The outlook for civilization

Here’s an ad from the November 21 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a preacher who was about to deliver a lecture at Massey Hall.

When I read this, I contemplated Dr. Cadman proclaiming that civilization was about to meet its doom while, in the background, the 75 voices of the Harmony Glee Club harmonized gleefully.

Samuel Parkes Cadman (1864-1936) was possibly the first of the radio preachers. Born in England, he worked in a coal mine for ten years, starting at the age of 11. While working at the mine, he read enthusiastically and became interested in theology.

Upon graduating from seminary, Dr. Cadman moved to the United States, eventually founding the Metropolitan Methodist Church in New York City, and then moving to the Central Congregational Church of Brooklyn, where he preached from 1901 until his death. In 1928, he began an NBC radio broadcast that reached approximately five million people.

Dr. Cadman publicly opposed both racism and anti-Semitism, and was in favour of boycotting the 1936 Berlin Olympics. As it turned out, he did not live to see Hitler’s Olympic Games, as he passed away from a sudden attack of appendicitis less than three weeks before they started.

Glorious full length concerts

Here’s an ad from the November 21 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a series of classical music concerts on the radio.

I wonder whether someone was given a dressing-down for typesetting “Phico” instead of “Philco” in the ad copy.

Leopold Stokowski (1882-1977) went on to have a conducting career that lasted more than 60 years. He was the music director for the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1912 to 1940.

He was married three times, with each marriage lasting 11 or 12 years:

  • Olga Samaroff (1880-1948) was an American pianist whose given name was Lucy Hickenlooper. Her agent suggested a name change would help her get more gigs, and you can’t really blame her for adopting a more European-sounding professional name. She and Stokowski were married in 1911, and she helped advance his career, apparently lobbying to get him appointed director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. They divorced in 1923, apparently partially because Stokowski was unfaithful.
  • Evangeline Love Brewster Johnson was an heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. They were married from 1926 to 1937, and were divorced at about the time when Stokowski went for a vacation with Greta Garbo in Capri. She later married a Russian nobleman named Prince Zalstem-Zalessky.
  • Gloria Vanderbilt (1924-2019) has been mentioned in this blog before (here and here). Her marriage to Stokowski was quite the May-December romance, as she was nearly 42 years younger than he was when they married in 1945; his divorce from Ms. Samaroff happened before Ms. Vanderbilt was born. They divorced in 1955. She went on to marry director Sidney Lumet and then actor/writer Wyatt Emery Cooper; she lived for over 40 years after Cooper passed away in 1978.

Nowadays, Stokowski is probably best remembered because Bugs Bunny portrayed him in a cartoon.

Craven in childbirth

The November 21 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this rather startling article about women and childbirth.

It appears that Dr. John S. Fairbairn of St. Thomas’ Hospital in London believed that middle-class British women were unwilling to suffer during childbirth and did not believe that motherhood was a duty. This apparently made it their own fault that they died more often during the delivery process. (Dr. Fairbairn, needless to say, was male.)

A Google search for Dr. Fairbairn turned up this obituary for him; he passed away in 1944. The obituary listed his medical achievements and honours but did not mention his viewpoint on maternal suffering.

Can. life insur. official

Here’s a photograph from the November 21 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a man who had just been elected vice-president of the Canadian Life Insurance Officers’ Association.

It might be my imagination, but Mr. Lithgow looks a little sad-eyed in this photograph.

I looked James H. Lithgow up in the Toronto city directories. In the 1931 directory, he is listed as an assistant general manager at Manufacturers Life, living at 264 Oriole Parkway. In later editions of the city directories, he is easy to find, as his entry is in bold face; he eventually became the Chairman of the Board.

Between 1946 and 1951, his address changed from 264 Oriole Parkway to 262 Oriole Parkway, as the street was renumbered. This must have been confusing for the mailman. Along the way, he started calling himself J. Hector Lithgow.

Mr. Lithgow retained his bold-face status in the Toronto city directory right up to 1959. He is listed in the 1960 directory, but not in bold face. He is not in the 1961 directory, but it does not list his widow, so I have no idea whether he passed away or retired someplace. A Google search didn’t reveal anything.

Peer enters prison

Here’s a photo from the November 21 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a British peer who was about to go to jail.

Owen Philipps, 1st Baron Kylsant (1863-1937) bought his first ship in 1889 with help from his older brother. He went on from there to buy a controlling interest in more than twenty other companies, including the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company and the White Star Line. He was arrested early in 1931 for “Publishing a document with intent to induce a person to advance property”, which violated Section 84 of the Larceny Act (1864).

Lord Kylsant’s appeals were exhausted at the time of this photo, and he was hauled off to Wormwood Scrubs to serve ten months in the clink. According to his obituary in the TImes, on his release in August 1932 he was greeted as follows:

On his return to Coomb he was given a warm welcome and his car was drawn by 40 men at a running pace for about a quarter of a mile to the entrance of the house, and passed under an arch of laurel and evergreen which had been built over the gates.

Most ex-convicts don’t end their terms in this way.

When Lord Kylsant passed away, his hereditary peerage ended with him, as he had fathered three daughters and no sons.

On top of the world

Here’s another publicity photo from the photo page of the November 21 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Greta Nissen (1906-1988) started her performing career as a ballerina, appearing on Broadway in 1924, and then appeared in a number of films between 1923 and 1928. She was originally cast as the lead in Howard Hughes’ Hell’s Angels, but was paid off and removed from the film when it was converted from a silent film to a talkie, as she was playing the part of a British aristocrat and spoke with a noticeable Norwegian accent.

Her Wikipedia page does not mention her joining a Rochester stock company. But it does show that she appeared in no movies between 1928 and 1931, and that her career restarted after that. She appeared in a number of pictures between 1931 and 1937, after which she retired from movie acting.

In 1941, she married Stuart D. Eckert, an industrialist. They remained married until she passed away in 1988. At the time of her death, she was still receiving fan mail.

Commercial artists’ model

Fair warning: we’re going to be spending the next few days in the world of November 21 1931, as that day’s Toronto Daily Star had a lot of interesting (or at least mildly interesting) articles and photographs. Here’s a photograph from that day’s edition:

It’s just a trick of how the photograph was translated to print, then translated to microfiche, and then digitized, but Ms. Boardman’s face looks more modern than 1931 to me.

Eleanor Boardman (1898-1991) had just about finished her film career by the time this photograph was taken. She appeared in only one movie after 1931: The Three-Cornered Hat (1935), in which she played the miller’s wife.

She was married to director King Vidor from 1926 to 1933; she then married the French screenwriter and director Harry d’Abbadie d’Arrast in 1940. They stayed married until he passed away in 1968. After his death, she moved to California and lived in a house that she designed.

“Buzz” Boll

Here’s a photograph from the November 16 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

If Frank “Buzz” Boll (1911-1990) looks young in this picture, it’s because he was young: he was 23 and in his second year as a Maple Leaf. He went on to a long career in the NHL, playing with the Leafs until 1939 and in the league until 1944.

His most memorable accomplishment was probably when he scored seven goals in nine playoff games in the 1935-1936 season; this was a record at the time. He also scored a playoff goal after 31 seconds of overtime, which was also a record.

Glamorous star

Here’s an ad from the November 16 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming performance at Massey Hall.

Unlike some other Massey Hall ads from around this time, this one featured the performer’s full name. Bernice Claire (1906-2003) was a singer and actress who appeared in 13 movies between 1930 and 1938; she was more successful in films where she was asked to sing. She later moved to Portland, Oregon, and died a few days before her 97th birthday.

On a bicycle for two

Here’s a photograph from the November 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two British industrialists on a tandem bicycle.

William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield (1877-1963) made a fortune selling Morris motor vehicles and then proceeded to give lots of it away. The grant mentioned here was used to found Nuffield College, the first co-educational college at Oxford.

Unfortunately, the contract to build airplane engines mentioned in this photo caption didn’t work out. When given the contract, Nuffield claimed that his factories could produce 60 Spitfires a week. But, by May 1940, when airplanes were most needed, they hadn’t produced any. When Lord Beaverbrook was placed in charge of aircraft production, Nuffield was fired.

On the other hand, Nuffield offered to give an iron lung to any hospital in the British Empire that wanted one; over 1700 took him up on his offer. So I guess you win some and you lose some.

Harold Bowden (1880-1960) set his sights a little lower in life, possibly because he was a second-generation industrialist: his father, Frank Bowden, founded Raleigh Bicycles in 1887, after a health scare prompted him to take up cycling. The younger Bowden seems to have been a capable steward of his father’s company: he was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1929, and he got his own page in the Cycling Weekly’s Golden Book of Cycling in 1938.