Feat of strength

Something a little different today: recently, I went to the Toronto Archives to view their exhibit of Toronto photographs from the 1920s. I recommend the exhibit if you’re into this sort of thing.

Here’s one photograph that caught my attention (I photographed it with my digital camera, which I was allowed to do, thankfully):


This photo was taken by a photographer named William James in 1922. The caption: “The beach at Hanlan’s Point has long been a destination for swimmers, sunbathers, and picknickers who are drawn to its scenic beaches and sand dunes. In this image, Fred H. Beasley of 324 Ontario Street, well-known locally for his demonstrations of strength, is seen executing a balancing stunt with the help of three unidentified women.”

Because I have access to online Toronto city directories, I looked Mr. Beasley up. Unless it’s two different people named Fred H. Beasley, I fear that he was not around too long: he is listed in the 1922 and 1923 directories at 324 Ontario, a Fred H. Beasley is listed at a different address in 1924 and 1925, and his widow is listed at that address in 1926.


Free pants!

When I was looking through the May 12 1922 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, it seemed like almost every clothes ad was offering free pants.

First off, there was Leeds Quality Tailoring, at 324 Yonge Street:


They have tremendous buying power!

Leeds Quality Tailoring isn’t listed in the 1922 city directory; it lists Aberdeen Woollen Mills at 324-326 Yonge. They are in the 1923 directory, but the 1924 directory lists this location as vacant, so they weren’t around for very long. Perhaps they gave away too many pants.

Down the street a ways, the Royal Tailors also offered free pants:


This firm was also a relative newcomer, as the 1922 directory listed Cecilian Company Limited, pianos, at this address. They lasted a little longer than Leeds Quality Tailoring, but by 1926 they had been replaced at 247 Yonge by Stirling Tailors.

If you keep moving south on Yonge, there’s Regent Tailors, also offering free pants:


Unlike the other two firms, Regent Tailors appears in the 1922 city directory. By 1924, they had relocated to 86-88 Richmond West and 167 1/2 Yonge. By 1930, they were at 468 Wellington West, but they didn’t make it through the Depression – they do not appear in the 1935 directory.

Perhaps the best solution was to offer suits without free pants, as Brass did:


We’ve met Brass before – like Regent Tailors, they didn’t make it through the Depression. The retail business was tough, I guess.


Gubernatorial honors

Here’s a photo from the May 12 1922 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featuring the first woman ever to run for governor of Kansas on the Republican ticket.


I have no idea whether she captured the Republican nomination, but I do know two things:

  • Jonathan M. Davis, a Democrat, was elected to the office in the 1922 election.
  • Mrs. Mowry did not have long to live: she passed away in August 1923 at the age of 65. (This article mentions that Miss Helen Pettigrew also competed for the Republican nomination; presumably, she was the second woman ever to compete for it.)

Stamp out moonshining

The May 12 1922 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this picture of a judge who was trying to stamp out the manufacture of illegal moonshine:


Google searches turned up the following:

  • Mill Creek is now a suburb of Louisville, Kentucky. Not sure how you could arrest everybody there. (Though this page mentions a town called Mill Creek.)
  • I found this reference to Judge Hiram J. Johnson.
  • If this page is to be believed, Judge Johnson passed away less than two months after this photo was taken.

I found no references to moonshine in Mill Creek, so I’ll never know whether Judge Johnson really did try to arrest everybody.


The Old Gardener Says

The May 12 1922 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this piece of advice:


I was curious, so I looked up the three types of roses.

  • I found an entry in the French version of Wikipedia for the Crimson Rambler rose. This rose was introduced in 1893 by Charles Turner, and is sometimes called Turner’s Crimson Rambler. One link that I found stated that this rose tended to attract mildew and did not have any scent, which is why it fell out of favour. Here’s a small picture of some Crimson Rambler roses.
  • The Excelsa rose (also known as the Dorothy Perkins) was first cultivated by Michael H. Walsh in 1908. It is more disease-resistant. A picture can be found here.
  • Paul’s Scarlet Climber was created by a man named William Paul (naturally), and dates to 1915 or 1916. Here is a picture of some.


The August 29 1922 edition of the Toronto Globe contained this bit of filler about a boy who was tragically burned to death in a fire:


Sadly, this is not the worst fire that has ever occurred here. Lake Megantic is now better known by its French name, Lac-Mégantic – and this is the location of a 2013 rail disaster that killed at least 42 people and destroyed over 30 buildings.


Dynamite caps

The August 29 1922 edition of the Toronto Globe contained two short articles about boys who badly injured themselves while playing with dynamite caps.

The first was a boy in Perth who lost four fingers on his left hand:


The second was a 14-year-old from Sault Ste. Marie who threw a boxful of dynamite caps onto a boulder and seriously injured himself:


My question is this: were there a lot more dynamite caps just lying around in 1922? How did these unfortunate boys get access to this stuff?


Amusing chiropractors

The February 2 1922 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail listed an upcoming chiropractors meeting in the Amusements section:


I wonder whether this was accidental or deliberate. I also wonder: since the article stated that “all chiropractors in Toronto and vicinity will meet”, and boldly declared that the meeting was IMPORTANT, was attendance mandatory if you were a chiropractor? Did anything happen to the chiropractors who were unable to make it to the meeting?


Famous murders of 1922 #2

The February 9 1922 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an article related to another famous murder, that of Toronto theatre impresario Ambrose Small.


Small disappeared in 1919, and was never found. He was officially declared dead in 1924, and the case was closed in 1960.


Famous murders of 1922 #1

The February 9 1922 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained front-cover photographs of people who might have known details of the murder of Hollywood film director William Desmond Taylor.


Taylor’s murder was never solved. Details on the people in the photographs above:

  • Mary Miles Minter (1902-1984) was an actress who appeared in 54 silent-era motion pictures. She was widely rumoured to have been romantically involved with Taylor (who was 29 years her senior).
  • Claire Windsor (1892-1972) was another silent film star. She has previously appeared in this blog here.
  • Mabel Normand (1892-1930) was a silent-film actress, writer, director, and producer, often working with Mack Sennett. She died of tuberculosis.
  • Edna Purviance (1895-1958) appeared in over 30 films with Charlie Chaplin.
  • Neva Gerber (1894-1974) was a silent film actress who appeared in over 120 films between 1912 and 1930. She was engaged to Taylor at one time.