Looking for someone

Here are three entries from the Personals section of the July 19 1920 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that might be said to have a common theme – somebody looking for someone.

July 19 1

Going through these in order:

  • The 1920 Toronto city directory lists Frederick W. Prior, an electrician, at 34 Dartnell Avenue. I have no idea whether this is the correct Fred Prior – but, then again, neither would anyone reading this!
  • The correspondent in listing #2 had a lot of life happen to him if he was already widowed and retired at 45. Life was harder in 1920, but still.
  • I looked up 12 Clarence Square in the 1920 and 1921 city directories, and its occupant was someone named Fred Legg. Perhaps A. H. was staying with Mr. Legg, or perhaps Mr. Legg chose to use these cryptic initials to communicate. The 1920 city directory would have been no help: there was a Mary Wyllie listed there, but she was a widow.

This leads me to wonder: how effective was the Personals section? What were the odds that Fred Prior or Miss Mary Wyllie would actually be reading the Toronto Daily Star on that day, let alone that he or she would be reading the Personals? I suppose that I can imagine somebody randomly searching through the paper, idly reading the Personals, and then becoming somewhat surprised to be mentioned there by name.

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