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Reported betrothed

The photo page from the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star is turning out to be a useful source of material! Here’s another photo from that page, of a princess rumoured to be betrothed to a prince:

As it turned out, Princess Maria and the Prince of Asturias did not get married after all. From the princess’s point of view, this might have worked out for the best.

Alfonso, Prince of Asturias (1907-1938) has been mentioned in this blog before. He renounced his rights to the Spanish throne in 1933 when he decided to marry a commoner, Edelmira Sampedro y Robato. At this time, he was given the courtesy title of Count of Cavadonga. He eventually divorced, remarried and divorced again, and moved to the United States. In 1938, shortly after stating that he would be happy to become the King of Spain if someone asked him to (no one did), he died in a car accident from internal bleeding, as he was a hemophiliac. The driver of the car, Mildred Gaydon, was charged with manslaughter but eventually freed.

By the time Princess Maria Francesca of Savoy (1914-2001) finally got married, Alfonso had already passed away. Her groom was Prince Luigi of Bourbon-Parma; they married in 1939 and had four children. Except for being interned by the Nazis during the Second World War, nothing particularly memorable happened to her. (Her husband doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page of his own!) She stuck around until the dawn of the 21st century, outliving her husband by over 34 years and her former alleged betrothed prince by nearly 63 years.

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Riding in ancient gilded coach

Here’s a photo from the picture page of the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that features a princess in an ancient gilded coach.

Princess Elsa Lichtenstein (1875-1947), born Elisabeth von Gutmann, was already a widow when she met Prince Franz of Lichtenstein in 1914. It was something of a May-December romance, as the Prince was more than two decades older than she.

The prince’s older brother, Prince Johann, who had been ruling Lichtenstein since 1858, disapproved of his younger brother’s new flame. Despite this, the two married secretly in 1919 and remarried openly in 1929 when Franz succeeded his childless brother as ruler.

The Princess remained the first lady of Lichtenstein until 1938, when three things happened more or less at the same time:

  • Her husband abdicated in favour of his grandnephew.
  • Her husband then passed away.
  • Neighbouring Austria was annexed by the Nazis.

Since the Princess had been born Jewish before converting to Roman Catholicism in 1899, she prudently fled to exile in Switzerland, where she passed away nine years later.

Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (1717-1780), the woman that Princess Elsa was portraying, ruled the Habsburg empire from 1740 to 1780 while giving birth to the last fourteen of her seventeen children. She was, technically, the last of the Habsburgs: she was succeeded as ruler by her eldest son, Joseph, who founded what became known as the House of Lorraine. The second-last of Maria Theresa’s children was Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France.

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To sample life in Orient

Here’s a short article from the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star discussing a new posting for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s daughter and her husband.

In this article, I’m not sure whether “pompous marriage” was intended as a slight, or whether it was a literal description of a ceremony that involved a lot of pomp. Either way, there were 4000 guests at the wedding, so it was a major event.

After moving to Shanghai, the young couple remained there long enough for Mrs. Ciano to give birth to their son, Fabrizio Ciano. In 1932, they returned to Italy, where Galeazzo Ciano (1903-1944) became Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1943, he became an opponent of his father-in-law, for which he was arrested, charged with treason, and executed.

Edda Ciano (1910-1995) escaped to Switzerland disguised as a peasant woman, carrying her deceased husband’s wartime diaries with her. They were published, and are considered an important historical source. After the war, she was sentenced to two years in prison for having helped the Fascists do Fascist things. She wrote an autobiography that was published in 1975, and she passed away in Italy twenty years later.

The Cianos’ son, the aforementioned Fabrizio Ciano, wrote a memoir of his own, titled Quando Il Nonno Fece Fucilare Papà, which translates as “When Grandpa Had Daddy Shot”. He passed away in 2008.

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Small moustaches

When looking at the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, I noticed that small moustaches must have been in fashion. I found two photographs of men wearing what would now seem like very unusual facial hair. Presumably, this facial style disappeared when Adolf Hitler, who wore a similar moustache, became prominent.

The first of these men was a victim of a horrible tragedy:

I found Lorne H. Webb in the 1930 Toronto city directory – he was working as a hairdresser before drowning less than a week from his wedding day. All I can do, over 90 years later, is express condolences and briefly bring back his memory.

The second man with a small moustache was someone aspiring to become a politician:

W. Garfield Case (1898-1959) did not win the Dufferin and South Simcoe seat in the 1930 election. He later moved to Owen Sound, becoming president of the Owen Sound Liberal Association.

At some point, he must have become disgruntled with the Liberals, as he ran for office in Grey North in 1940 for the National Liberal Progressive party, finishing third. He became mayor of Owen Sound in 1942, winning again in 1943 and 1944.

He tried again to enter Parliament in a 1945 by-election, running for the Progressive Conservatives against Andrew McNaughton, who had just been appointed Minister of Defense. Case won in an upset, and then held his seat in the next full election held later that year. He was defeated in 1949 and lost again in 1953. (In the 1945 election, McNaughton tried to win again from a riding in Saskatchewan and lost, forcing him to resign his ministerial post.)

Case appears to have come to an end almost as tragic as that of poor Mr. Webb. His Wikipedia page reports that he was admitted to Sunnybrook Hospital in 1959 for psychiatric treatment, and then passed away two months later, one day before his 61st birthday. This page provides more details on his life, along with photos of a couple of items that appear to have belonged to him.

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Leg broken in motor crash

The June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this short article about an unfortunate motorcycle police officer who broke his leg in a collision.

Naturally, I was curious about Motorcycle Officer Wrigglesworth, so I looked him up in the Toronto city directories. Sure enough, I found him in the 1930 directory as George Wrigglesworth, working as a police constable in Station 2 and living at 133 Montgomery.

By 1935, Officer Wrigglesworth had moved to 181 Woburn Avenue, where he remained for some time. He was listed as being in the police force up until 1942, and then had no listed occupation from 1943 to 1947. By 1949, he had started a new career as a splicer’s helper with Bell, eventually becoming a splicer himself. The 1960 directory still lists him at Bell and now living at 30 Marsha Drive in Agincourt; I didn’t trace him after that.

It was not possible to trace M. Orth, the man or woman whose car collided with the unfortunate officer, as Islington was not listed in the Toronto city directory in 1930. I couldn’t find an M. Orth in the 1935 directory either.

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Match sprint race today

Here’s one last picture from the photo page of the June 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring two champion athletes.

Frank Wykoff (1909-1980) was an Olympic gold medal winner in the 4 x 100 relay in 1928, 1932, and 1936. He later became a teacher in Los Angeles. A slogan of his, “Clean Speech, Clean Sport, Clean Scholarship, Clean Life,” was adopted by the YMCA.

Searching for Olive Hatch was difficult because the search turned up a lot of fishing-related entries. I couldn’t find any entries on a swimmer by that name, but I did find an actress and writer named Olive Hatch who was about the right age. I have no way of knowing whether they are different people or whether the caption is wrong about this Ms. Hatch’s line of work.

Wykoff’s match sprint opponent, Percy Williams (1908-1982), became famous in Canada when he won the 100 and 200 metre dash events at the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam. Approximately 25,000 people turned out to welcome him back home to Vancouver.

By the time of this match sprint, Williams was past his prime, having torn a tendon at the British Empire Games in 1930. In later years, he became an insurance agent.

Unfortunately, Williams’ life ended in tragedy:

  • In 1980, he gave away his gold medals to the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame, only to have them stolen a few weeks later.
  • Williams had been living with his mother all of his life (he never married), and she passed away in 1980 at the age of 92.
  • In 1982, Williams shot himself with a gun he had been awarded as a prize for his 1928 heroics. He left no note.
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Attracted more attention

Here’s a photo from the photo page of the June 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, of a young woman who attracted more attention at Belmont race track than anyone else:

A search didn’t turn up much, though I did find a reference to a New York Times article that stated that Ms. Coe was to be honoured at a party on the eve of her wedding.

I also found her Find a Grave entry, which informed me that, in 1934, Ms. Coe married Commendatore Leonardo Vitetti from the Italian embassy. She had three older brothers and outlived all of them, passing away in 1987 at the age of 77.

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Foils thug

The June 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a photo and an article about a man who prevented an armed robbery of his service station.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to definitely locate Henry Bingham, the heroic gas station attendant. (“Gas station attendant” appears to have been a hazardous occupation.) The 1931 directory does not list him, and the 1931 and 1932 directories state that the occupant of 1213 Dufferin was John A. Whitten, a bricklayer.

The 1932 directory does list a Henry Bingham who was working as a carpenter and living in Scarborough. If this was the same man, I don’t blame him for moving far away from gas stations and thugs with guns. He wasn’t in the 1935 directory, which I checked at random, so perhaps he just wandered on down the road somewhere.

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Sharp newsie

Here’s an article from the June 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a 17-year-old boy who sold papers and magazines at the corner of Bay and Richmond:

Out of curiosity, I traced Max Brandwein in the Toronto city directories. He wasn’t listed in the 1931 directory, but I did find him later. At roughly five-year intervals:

  • 1937: no listed occupation (this doesn’t necessarily mean that he was unemployed, of course)
  • 1942: employee, CPR
  • 1947: news agent, CPR
  • 1952: no listed occupation
  • 1957, 1962: waiter, Ford Hotel
  • 1969 (the last year for which I have access): no listed occupation
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Pulls gun, chases wife’s friend

Here’s a short article from the June 18 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that featured a bit of society drama:

Cornelius Vanderbilt IV (1898-1974) spent his life caught between a rock and a hard place. Because he became a newspaper publisher, he was cast out from the high society into which he was born. But because he came from a wealthy and privileged background, he didn’t fit in with ordinary people either.

Vanderbilt (who was often referred to as Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr., and whose family and friends called him Neil) served in the First World War as a driver. (He got the post because he knew how to drive a Rolls-Royce.) After the war, he started several unsuccessful newspapers, and made an anti-Nazi film titled Hitler’s Reign of Terror in 1934. It was the first anti-Nazi film ever made.

Vanderbilt was not lucky in love: he married a total of seven times (though his last marriage lasted from 1967 until his death). The Mrs. Vanderbilt mentioned in this article was wife number two: she was Mrs. Mary Weir Logan when she married Vanderbilt in 1928, and she had obtained a divorce from Mr. Logan a half an hour before their wedding. (Mr. Logan later became penniless and eventually committed suicide.) The couple divorced in August 1931, shortly after she had been spotted in the company of Mr. Arno. She passed away in 1984.

Peter Arno (1904-1968) created cartoons and cover pages for The New Yorker from 1925, the year that the magazine was founded, until he passed away. Vanity Fair magazine has a long article describing Arno’s life, which was apparently not dull.