$500,000 apartment house

Here’s one final item from the July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. This is an architect’s rendering of a new apartment building that was about to be built in downtown Toronto.

$500,000 in 1929 is equivalent to roughly $7.6 million in today’s money, so this wasn’t a cheap building.

I looked up the corner of Edmund Ave. and Benvenuto Place in Google Street View, and discovered that this building still stands as of September 2019. It’s now known as the St. Edmund Apartments.

I also looked up Dr. Stanley Floyd in the Toronto city directories. The 1929 directory lists him as a dentist living at 76 Glenview Avenue. By 1935, he was living in the building shown here, as his address was listed as apartment 103 at 7 Edmund Avenue. He didn’t stay there, though: the 1945 directory lists him at 134 Glen Road in Rosedale.


Unloads a wicked gat

Here’s yet another photo from the July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, this time of a woman who won a shooting competition.

Edna Christofferson (1886-1945) was actually never a policewoman. After marrying and divorcing the heir to a car dealership in Portland, Oregon, Ms. Christofferson became interested in flying. Her first flight was in 1911, sitting on the lower wing of a biplane piloted by Silas Christofferson, who became her husband in 1912.

After Mr. Christofferson died in a plane crash in 1916, she became an X-ray technician. In 1925, she opened a school for X-ray technicians in Portland, training 153 graduates by 1932.

Shooting was a hobby of hers, and she was good at it: in 1927, she placed second in an international police shooting competition, and was the only female competitor at the event. In 1928, she became the founder and president of the Oregon Women’s Revolver Club.

In 1931, she became a pilot again, and flew at the dedication of an airport named after her late husband. She then went to Alaska in search of gold, returning in 1935. She passed away ten years later.


To be wed soon

Continuing with the July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star: here’s an entry from that day’s photo page, featuring a film producer and a beauty contestant who were about to get married.

If her listed birth date is to be believed – and I didn’t find any source contradicting it – Ada Williams (1913-1975) was 14 when she became Miss Florida of 1927, and was 16 when she planned to wed Mr. Ince. After their marriage, she used Ada Ince as her stage name, and appeared in a number of movies in the 1930s.

She and Mr. Ince divorced in 1934, apparently due to his violent temper. She married Ray Dodge, a former Olympic middle-distance runner, in 1935; that marriage lasted until her death. Mr. Dodge was tangentially associated with show business – he ran metal works companies that produced the statuettes of Oscar for the Academy Awards.

William Thomas Ince appears to have been the son of a movie producer, not a movie producer himself. The caption for this photograph may have confused him with his father, Thomas H. Ince (1880-1924), who was one of the pioneers of the movie business, and who died young of heart failure. I could find out nothing else about the younger Mr. Ince.


To brave Atlantic

Here’s another entry from the photo page of the July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, this time featuring a couple who were about to sail across the Atlantic Ocean.

Saying that Leonard Outhwaite (1892-1978) was a millionaire and socially prominent New Yorker implied that he was something of a dilettante. He was actually an explorer, author, and anthropologist, so sailing the Atlantic was well within his skill set. His published works include The Atlantic; A History of An Ocean, which was republished in 2018. His papers are stored at the Rockefeller Archive Center.

According to his Find a Grave entry, Mr. Outhwaite was married three times. The woman in the photo above, the former Georgia Schofield, was wife number two. She passed away in 1950.


New lady competitor

The July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star continues to be a source of material! Here’s an item from the photo page of the paper, featuring a woman who was about to enter an air race against her husband:

Lois Butler (1897-1970) was a Canadian. She competed for Canada in the 1936 Winter Olympics as a skier, captaining the women’s skiing team and competing in the women’s combined event. She served in the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War, logging more than 1000 hours of flight time on 36 different types of planes.

Her husband, Alan Samuel Butler (1898-1987), was reportedly the first person to own and operate a private plane. He was the chairperson of De Havilland Aircraft from 1923 to 1950, and was reportedly “conscientious to a degree and outspoken almost to a fault”. He outlived not only his wife but also his son, David, who died in a road accident in 1972.

As it turned out, neither Mrs. Butler nor Mr. Butler won the King’s Cup in 1929. The winner was R. L. R. Atcherley, who went on to become Air Marshal Sir Richard Llewellyn Roger Atcherley.


Chosen as genius type

Here’s a photo from the July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young man who was considered a genius.

Young Frederick Ireland may have been a genius, or at least a “genius type”, but every search I could think of turned up nothing. I found out that Frederick Douglass went to Ireland, but that was something different.

Sadly, I fear that this photo might have been the high point of young Mr. Ireland’s life.


To transmit thrills

Here’s an image from the photo page of the July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. This is of a man who planned to wear a radio transmitter when performing a parachute jump.

A search for Charles de Bever didn’t turn up much. I saw two references in Google Books:

  • North Carolina Aviatrix Viola Gentry: The Flying Cashier contains a reference to DeBever (as he was referred to in this book) being honored along with Gentry at the First Annual Aviation Ball, held at Roosevelt Field on March 29, 1930. It states that DeBever had been wounded during a parachute jump.
  • Hollywood Unknowns: A History of Extras, Bit Players, and Stand-Ins contains a reference to Charles DeBeaver, a parachute jumper who was severely injured after his parachute failed to open at Roosevelt Field. The book claims that he went on to be a stand-in for Edward G. Robinson. The book gives him the nickname “Jumpy”, which either referred to his parachute jumping or to his possibly being a bit jumpy after surviving his accident. I’ll never know which.

Is there such a woman?

The entertainment section of the July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for an upcoming movie:

The Internet Movie Database plot synopsis for A Dangerous Woman (1929) reads:

The commissioner of a remote outpost in Africa has a mistress who is so sexy and seductive that she has made several of the local white men kill themselves. She learns that the commissioner’s brother is coming to the outpost to be his assistant, and she comes up with a plan to set her sights on him.

Yikes! The movie is based on a story by Margery Lawrence titled “A Woman Who Needed Killing”. The trailer for the movie is available.

I looked up some of the principal writers and actors in this movie:

  • John Farrow (1904-1963), one of the writers, was the patriarch of the Farrow family of actors and journalists.
  • Olga Baclanova (1893-1974), sometimes billed as simply Baclanova, was nicknamed “The Russian Tigress”. She went on to appear in Tod Browning’s cult movie The Freaks (1932). Many people believe that Madonna resembles her; you can judge for yourself.
  • Clive Brook (1887-1974) outlived Ms. Baclanova by a little over two months. He acted in Britain in the early 1920s before moving to the United States in 1924, and then returned to Britain in the mid-1930s.
  • Neil Hamilton (1899-1984) started his acting career in 1918 and ended it in 1970. He portrayed Commissioner Gordon in the Batman TV series in the 1960s, appearing in all 120 episodes.

The “King’s English” Dictionary

Here’s an ad from the July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a dictionary of the English language.

I love the prose in this ad more than words can say. It’s the greatest one-volume universal reference work in existence! There are upwards of 100,000 words in this dictionary! A wealth of illustrations!

And, as the ad helpfully points out, somebody at the University of London thinks that this dictionary is almost as useful as the New Oxford Dictionary – but, the new Oxford costs $200 for ten volumes, whereas this single-volume publication can be yours for $1.50 down and eight monthly payments of $1.00!

This blog has run across British Books before – later in 1929, the firm offered a one-volume collection of William Shakespeare’s works. The Toronto branch of the firm remained in existence up until somewhere between 1936 and 1939.

I went looking for information on the “King’s English” dictionary. It turned out that it had been around a while: there was apparently an edition of the dictionary in 1900, and more than one edition of the dictionary in the 1920s, including one published in 1920.

The search also revealed, to my great joy, that the 1920 edition of the “King’s English” dictionary was available for free download as a PDF document; some kind soul had digitized the copy on file at the University of California, Berkeley, and had made it available on the Internet Archive. So I downloaded it – it is 1344 pages, and takes up over 145 megabytes of space. But I have lots of space, and an unlimited data plan from my Internet service provider, so why not?

Here’s the title page for the book, if you’re curious:

The authors appear to be reputable people with one or more university degrees or honorifics, which I guess is good. Here’s the table of contents:

Here’s a sample page of dictionary definitions:

From this, I just learned that “molendinaceous” means “like the sails of a windmill”. Now you know!

The page after this in the dictionary was illustrations of the latest developments in motor transport:

On the whole, this appears to have been a useful, if somewhat dry, reference work. Whether it was worth $1.50 down and eight payments of $1.00 is an open question – $9.50 in 1929 is the equivalent of $145.60 in today’s money – but I am assuming that the buyers of such a book would have a certain amount of disposable income available to them and were interested in spending it on something solid and British.


English pastor for Toronto church

Here’s a photo from the front page of the July 5 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a pastor and his cat.

I looked up the Rev. Russell in the Toronto city directories. Sure enough, he was in the 1930 directory as the pastor of Deer Park United Church, located at the time at 129 St. Clair Avenue West.

The reverend remained at his post for over a quarter of a century, last appearing in the city directories in 1957. A search turned up a list of books that he wrote during his time as pastor and before, and a link to some papers on file at Ryerson University. I could find out nothing on what happened to the cat.

As for the church: it remained at its St. Clair West location until 2007, at which point the owners of the Imperial Oil building next door informed the church that they would stop supplying it with heat sometime in 2008. The church couldn’t afford to maintain the building, so they moved into the Calvin Presbyterian Church building at 26 Delisle Avenue, with the two ministries officially becoming a shared ministry in 2010.

As of November 2020, the old church building still stands. But possibly not for long, as condominium townhomes are being built behind it.