Bermuda’s new governor

Here’s a photo from the May 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of the next governor of Bermuda.

Reginald Hildyard (1876-1965) was a career British army officer who served in the Boer War and the First World War. At the time of this article, he was a Lieutenant General; he was promoted to full general in 1938. He was governor of Bermuda from 1936 to 1939.

He also was a racist, as he supported the Bermuda government’s plan to introduce birth control clinics for what was then referred to as the “Negro” population. This and his military achievements were all that was memorable about him.

Today’s their birthday

The May 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star covered the Dionne quintuplets’ second birthday in some detail. But it also included a photograph of a set of triplets who were having their second birthday that day as well:

Needless to say, these triplets were fraternal, not identical, as there were two boys and one girl.

I tried searching for information on the Chisholm triplets, but turned up mostly information on a couple named Nick and Nicola Chisholm who became parents of triplets in 2020. They were noteworthy because Nick Chisholm, who is the brother of the host of Survivor NZ, has locked-in syndrome after suffering a series of strokes after a rugby match.

I did find an obituary for Herbert Chisholm, who passed away in 2008. At that time, the other two triplets were still alive.

Her hands keep smooth and white

Here’s an ad from the May 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention because it contained a testimonial from an actual person.

As usual, I was curious, so I tried to trace Mrs. Margaret Cameron in the Toronto city directories. Unfortunately, married women are never listed, but I discovered in the 1936 directory that 2001 Bloor Street West was the Ellis Park Apartments, and that a Fred J. Cameron lived in unit 401. Cross-referencing to the Names section of the directory yielded that he was working as a clerk at Confederation Life. (The Ellis Park Apartments still stand.)

When looking people up in the city directories, I have discovered that people who work for insurance companies tend to remain there, and such was the case with Mr. Cameron. He remained a clerk at Confederation Life through 1948, moving from his apartment to 539 Windermere Avenue and then to 16 Meadowcrest Road in Kingsway Park. The 1949 directory doesn’t list him or his widow, and 16 Meadowcrest Road has someone else listed, so my guess is that the Camerons moved out of town.

The Goldbergs, the show mentioned in this ad, appeared on radio from 1929 to 1946 and on television from 1949 to 1956. It was the second-longest running 15-minute serial comedy in radio history, second only to Amos ‘n’ Andy.

Second birthday

May 28 1936 was the second birthday of the Dionne quintuplets, and that day’s edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained several articles and ads commemorating this birthday.

There was a small article on the front page, continuing on to page 9, that pointed out that the Dionnes were the first quintuplets in human history to survive. Before them, 33 sets of quintuplets had been born, and all had passed away.

Greg Clark (1892-1977), the author of this article, went on to have a distinguished career in journalism, becoming one of the first Officers of the Order of Canada in 1967.

Next, there was a chart of the five babies’ weights over the course of their lifetimes:

The quintuplets were very aggressively marketed, including on their birthday. Here’s an ad for Libby’s baby food:

And an ad for Lysol:

And an ad for Carnation tinned milk:

Last but not least, the front page of the second section of the paper contained a photograph of the quints, each with her own birthday cake:

Two of the five quintuplets remain alive today: Annette and Cécile. Émilie passed away in 1954, Marie in 1970, and Yvonne in 2001.

Pierre Berton’s The Dionne Years, published in 1977, is a good history of the Dionnes and their time. In 1965, the four surviving quintuplets and co-author James Brough wrote We Were Five, a scathing indictment of their childhood and how they were exploited.

Buck Jones, film cowboy

Here’s another photo from the May 23 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring actor Buck Jones on a horse.

Needless to say, Buck Jones (1891-1942) had taken a stage name for the movies; he was born Charles Frederick Gebhart. After two tours of duty in the U.S. Army, ending in 1913, the future Mr. Jones became a cowboy, then a bit player and stuntman in the movies, and then a star in his own right. He was featured in westerns from 1920 right up until his death.

Jones was one of the 492 victims of the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire in Boston on November 28, 1942 – the second-deadliest building fire in U.S. history. Some reports stated that he escaped the building, went back to help others, and was trapped; John Wayne, who listed Jones as his hero, was one of the people who believed this. The description of the events of the fire makes for horrifying reading.

Little Leslie Ruth

Here’s a photograph from the May 23 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an actor’s daughter who was visiting her father.

Little Leslie Ruth Howard’s father was Leslie Howard (1893-1943), a British actor who was a major star in the 1930s. After appearing in Gone With The Wind in 1939, he returned to Britain to help produce anti-German propaganda and provide support for the Allies. On June 1 1943, he was on a BOAC plane flying from Lisbon to Bristol that was shot down. Reports differ on whether Howard, who was considered a propaganda asset, was targeted; a recent book claimed that the Germans did not know who was on the aircraft, and that shooting down the aircraft was simply an error in judgement.

Leslie Ruth Howard (1924-2013) appeared in at least one of her father’s films (sources vary as to which), and appeared in documentaries about Howard and his downed flight. Her biography of her father,  A Quite Remarkable Father: A Biography of Leslie Howard, was published in 1959.

Two photos

As I’ve mentioned before, I never grow tired of photos from old Toronto newspapers. They were often provided by wire services, and featured people who were interesting but not necessarily well-known.

Sometimes, I am able to trace what happened to a person in a photograph, but sometimes I am not. (The caption for a photo often got the name wrong, which doesn’t help.) Here are two photographs from the May 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of people that I could not succeed in tracing.

First, there was Dolly Walsh, who was about to divorce her husband and take flying lessons:

I searched for everything I could think of, but no luck.

And there was this photo of Lucille Martin, who hiked across the country because she wanted to become a dancer:

Searches turned up a Lucille Martin who was gratefully acknowledged in a Wonderful World of Disney episode, but she was born in 1922, so this isn’t her. And there was a Lucille Martin in the chorus of a Broadway show, but this was in 1915, so this isn’t her either. 3000 miles is a long way.

Former rancher, now peer

The May 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this short article about a former Canadian rancher who was now living unhappily as a peer in England.

A search yielded a Wikipedia article about the Earls of Egmont and a Maclean’s article from 1951 about the 11th Earl, who was the son mentioned in this article. Between them, they tell quite a story.

The earldom of Egmont was originally an Irish peerage. In 1762, the second Earl of Egmont was created Baron Lovel and Holland, a British peerage, earning him a seat in the House of Lords. An additional British peerage, the baronetcy of Arden, also eventually became attached to the earldom of Egmont.

In 1929, the 9th Earl of Egmont passed away. His nearest heir was the man described in this article. He was 55 years old and a rancher in Priddis, Alberta, when he was informed that he was now the Earl of Egmont, and thus was entitled to live at the family estate, Avon Castle in Ringwood, Hampshire. (The Wikipedia article states that the 10th Earl’s claim to his earldom was not officially established during his lifetime. But he did get to live in the castle, so I would assume that he was generally considered the prime candidate.)

After thinking it over for a few days, the 10th Earl of Egmont headed off to his new home. The British press greeted him with no small measure of disdain, as he was not your typical Earl. To make things worse, he had to pay legal fees, as two other people attempted to claim the earldom. To pay these fees, he sold off a number of family paintings. The combined effects of all of this turned him and his son into hermits leading unhappy lives.

Unfortunately, things didn’t get better for the 10th Earl – they got worse, as he was killed in an auto accident near Southampton in 1932. A month later, his son, Frederick George Moore Perceval, became the 11th Earl of Egmont – or, to give him his full list of titles as mentioned in the Maclean’s article:

  • The 11th Earl of Egmont
  • Viscount Perceval of Kanturk
  • Baron Perceval of Burton
  • Baron Arden of Lohart Castle
  • Lord Lovel and Holland of Enmore
  • Baron Arden of Arden, 11th Baronet

The new 11th Earl decided that he would much rather be a farmer in Alberta than an Earl living in a castle. He sold off the castle, married the granddaughter of a superintendent of the North West Mounted Police, set up a farm that he named “Little Avon”, and settled down to what appears to have been a happy and prosperous life.

The 11th Earl of Egmont (his neighbours called him Freddie) lived for half a century after the Maclean’s article came out, passing away in 2001. His son, born in 1934, became the 12th Earl. He passed away in 2011; at this point, the earldom became extinct.

I found an obituary for the 12th Earl, which indicated that he had been a rancher in Nanton, Alberta, but did not mention that he was also an earl. According to the obituary, the 12th Earl was survived by a brother; I’m not sure why the brother didn’t become the 13th Earl, but perhaps he now needed to be a British citizen to be an earl. Or something. I’m not sure how this works these days.

I also found a photograph of the 10th Earl (the man in the original article above, if you’ve lost track). He looks like pretty much exactly what he was: a Prairie farmer who had been on the receiving end of a whole lot of surprises.

A model and a nice girl

Here’s an image that appeared on the photo page of the March 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

It’s fascinating that the caption referred to Ms. Bard as both a model and a nice girl.

The Red Cross poster referred to in this caption is based on a poster from 1918 titled “The Greatest Mother In The World”. The poster featuring Ms. Bard was eventually made into a United States stamp, which meant that, at one time, she was the only living woman whose face had appeared on a stamp.

Searches also turned up some other pictures and a video of Ms. Bard:

  • A better-quality version of the image in this photograph. The caption for this version states that Ms. Bard worked in her mother’s drug store in Queens.
  • A picture of her at a stove, from 1929. The caption for this photo stated that Ms. Bard didn’t smoke, didn’t stay up late, and cooked and cleaned for her parents. The caption also indicated that she was 22 at the time of the photo.
  • Newsreel footage of her cooking at the same stove and then posing as a nurse for the stamp.

I couldn’t find out anything else about Ms. Bard or what happened to her.

At left

Here’s a photo from the May 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an Italian opera star.

Claudia Muzio (1889-1936) had been an acclaimed opera star since 1913. She had already started experiencing health problems by the time of this photograph, and was also suffering from financial reverses brought on by the Great Depression. She passed away in a hotel in Rome; the cause of death was listed as heart failure.

There are a number of Claudia Muzio recordings on YouTube, including “Good Morning, Sue!” from 1918.