Canada’s golf ambassadors

Here’s a photo from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of three Canadian golfers who were about to go to Britain to participate in matches there.

The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Golf Qu├ębec websites have entries on Gordon Baxter Taylor (1909-1999). He was successful in golf competitions for quite some time: among other things, he was the 1932 Canadian amateur champion and the 1968 Quebec senior men’s champion.

Ross Somerville (1903-1991) has previously appeared in this blog. He was the first Canadian to win the U.S. Amateur title, achieving this feat in 1932.

Daniel “Bud” Donovan (1914-2007) has a smaller footprint on the Internet, but I did find his obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press. From this, I learned that a total of eight Canadian golfers went to Britain in 1935.

Young musicians

Sometimes I save pictures from old newspapers even though I have no way of tracing them, just because I find pictures of people from so long ago so fascinating. As examples, here are a couple of photographs of young musicians and singers from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

First, two high school girls from Hamilton:

And two singers from Waterford, Ontario:

All four of these young people are long gone, of course, unless one of them has managed to make it to the age of about 105. But they might have children, grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren who are alive. Or they might be gone and forgotten.

Sees baseball game

Here’s a photograph from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of the Prime Minister of Britain’s daughter at a baseball game in the United States.

The journalistic convention of the time was, at least sometimes, to refer to the Prime Minister as the “premier”.

Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937) was the Prime Minister of Britain in 1924 and again from 1929 to 1935, resigning his office a little over a month after the above photograph due to ill-health. He fathered six children; the oldest, David, died of diphtheria in 1910. His wife, Margaret, passed away in 1911 of blood poisoning; Sheila was their youngest child and less than a year old.

Sheila was travelling with her father on board the ocean liner MV Reina del Pacifico on a South American voyage when he passed away in 1937. She married Andrew Lochhead in 1948; the couple had three children. She passed away in 1994.

Wrecked by motor car

The fence surrounding Osgoode Hall is now over 150 years old. But some of it needed to be replaced and repaired in 1935, as reported in the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

The article claims that a gate into the grounds was constructed to keep cattle out, which is something that I had always believed, but the Osgoode Hall Wikipedia page claims that this is an urban myth.

The same issue also contained a plea from the Government of Ontario for everybody to drive more safely:

It appears that driving was more dangerous in 1935 than it is today. There were 512 automotive fatalities in 1934, according to this ad, whereas there were 359 fatalities in 2022 when there were far more drivers on the road. The 2022 total represented a worrying increase, though, as there were 315 fatalities in 2021.


Here’s a photo from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a lobbyist for shipbuilding companies:

A search revealed a few links to information about Mr. Shearer:

  • A TIME magazine article from 1929 that describes his efforts in more detail. Shearer eventually sued the three shipbuilding companies who employed him as a lobbyist: he had been paid $51,230 and claimed that he was owed $257,655.
  • A speech from President Herbert Hoover that discussed Shearer’s efforts to impede disarmament proceedings.
  • Press photos of him from 1929 and 1932.
  • Video footage of him and his lawyer from 1929.
  • He wrote a novel in 1926.

I couldn’t find any record of him that was later than the photo above. William B. Shearer is not to be confused with William L. Shirer, who wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Face murder charge

Here’s an article from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a man and a woman on trial for murder.

Alma Rattenbury (1897 or 1898-1935) had lived an eventful life before meeting Francis Rattenbury. Born in Toronto, she played with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as a young woman. She married a relative of the Earl of Caledon in 1914; he fought in the First World War and was killed in action in 1916. After his death, she served as a hospital orderly in France and was wounded twice.

She married and divorced Thomas Packenham before meeting and marrying Francis Rattenbury, a British architect who settled in British Columbia in 1891. He designed the province’s Parliament buildings, which were opened in 1898. After she gave birth to their son in 1928, the couple lived on separate floors of their house in Bournemouth, England.

George Stoner was 17 years old when he was employed by the Rattenburys as a servant and chauffeur. He and Mrs. Rattenbury became lovers; her husband knew of and tolerated the affair.

Both Stoner and Mrs. Rattenbury pleaded not guilty to her husband’s murder. He was convicted but she was acquitted after only an hour of deliberation. (Trigger warning ahead.) Four days after being set free, on June 4 1935, she committed suicide by stabbing herself repeatedly.

Stoner was sentenced to death before his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released after seven years and went off to fight in the Second World War. He passed away in 2000.

The most beautiful dry-cleaning

Here’s the third and last of the dry cleaning ads from the April 18 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

As I discovered two days ago, United Cleaners & Dyers and DeForest Cleaners & Dyers were run by the same person. Both had ads in that day’s paper, so they were competing with themselves. DeForest appeared to be aimed at more bargain-conscious shoppers, whereas United looks like they were a bit more upscale. Eventually, the two firms merged, so they would have started putting only one ad in the paper, I assume.

58 cents cleaning

Here’s another ad from the April 18 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a dry cleaning service:

When I traced A & P Cleaners in the Toronto city directories, I discovered that the firm had previously existed under another name: the 1937 and 1938 directories listed Harvey White as the proprietor of Clean-Rite Limited, a dry cleaning and dying firm located at 423-425 Jane Street. The 1939 directory still lists Clean-Rite, but it also lists A & P Cleaners at 423-425 Jane and at a second location, 368 Broadview Avenue, also with Harvey White as the proprietor. I assume that the new firm name was picked because it would be first in the alphabetical listings of cleaners.

The 1944 directory continued to list Clean-Rite at 423-425 Jane, but showed A & P Cleaners as expanding: there were now eight locations in the city. The 1949 directory showed 10 branches and the 1959 directory showed 11. After this, the chain went into a bit of a decline, as the 1960 directory listed eight branches and the 1961 directory listed only four. Sadly, this might have been because Mr. White was having health problems: the 1962 directory lists no entries for A & P Cleaners and shows Mrs. J. White as the president of Clean-Rite Limited.

One price cleaning

The April 18 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a number of ads for dry cleaning services. Here’s one of them:

I looked up DeForest Cleaners and Dyers in the Toronto city directories and discovered that it had been sold not too long before. The 1935 directory lists Arthur Treleaven as the president and general manager of DeForest Cleaners and Dyers, but the 1936 directory lists it as being owned by S. and J. Rusonik, who turned out to be the father and son team of Solomon and Julius Rusonik.

The Rusoniks also owned a chain of cleaning services, United Cleaners and Dyers, which had a total of five branches in the city as of 1936. By 1937, Solomon had passed on and Julius controlled the firm. By 1941, he had merged the two names, forming United & DeForest Cleaners and Dyers; the merged firm had six branches.

In 1948, the firm was called United DeForest Cleaners and Dyers, and it had 11 branches throughout the city. By 1954, the number of branches had expanded dramatically – there were now 49 branches. At that point, Mr. Rusonik decided to cut way back, or perhaps his finances forced him to – the 1955 directory lists him with only one location, at 315 Yonge. I saw no evidence that he had sold out to another chain.

He remained at 315 Yonge, with a single United DeForest Cleaners location, at least until 1969, which is the latest directory that I can access online. A search turned up a photograph of him from 1972 with the caption “Quitting before I pop off”, which suggests that this is when he decided to retire.

Joan approves sister’s match

Here’s a photograph from the April 18 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two sisters, one of whom was about to marry a son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt:

John Roosevelt (1916-1981) was the youngest son of Franklin Roosevelt and was the most business-oriented. He remained apolitical while his father was alive, but became a Republican after his father’s death. In 1952, he supported Dwight Eisenhower’s run for president, which caused considerable friction in his family. In later years, he developed interests in uranium and managed the Teamsters’ pension fund.

I could find very little on the former Anne Clark, except that she and Roosevelt divorced in 1965 after parenting four children. After the divorce, she moved to Spain to live with an ex-wife of his brother. She passed away in 1973.