Essay composition

The December 28 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this advertisement from the Consumers’ Gas Company, which was a prize-winning essay from an 11-year-old girl. (The ad was in a single column – I’ve converted to two columns to reduce scrolling.)

I enjoyed reading this essay very much, actually – especially the ending, where Mr. Citizen is dreaming of his Hero, the inventor of the Autohot Gas Storage Water Heater. It was also interesting to note, from our modern perspective, that having a hot bath every morning was seen as a distant ideal in 1926.

I was curious, so I looked the Macnamara family up in the Toronto city directories. The 1926 directory lists William R. Macnamara as an accountant and living at 16 Alberta Avenue. He remained there until 1937; subsequent city directories list him as a credit accountant and later as a subscription manager for Maclean’s magazine.

In 1938, he moved to unit 14, 448 Spadina Road in Forest Hill, and there is now a listing for E. Lorraine Macnamara at the same address. She was working as a switchboard operator at the Tandy Advertising Agency. She also appears in the 1939 and 1940 directories but not in the 1941 directory; a reasonable assumption is that she got married and thus disappeared from the directory listings.

William doesn’t appear in the 1941 directory either – I’m not sure whether he was just missing or whether he was involved in the war effort in some way. He does appear in the 1942 directory at unit 22, 2 Maplewood Road and still working at Maclean Publications, so perhaps he was moving and the directory just didn’t catch him. The 1945 directory lists him at unit 6, 45 Breadalbane Street; I didn’t trace him after that.

A search for Ms. Macnamara on the Internet turned up a lot of references to an ice dancer of the same name. But I did find this, which – if it is her – revealed that she died in 1971 at a too-early age.

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