After many years

Here’s a short piece from the August 30 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about two elderly brothers meeting for the first time in many years.

For those unwilling to read the small type: the Reverend Richard Duke, who lived in Toronto, met his older brother John, who lived in Long Island.

One thing I noticed in the article: John is 81 and Richard is 78, and they are the oldest of eleven children, “all, with the exception of two, [who] lived to extreme old age”. So “extreme old age” was defined to be significantly less than 78 in 1924, given that the Dukes had seven younger long-lived siblings.

Naturally, when I see a report of an older person in the newspaper, I indulge my morbid curiosity and look in the Toronto city directories to see if I can find out how long he lived afterwards. In the case of the Reverend Duke, it was five more years: he appears in the 1929 directory, but the 1930 directory lists his widow.



Here’s a small ad from the August 30 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an elocutionist.

It’s interesting that there were special rates for church and welfare work. I guess, back in those days, it might have been necessary to teach people how to speak properly before they could be employable.

I tried to trace Lillian Climo in the Toronto city directories and didn’t find her. Cross-referencing the Streets sections of the 1924 and 1925 directories revealed that Elisabeth R. Sadlier (once written as Sadleir) lived at 64 Isabella. She didn’t have a listed occupation when I looked her up in the Names section of the directories. My guess is that “Lillian Climo” was a pseudonym that Ms. Sadlier used for work, but I don’t know this for sure.

64 Isabella no longer exists – there are now apartments there.


Sold himself to the Yankees

The August 30 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star is turning out to be a good source of material! Here’s another photo, of a baseball player who sold himself for $11,000:

A search for Frank Walker in the Baseball Reference website revealed that while he might have sold himself to the New York Yankees, he actually wound up playing for the New York Giants in 1925. He batted only .222 in 39 games, and this was his last year in the major leagues.

He returned to the minor leagues in 1926, spending the next four years as player-manager with Greenville of the South Atlantic League. He continued to play minor league baseball until 1931, and passed away in 1974.

$11,000 was a tidy sum of money in 1924, by the way: it is equivalent to over $166,000 today. Mr. Walker was a good businessman indeed.


Ex-princess of Prussia

Here’s another photo from the August 30 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

Princess Alexandra Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gl├╝cksburg (1887-1957) married Prince August Wilhelm, her first cousin and the fourth son of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, in 1908. The couple divorced in 1920 after the monarchy fell, as the Kaiser refused to allow them to divorce before that. The Prince’s Wikipedia page strongly hints that he was intimately involved with his personal adjutant; he later went on to become an admirer of Hitler.

In later life, the ex-Princess married and divorced again, and became a portrait and landscape painter. I could find no mention of starring in film productions.


Attempted round the world flight

Here’s a photograph from the August 30 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a failed attempt to fly around the world:

The Wikipedia entry for Archibald Stuart-MacLaren provides more details on the attempted circumnavigation of the globe, including that the plane shown here was a replacement, after the original was destroyed when attempting to take off in Burma.

During the summer of 1924, a number of nations were trying to become the first to fly around the world; Mr. Stuart-MacLaren headed the British team. Only the Americans made it.

I couldn’t find out anything about what happened to Mr. Stuart-MacLaren after that.


The Splendid Road

The November 11 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included this ad for a serialization of a novel in McCall’s magazine:


Vingie E. Roe (1879-1958) wrote more than thirty novels, specializing in Westerns. She once proudly proclaimed, “I have never written a dirty sex story and I never will.” (Well, okay then.)

The Splendid Road was adapted into a silent film in 1925; the film is now lost.

The Oklahoma State University library maintains a collection of her work. Project Gutenberg includes two of her novels, which are available for free download.


Mrs. Clive Neville Rolfe

Here’s a photo from the November 11 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a “noted British lecturer on hygiene and eugenics”:


Sybil Neville-Rolfe (1885-1955) devoted her life to the fight against venereal disease and the advocacy of eugenics.


Governor Len Small

Here’s another photo from the November 11 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Lennington “Len” Small (1862-1936) appears to have been quite a piece of work. Among other things:

  • He was indicted for embezzling over a million dollars in a money-laundering scheme while he was the Illinois state treasurer. He was acquitted, but eight jurors got state jobs, leading to suspicion of jury tampering.
  • He pardoned or paroled over 1000 convicted felons, including white slaver Harry Guzik.
  • He released bootlegger Edward “Spike” O’Donnell from prison, who (not surprisingly) went back to bootlegging.

This all eventually caught up to him, as he lost in the 1928 Republican “Pineapple Primary”, so-called because over sixty bombings took place in Chicago and Cook County during the election campaign.


Mrs. Flora Drummond

The November 11 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star continues to be a good source of blog posts! The photo section of this paper included this photograph of a former British suffragette leader:


Flora Drummond (1878-1949) originally trained to become a postmistress, but was not tall enough – she was 5’1″, and the minimum height was 5’2″. I’m not sure why postmasters and postmistresses had to be a certain height, but obviously this would discriminate against women, who tend to be shorter.

As a suffragette leader, she was called The General, as she tended to lead marches wearing a military uniform and riding on a large horse. (And why not?) She was committed to the cause: she endured arrest, imprisonment, and force-feeding following hunger and thirst strikes. After 1914, she focused on public speaking (which she was good at) and administration, as her health had been damaged by her earlier efforts.

Adam Simpson was a cousin of Ms. Drummond’s; he was killed in 1944 in an air raid.


16-year-old announcer

The November 11 1924 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included a photograph of a 16-year-old radio announcer named Nancy Clancy.


Why on earth did her parents give her a rhyming name?

A search turned up one other reference to 16-year-old Ms. Clancy, but I wasn’t able to find out what happened to her. Radio station WAHG moved to Manhattan in 1926 and became WABC.