, a comparative stranger. The Cookes had recently been divorced in Reno, and had originally married on December 28, 1918.

That was the last article I could find that mentioned the divorce, but I also found a June 9 1926 article in the Daily Star in which it was alleged that members of the Cooke family had done some monkey business related to mortgages:

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This was the latest reference I could find to Mrs. Cooke, at least as late as 1929.

I also searched for Mr. Cooke in the Toronto city directories: there is a James H. Cooke listed as a barrister in the 1925 and 1926 directories, but not after that.

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Real telephone city

The October 24 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star provides evidence to suggest that editors that were looking for column filler didn’t necessarily proofread it carefully.

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It’s quite impressive that San Francisco (to use the more conventional spelling) led the world in telephones per capita, given that 1925 was less than two decades after the earthquake of 1906.

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Is barred from revisiting the U.S.

The October 24 1925 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included a photograph of a Hungarian countess who had been barred from the United States.

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Countess Károlyi (1892-1985) was born Katinka Andrássy. (Actually, her birth name was
Katalin Andrássy de Csíkszentkirály és Krasznahorkai, but that’s rather a lot to say or write.) She married Mihály Károlyi in 1914.

The Count was prime minister and president in Hungary just before it became a Communist republic in 1919. Wisely, he got out of town immediately after that. He passed away in 1955.

By the way, the Count’s full name was Mihály Ádám György Miklós Károlyi de Nagykároly. That’s a fairly long handle too.

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Which would you choose?

The October 17 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this film advertisement:

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When I looked up The Way of All Flesh in Wikipedia, I discovered that it was lost, and that it is the only lost film in which one of the stars won an Oscar.

Emil Jannings (1884-1950) won the first Oscar in 1929 for his work in this film and in The Last Command (1928). He also had a leading role in The Blue Angel (1930), the film that made Marlene Dietrich a star. Unfortunately, he went on to star in several pro-Nazi films in his native Germany.

Belle Bennett (1891-1932) played the part of the “lovely wife”. Sadly, she died young of cancer.

Phyllis Haver (1899-1960), whose name was misspelled in the ad, was credited in the movie as simply The Temptress. She appeared in movies until 1930, which is about when she married William Seeman, a millionaire; New York mayor James J. Walker performed the service. They divorced in 1945, and Ms. Haver passed away from an overdose of barbiturates in 1960.

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Deadly gas

The October 17 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two separate stories about people killed or injured by gas fumes in their home.

In the first, there appear to have been no casualties:

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The second one, unfortunately, was more tragic:

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I tried to trace Mrs. Partridge in the Toronto city directories, but with no luck. 228 Mutual Street is not listed in either the 1927 or 1928 directory, and I couldn’t find anyone named Partridge at an address similar to this. So I’m not sure whether this actually happened.

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Seriously injured pushing firewood

The October 19 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this article about an unfortunate man who was hit by a car:

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I looked in the Toronto city directories to try to find the unfortunate Mr. Champion, and almost certainly drew a blank. I couldn’t find him in the 1932, 1933, or 1934 city directory, and trying 1935 also turned up nothing.

In 1933 and 1934, 43 Sutton Avenue (not Street) was occupied by George Cox and Thomas W. Gale, respectively. In 1932, many houses on the street were listed as vacant, which suggests that the street was newly-built at that time.

I did find a William Champion working as a laborer in the 1930 and 1931 directories, but I have no idea if this is the same one. Perhaps he had such bad luck with injuries after 1932 that he wasn’t at any place long enough to register in the city directories. It’s ominous that he doesn’t appear in the 1934 and 1935 directories – let’s hope that he just moved out of town, away from a place where motor cars don’t constantly hit you.

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These lovely boys

The October 17 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained these photographs of two boys who were relatives of the King and Queen of England:

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These two boys were first cousins of Queen Elizabeth II.

George Lascelles (1923-2011), who eventually became the 7th Earl of Harewood, was sixth in line to the throne of England when he was born, and 46th when he passed away (these things happen). He was a prisoner of war in Germany during World War II; Hitler sentenced him to death, but the general in charge of POW camps refused to carry out the execution, as the war was lost.

In 1967, he caused a scandal when his mistress gave birth to his son; this put an end to his first marriage. His primary interests were opera and soccer: he was a two-time director of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden and chairman of the board of the English National Opera, and he was the president of the Leeds United club from 1961 until his death.

Gerald Lascelles (1924-1998) seems to have led a less eventful life. He was president of the British Racing Drivers Club and a jazz enthusiast.

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Queen Marie’s daughter married

The October 17 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this bit of what would now be called celebrity gossip, or perhaps royal gossip:

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The Wikipedia page for Princess Ileana of Romania has no mention of her eloping at 18. She is listed as having married the Archduke Anton of Austria, Prince of Tuscany, which is at least a step or two up from an obscure naval lieutenant. The couple fled Romania during the rise of communism, eventually settling in the United States; they divorced in 1954.

Princess Ileana married and divorced again, and then became a monastic, taking the name of Mother Alexandra. She founded a monastery in the U.S., retiring in 1981 and passing away in 1991.