Plays sub-par golf

Here’s a brief article from the August 31 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a golfer who had a good front nine at the U.S. national amateur golf championship.

(Aside: it’s fascinating that “sub-par” is good in golf, but bad when used in any other context.)

Jack Westland (1904-1982) wound up qualifying for the match-play portion of the U.S. Amateur championship and then made it to the quarterfinals. He eventually won the tournament in 1952.

When not golfing, he was a politician: he served in the House of Representatives in the state of Washington as a Republican for six terms from 1952 to 1964. He voted in favour of the Civil Rights Acts of 1957, 1960, and 1964.

Dark horse in baby derby

Here’s an article from the Toronto Daily Star about a 24-year-old woman who had given birth to ten children:

The contest being referred to here is the Great Stork Derby, which lasted from 1926 to 1936. Charles Vance Millar was a wealthy lawyer, financier, racehorse owner, and part-owner of O’Keefe Brewery. When he passed away in 1926, he did not have any immediate heirs, so he decided to be capricious with his will. Among other things:

  • He left a vacation property in Kingston, Jamaica, to three men that he knew couldn’t stand one another. (The property had been sold before he passed away, so the men didn’t have to endure each other’s company.)
  • Every practicing Protestant ministry and Orange Lodge in Toronto was left a share of O’Keefe stock. O’Keefe was primarily owned by Catholics.
  • A number of Christian ministries in the Windsor and other areas were left a share of racetrack stock.

But the most capricious clause in his will left a considerable share of his fortune to the woman who bore the most babies during the next ten years. Thus, the Great Stork Derby was on.

The Historicist web site has a long article on the Great Stork Derby. The $500,000 prize money offered to the winner was eventually shared by four women: two of them, Lucy Timleck and Kathleen Nagle, were on the list above. $125,000 in 1936 is equivalent to over $2.6 million in today’s money, so this was quite a haul.

The mysterious Mrs. X mentioned in the Daily Star article was actually named Pauline Mae Clarke. She and one mother mentioned in the article, Lillian Kenny, settled out of court when at least one of their children was ruled ineligible for the contest.

After speed record

Here’s a photograph from the August 25 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a man who was designing a plane that he hoped would set a speed record.

Harry Crosby went on to sustain serious back injuries when testing his CR-3 plane (which might have been this one). Undeterred, he designed the CR-4 plane while recovering, and finished in third place in the 1939 Greve Trophy race, part of the National Air Races. His plane was unofficially clocked at 386 mph in one test flight, which would have given him the record.

Crosby later flew as a test pilot for Northrop, and was killed in 1945 when testing the Northrop XP-79 flying wing fighter aircraft, which was later abandoned. His CR-4 plane was featured in the movie Tail Spin (1939). YouTube has two excerpts from this film:

  • Constance Bennett and Joan Davis smoking in three clips, one of which appears to feature Crosby’s plane.
  • Alice Faye singing “Are You In The Mood For Mischief”.

Go to sleep, my baby

Here’s a photo from the August 25 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a singer who had just become a mother.

The Boswell Sisters were Martha (1905-1958), Connie (1907-1976), and Helvetia “Vet” Boswell (1911-1988). By the time of this photo, they had split up as a performing act; they had made their last recording earlier in the year. Connie, who was unable to walk, due most likely to polio or a go-kart accident (she used both stories at times), continued as a solo artist. She eventually changed her first name to Connee, apparently because this was an easier name to use when signing autographs.

The sisters were extremely successful on radio during the early 1930s, and were an influence on other close-harmony recording artists that followed them, such as the Andrews Sisters. A number of recordings of them can be found on YouTube, including this film clip of them singing “Crazy People” in 1932.

I couldn’t figure out what Vet Boswell was doing in Toronto in 1936. She and her sisters weren’t Canadian, and there’s no evidence to suggest that she settled here. She wouldn’t have been touring with her sisters, as they had split up as a group.

At any rate, since her daughter was born in Canada, the daughter would have been a Canadian citizen. Since her married name was Jones and her husband’s first name was not provided, it was not possible to trace her in the Toronto city directories.

Radio commission artists enjoy holiday

Here’s one last photo from the August 18 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, which has been a useful source of material:

I searched for the names of the radio artists listed here:

  • Wishart Campbell (1905-1983) has an entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia. He was known as The Golden Voice of the Air, and was active until 1960, when he retired to the Hebrides. He released a number of singles in the 1950s and recorded an album, A Campbell Comes Home, in 1960.
  • The only thing I could find on Beatrice Morson was that she appeared in a Broadway show in 1928.
  • I could find nothing at all on Billie Bell.

Woman must face murder trial

Here’s a photograph from the August 18 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman who was about to go on trial for murder.

A search for Rose Cadeau turned up only one other reference to her, and I didn’t find out whether she was convicted of murder.

But I can tell you that she was not sentenced to death, thanks to this useful (and macabre) resource in the Canadian government archives, which I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned before: a list, in alphabetical order, of every Canadian who was sentenced to death. The list also includes whether the convicted person was actually executed or whether the sentence was commuted. If Mrs. Cadeau had been given the death penalty, she would have appeared between Byrnes and Calleja in the list.

So this is Hollywood!

Here’s yet another photograph from the August 18 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, this time of an Australian theatre impresario.

Ben Fuller (1875-1952) was born in London, and first appeared on the stage at the age of nine. His father moved to Australia in 1889, eventually bringing his family with him, and started building a chain of theatres, which his two sons took over in 1910.

Fuller appears not to have been mixed up in any noteworthy scandals during his lifetime. He was knighted by King George V in 1921, so he had been a Sir for twelve years by the time this photograph appeared.

European souvenir hunters

Here is a photograph from the August 18 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an actor who had lost 22 scarves to people seeking souvenirs:

Ramon Novarro (1899-1968) was born in Mexico, but moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1913 to escape a revolution. He became a huge box-office draw in the 1920s and 1930s, as he took over from Rudolph Valentino as a movie sex symbol.

Mr. Novarro never married Myrna Loy or anyone else. For a while, he was in a relationship with Herbert Howe, who was his publicist. The end of his life was a horrible tragedy: two brothers offered him their sexual services, allegedly tortured him for hours to get him to reveal where he kept his non-existent money, and left him to choke to death on his own blood.

Here comes the bride

Here’s a photo from the August 18 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a British runner who had just married a British walker.

Searches revealed that Miss V. Horwood appears to have been Virna Horwood, but I could find out little about them.

I turned up two photos of the happy couple (here and here) out exercising together in 1932; these photos appear to have been taken at the same photo shoot, as their clothing is identical in both. But I couldn’t find anything else. It didn’t help that I could not determine what J. E. Tosh’s first name was; perhaps he went through life without one.