Laxative Sam says

Here’s an ad from the February 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention:


I know that this is made up for the ad, but I am kind of hoping that there was a real person named Laxative Sam. Though I wouldn’t want to know how he got his name.

This ad introduced the concept of “laxative staleness”, and the idea of a “thorough, muscular movement of the bowels”. Yikes.

Princess Royal of Belgium

The front page of the February 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of a young member of the Belgian royal family:


Princess Joséphine Charlotte of Belgium (1927-2005) wound up going from one royal family to another: in 1953, she married Jean, the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, who became the Grand Duke himself in 1964. Princess Joséphine seems to have led an uneventful life, except for the part when she was put under house arrest by the Nazis after the Allies landed in Normandy.

Her full name was Joséphine Charlotte Stéphanie Ingeborg Elisabeth Marie-José Marguerite Astrid, which is quite a handle.

Gandhi disciple

Here’s a brief article from the February 18 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a British woman who was arrested for being a disciple of Mohandas Gandhi:


Madeleine Slade (1892-1982) was actually known as Mirabehn or Meera Behn. As part of her work for India’s independence, she met David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, and was imprisoned again in 1942. She lived in India until 1959, and moved to Austria in 1960, living in the Vienna Woods until she passed away.

It’s interesting to note that the article refers to Ms. Slade as a “British girl”, even though she was nearly forty years old at the time of her arrest.

A trial will convince you

Here’s an ad from the February 18 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a hotel in New York:


This page has a complete history of the Hotel Governor Clinton, including a photo showing the faded sign for the hotel.

The Museum of the City of New York has a postcard photo of the hotel.

The hotel still stands – a recent Google Street View photo indicates that it is now called the Stewart Hotel.

Two lives

The February 4 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two photographs of young men: one whose life had just ended, and one whose career had started to take off.

The first photo was of Carlyle Graham-Browne, who had just been killed in a car crash:


The accompanying article described a horrific single-vehicle crash:


The 1932 and 1933 city directories list Carlyle Graham-Browne as working as a general agent at the National Surety Company.

(By the way: the “Margot” in the neighbouring article was Margot Asquith, then the widow of a former Prime Minister of Britain. She is probably best known these days for being the target of a famous Dorothy Parker quotation: “The affair between Margot Asquith and Margot Asquith will live as one of the prettiest love stories in all literature.”)

The other man whose photograph I found had just been appointed as advertising manager at Holt, Renfrew and Company:


I traced Mr. Petersen, at least partially, in the city directories. He stayed at Holt, Renfrew for less than three years, as the 1936 directory lists him as the advertising manager for Langleys (the dry cleaning firm). Amusingly, the 1935 directory lists him as the advertising manager for the “Hotel Renfrew”.

He is missing from a few directories at the time of the Second World War, which suggests that he went off to fight. After the war, he gradually worked his way up to forming his own advertising partnerships; he appears in the 1969 directory as part of one, which is the last year that I can access online.

Speed skating finals

Here’s a series of photographs from the February 7 1934 Toronto Daily Star, featuring speed skaters who were competing in an event at Maple Leaf Gardens.


A couple of the athletes mentioned in the caption for these photos have Wikipedia entries:

  • Kit Klein (1910-1985) went on to capture two world records and skate in the Ice Follies.
  • Lela Brooks (1908-1990) had broken six world records by the age of 17, and eventually set 17 world records and win 65 championships.

Film notables who attended dinner dance

Here’s a publicity photograph from the February 4 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


As it happened, both Joel McCrea and Dorothy Jordan embarked on long-lasting marriages that year:

  • Mr. McCrea married Francis Dee, and they remained married until he passed away in 1990.
  • Ms. Jordan married Merian C. Cooper, the writer and director of King Kong, who later became a brigadier general in the Air Force. They remained married until he passed away in 1973; she passed away in 1988.