Here’s a photo from the September 28 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a couple that had just gotten married.
Searches in the Toronto city directories revealed that the parents of the bride and groom were comfortably off: John A. MacIntosh was one of the partners of Macdonald & MacIntosh, barristers and solicitors, and Frank A. Rolph was the president of both the Imperial Bank and Rolph-Clark-Stone, a lithography and printing firm. (Their workplace, at 201 Carlaw Avenue, was eventually converted to condominiums but still stands. The firm name is clearly visible in the remnant of the old building.)
I traced the Rolphs, father and son, since they had an easy-to-locate surname. By 1938, Frank A. Rolph was just the president of Rolph-Clark-Stone, having given up his side banking gig. He was listed in the 1941 directory as Chairman of the Board. In 1942, his widow, Grace, was listed at their Inglewood Drive address; she was not listed in 1943.
Gordon G. Rolph went into the family firm: he started out as a salesman, but by 1948 was the assistant sales director. In 1958, he was the director of the lithography division; in 1964, he was president and general manager. By 1969, the last year in which Toronto city directories were available online, he too was now the Chairman of the Board. He didn’t stay in Moore Park for long – by 1938, he too had moved to a house in Forest Hill.
Here’s a photo from the September 28 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an airplane being pulled from the sea.
George Stainforth (1899-1942) was a British pilot who had briefly held the world speed record in September 1929. His first attempt to break the record in mid-September 1931 resulted in his sinking his plane due to what Wikipedia referred to as a “minor taxiing accident”, shown here. The day after this photo appeared in the paper, Stainforth tried again in another copy of the plane, becoming the first pilot ever to reach 400 mph. On a different flight, he also set a record by flying upside down for 12 minutes.
After setting his records, Stainforth became a squadron leader in the Royal Air Force. He was killed in action near the Gulf of Suez in 1942 and was buried with full military honours in Egypt.
Here’s a photo from the September 28 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a western Canadian archery golf enthusiast.
Phillip Moore (1879-1951) was a collegiate athletic champion in the United States before marrying a woman from Banff and settling there. He commanded the 1st Battalion Alberta Regiment during the First World War. The Royal Canadian Legion branch number 26 is named after him and there is a photo of a fund raising badge for the branch. I also found a photo of him with his horse.
A search for “archery golf” didn’t turn up all that much. The Oregon Historical Society has photos of archery golf enthusiasts from 1923. And, naturally, the Archery Trade Association suggests challenging your customers to a round of archery golf.
Here’s an advertisement from the September 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a magazine that featured an article on the Prince of Wales.
Of course, the Prince of Wales did eventually marry – and his marriage cost him his throne.
Frazier Hunt (1885-1967) was an American radio announcer, writer, and war correspondent. He wrote a number of historical biographies; his subjects included Douglas MacArthur, Billy the Kid, and General George Armstrong Custer. He bought a ranch in southern Alberta in the 1930s, which is where he met the prince; apparently, he taught the prince to play poker.
Liberty magazine was published from 1924 to 1950 (with a brief revival in 1971). At its peak, it had the second-highest circulation of any magazine in the United States, trailing only the Saturday Evening Post. The magazine specified a “reading time” for each of its articles; this was apparently calculated by a member of the editorial staff, who carefully measured the amount of time it took him to read an article and then doubled it.
Here is a photo from the September 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two political leaders who planned to join forces to try to stop Adolf Hitler’s attempt to annex the Saar region into Germany.
The German edition of Wikipedia has entries on both Friedrich Pfordt (1900-1957) and Max Braun (1892-1945). Their joint attempt to maintain the independence of the Saar failed, as the January plebiscite led to its rejoining Germany.
Pfordt separated from the Communist party in 1939 and was interned in Sweden during the Second World War. After the war, he worked with an organization that was attempting to return the Saar to France.
Braun fled after the plebiscite, seeking exile first in France and then in Britain. where he continued to work with anti-Nazi groups. He apparently died of a blood clot after standing on his head. The New York Times ran his obituary. There is footage of him on YouTube speaking about the Saar in 1934.
My searches first turned up a different Max Braun who won a silver medal for the United States in the 1904 Olympics in the tug-of-war event. This Max Braun outlived his namesake by over two decades, possibly because he didn’t stand on his head.
Blake pitched a total of ten years in the majors: a brief trial with Pittsburgh at the age of 20, eight years with the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies from 1924 to 1931, and periods of time with both St. Louis clubs in 1937. He had trouble finding the strike zone: in his year as a Maple Leaf in 1934, he walked 130 batters in 229 innings.
Blake pitched in the minors until he was 40. The Society for American Baseball Research has a detailed article on him.
Heving played in the major leagues for eight seasons: one at-bat with the St. Louis Browns in 1920, as a backup catcher for the Boston Red Sox in 1924 and 1925, and again as a backup catcher for the Sox and then for the Philadelphia Athletics from 1928 to 1932. He hit only one home run in his entire major league career.
Heving then played in the minors until 1939, including two more stretches with the Maple Leafs, and became the player-manager of the Salisbury Giants of the class-D North Carolina State League from 1940 to 1942. After the war, he managed the Tallassee Indians of the Georgia-Alabama League in 1946, putting himself into 11 games at the age of 50 (and batting .364 while doing so). In 1949, he managed the similarly-named Tallahassee Pirates of the Georgia-Florida league, which was the last of his career in baseball.
Here’s a photo from the September 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming appearance of a popular orchestra.
This was apparently the first time that there was dancing at Maple Leaf Gardens!
Eddy Duchin (1909-1951) was originally a pharmacist before joining the orchestra for the Central Park Casino nightclub in New York as its piano player. He became popular and took over the leadership of the orchestra in 1932. Regular radio broadcasts boosted his popularity and record sales.
In 1938, Duchin released a version of Louis Armstrong’s “Ol’ Man Mose” in which vocalist Patricia Norman sings the word “bucket” in such a way that it sounds like “fuck it”. Naturally, Duchin denied any vulgarity, but the controversy caused sales of the single to zoom: it sold 170,000 copies at a time when 20,000 copies was huge. (YouTube has the song here – when I listened to it, I found that what I heard depended on what I was expecting to hear. It can be interpreted either way.) The record was banned in Britain.
When the Second World War broke out, Duchin became a combat officer in a destroyer squadron. After the war, he was unable to regain his former popularity. He died of leukemia in 1951. In 1956, a movie of his life, The Eddy Duchin Story, was released; his son, Peter Duchin, also a bandleader and piano player, criticized the movie for heavily fictionalizing his parents’ lives.
Here’s a photograph from the September 20 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a federal Liberal Party candidate with the (Liberal) Premier of Ontario and the federal Liberal leader.
Wilson Mills (1882-1955) did indeed win the Elgin West by-election, which was held four days after this photo appeared. The by-election was necessary because Mitchell Hepburn had resigned the seat to move to provincial politics. The Elgin West riding was merged into the Elgin riding after this, and Mills won the election in the new riding in 1935 and 1940.
Mills retired from politics when he chose not to run in the 1945 election. When not in politics, he was a farmer and apple grower. He seems to have been associated with nothing particularly memorable or scandalous.