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Observed the 51st anniversary

Here’s a photograph from the March 16 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a couple who had just celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary.

As usual when I see one of these, I indulge my morbid curiosity and look the couple up in the Toronto city directories to see how long they lasted. In this case, it’s impossible to tell, as it looks like Mrs. Exley predeceased her husband. He appears in city directories up until 1935, but is not listed in 1936.

When I looked up 364 Concord Avenue in the Streets section of the 1936 directory, the owner was listed as Frank W. Newberry, whose wife was one of the Exleys’ daughters mentioned in the photo caption above. So I guess they got the house. Charles Exley, the son mentioned in the caption, is listed as working as a butler, so I suppose that he already had a place to live.

364 Concord Avenue appears to be still standing today – it’s a semi-detached house near Bloor and Ossington.

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Played part of Prince

Here’s a photo from the March 16 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a well-dressed young boy who was asked to play the part of the Prince of Wales in a parade in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Out of curiosity, I looked the Goldring family up in the Toronto city directories. They don’t appear to have remained in Toronto long: the 1928 and 1929 directories list John. E. Goldring as a comptroller at Simpson’s and living at 28 Wychwood Park. The 1930 directory lists John C. Goldring with no occupation at that address; this appears to be a typo, as the Streets listing for 28 Wychwood Park still has John E. Goldring. The 1931 directory does not list him.

A Google search for Elmer Goldring turned up this entry on an ancestry website. If this is him, he was 14 at the time he was asked to impersonate the Prince, and he passed away in 1995.

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Going away dress of 1940

Here’s a photograph from the March 16 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young society woman wearing an unusual costume.

Searches turned up very little on Mrs. Archie Campbell, well known London society woman.

  • I found a couple of other photographs of her taken at about that time.
  • I also discovered that Archie Campbell’s full name was John Archibald Campbell, that her name was Dorothy Campbell, and that they had a son named Colin Guy Napier Campbell, born in 1930, who passed away in 2019.

I wonder how often she wore that dress.

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May be Mrs. Tunney

Here’s a photo from the March 16 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman who was rumoured to be marrying heavyweight boxing champion Gene Tunney:

As it turned out, Ms. Bishop and Mr. Tunney got married within a year, but to different people. He married Mary “Polly” Lauder later that year after a secret romance (and after being sued by Mrs. Katherine King Fogarty for breach of promise). The new Mrs. Tunney apparently persuaded him to give up boxing, and they remained together for half a century until he passed away in 1978. She died in 2008, less than two weeks before her 101st birthday.

Ms. Bishop married Martin Stelling Jr., a San Francisco real estate agent, early in 1929. She stopped being a figure of public interest after that, as I could find no record of what happened to her or them.

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‘Tis Christmas Eve

This is my third Christmas Eve posting in this blog. I’m going to post the same image that I did on the last two Christmas Eves, because I like it so much. It’s from the December 22 1928 edition of the Toronto Globe, and was part of the Circle of Young Canada page, which featured submissions from younger readers.

This Christmas, we are dealing with problems that would have seemed unimaginable a year ago. I hope that you and everyone that you care about have managed to stay safe and healthy through this extremely difficult time, and I hope that you have as happy a holiday season as is possible under the circumstances.

Thanks for continuing to read this.

–Dave

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Has lived 77 years

In yesterday’s blog entry, I wrote about a man who had just celebrated his 77th birthday. It turned out that the November 23 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had another picture of a man who turned 77 on that day:

I didn’t need to search through the Toronto city directories to find out what happened to Neil McNeil (1851-1934), as he was well-known enough to have a Wikipedia page.

(Aside: who on earth with the surname McNeil would name their child Neil? This seems cruel.)

Mr. McNeil was the Archbishop of Toronto from 1912 until his death. His Wikipedia page states that he attended Propaganda College in Rome. This is also translated as Urban College. He was born in Hillsborough, Nova Scotia, which explains why he was honorary vice-president of the Maritime Provinces Association.

Neil McNeil High School, an all-boys Catholic secondary school, is named in his honour.

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Is 77 years old to-day

Here’s a photograph in the November 23 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star honouring a man who had just turned 77 years old.

If he was 77 in 1928, this meant that he was born in 1851, so he was 16 years older than Canada.

As usual, I indulged my morbid curiosity and looked J. C. Forman up in the Toronto city directories to see if I could find out how long he lived after this photo. He was easy to find in the 1928 directory – not only was he there, but he had a bold-face entry.

Sadly, James C. Forman (to give him his full first name) did not make it to 80. He appears in the 1930 directory – again in bold face – as a consultant in the Assessment Department at City Hall. In the 1931 directory, Josephine Forman is listed as his widow.

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Star weds cameraman

Here’s a photograph from the photo page of the November 23 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a film star about to marry a cinematographer.

Sadly, this marriage did not last – the couple divorced in 1930.

Peverell Marley (1899-1964) continued to work as a cinematographer in film and television into the early 1960s. He was nominated for Academy Awards in 1939 and 1948, and is one of six cinematographers to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He married two more times after divorcing Ms. Basquette: dancer Virginia McAdoo and actress Linda Darnell. Both of these marriages also ended in divorce.

Even so, Mr. Marley was less unlucky in love than Lina Basquette (1907-1994). Ms. Basquette, who was born Lena Baskette, was already a widow when she got married to Mr. Marley – she had married Sam Warner, one of the Warner Brothers, in 1925, and he passed away in 1927. After she and Mr. Marley divorced, she went on to marry six more times. The bridegrooms, in order:

  • Ray Hallam, an actor, who passed away from leukemia in 1931, three weeks after they married. This meant that she was a widow twice over before she turned 25.
  • Later that year, she married Theodore Hayes, who was boxer Jack Dempsey’s former trainer. She was granted a divorce in 1932 after she discovered he was still married.
  • In 1934, she and Hayes reconciled and married again. It didn’t work out, as they divorced in 1935.
  • In 1937, she married British actor Henry Mollison. They separated in 1940 and divorced in 1944.
  • In 1947, she and Warner Gilmore, the general manager of the St. Moritz Hotel, were married. They divorced in 1951.
  • Her last marriage was to actor Frank Mancuso, in 1959. They separated that year, but were never divorced.

Besides her lack of success in marriage, Ms. Basquette had other severe misfortunes. She struggled to regain custody of her daughter Lita from her marriage to Warner after surrendering her to Harry Warner and his wife. The Warners also sued her for control of Sam’s share of Warner Brothers, and effectively blacklisted her in the film industry. She attempted suicide twice, and was raped and robbed in 1943.

Ms. Basquette was apparently Adolf Hitler’s favourite movie star: she received a fan letter from him before he came to power. In 1937, she was offered a film contract in Germany, and was driven out to Berchtesgaden, where she met Hitler, Rudolf Hess, and Josef Goebbels. In her autobiography, she wrote that Hitler tried to hit on her and she kicked him in the groin.

After her film career, Ms. Basquette took up the breeding and showing of Great Danes. She became successful at it, writing several books on the subject.

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An interesting age

The August 18 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this portrait of a three-year-old girl:

Sometime, I’m going to have to try to figure out when newspapers stopped printing the addresses of their photo subjects for fear of harassment.

The published address allowed me to trace Mr. C. G. McConnell. The 1928 city directory didn’t list his occupation, but later directories gave his name as Campbell G. McConnell, and revealed that he was a chartered accountant. The family eventually moved to 30 Roxborough Drive, where they lived for some years. (That address is now parkland.)

I looked in later directories to see if I could find any listings for Patsy or Patricia McConnell. I didn’t find any, but a Daily Star newspaper archive search turned up a notice of her wedding in the September 7 1946 edition:

And a Google search revealed that Mrs. Ross, as she became, passed away in 2017.

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Married Japanese author

Here’s another photograph from the August 18 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

It had actually been a while since Gertrude Boyle Kanno (1878-1937) had been married to a Japanese author – she and poet Takeshi Kanno were wed in 1907 and divorced in 1915. She became famous for her portrait sculptures, including Albert Einstein, Isadora Duncan, Christy Mathewson, and both Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt.