Her 101st birthday

The February 27 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of a woman who was about to celebrate her 101st birthday.

As usual, I wanted to indulge my morbid curiosity: how much longer did Mrs. Haslett stay alive? I did a search of the Toronto city directories, and found Frances C. Haslett listed in the 1929 directory as the widow of John J. and living at 48 Howland. It looks like she got to celebrate at least one more birthday and possibly two: she appears in the 1930 and 1931 directories, but not in 1932.

She had been widowed for a while: the 1909 directory lists a John Haslett working as a stonecutter, but the 1912 directory lists her as his widow.


In middle of winter

Here’s a short human interest piece from the December 9 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a couple on an epic Canadian walking adventure.

This would have been an epic, and possibly utterly crazy, adventure.

I have no idea whether they got all the way across Canada – I found no reference to Jack Stuart of Favel, Ontario, in any searches. I did wonder whether they bothered to leave Favel again now that they had made it back home.

Favel, Ontario is nowadays listed as an unincorporated town near Kenora, on the main CNR transcontinental line. I saw no reference to its existence on Google Maps. Given that it is such a remote place, it’s not that difficult to believe that Mr. Stuart and his wife were used to walking in uninhabited areas, even in the middle of winter.


A wonderful possession

Here’s an ad from the December 9 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a collection of the works of William Shakespeare.

This edition included Shakespeare’s sonnets, some uncredited brilliant introductions, and somebody’s unique editorial contributions, but the ad doesn’t actually describe whether any of Shakespeare’s plays were included in whole or in part. $7.50 in cash in 1929 is the equivalent of over $110 today, so this book was not cheap, whatever it contained.

The copywriter for this ad chose hyperbole over linguistic accuracy, as the text refers to “the immortal creations of this myriad mind”. “Myriad” literally means “ten thousand” and is usually used to refer to a countlessly large number. So Shakespeare could have had a myriad of creations, but “myriad mind” makes no sense. So there!

British Books was a new firm at the time of this ad. The 1929 Toronto city directory does not list them. The 1930 directory lists them at units 338 and 339 of 73 Adelaide West; in 1929, this office space belonged to the Presbyterian Church in Canada. British Books eventually moved to 70 Bond Street; they appear in the 1936 directory, but not the 1939 one.


A sunbath every day

Here’s an ad from the December 9 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an ultraviolet lamp that was advertised as providing artificial sunshine.

This blog has encountered the Chas. A. Branston, Ltd. company before: a 1920 ad encouraged people to use a Model 25 or Model 29 Branston ozone generator to fight off influenza.

The company was listed as late as the 1957 Toronto city directory as a manufacturer of electrical appliances; in the 1960 directory, they repositioned themselves as selling records, televisions and radios. They are not listed in the 1965 directory.

By the way, modern sun lamps emit fluorescent light with the UV wavelengths screened out, as they are considered harmful.


Snowy white table linen

Here’s an ad from the December 9 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that contained a rather obvious error.

Not only was there an upside-down headline – the New Method Laundry Limited text was very poorly displayed. (Though I suppose this might be an artifact of the original newspaper microfiche process.)

New Method Laundry was not only in the 1929 Toronto city directory – they had an ad on its front cover (it’s at the bottom):

They also had an ad on the page where their entry was listed:

New Method Laundry was just in the process of opening up a second location at the time of this ad. The city directory listed the phone number of their original location, which was at the corner of River Street and Queen Street East. The ad shown here had the phone number of their new branch at 725 College.

By 1939, the Queen and River location was gone, and they were still listed at 725 College. They remained there for over a generation, as the 1969 city directory listed them there.

I don’t have access to later directories, so I don’t know what happened to them. A Google search turned up nothing, and 725 College is now a shopping center.


Heads camera workers

Here’s a photograph from the October 18 1929 edition of the Toronto Globe.

My first thought when I saw this photograph was that Mr. Rigby had the sort of moustache that stopped being popular when Hitler started becoming more notorious. My second thought: why was the caption for this photograph using A Lot Of Capitalized Words?

Because Mr. Rigby had an unusual first initial, I tried to trace him in the Toronto city directories. I’m not sure whether I found him: the 1929 city directory lists an Oswald B. Rigby working as a mechanical engineer at Massey-Harris. If this was him, I fear that he might not have been around long: the 1932 directory lists him as a mechanical engineer but does not list his employer, and he is missing from the 1933 and 1934 directories. There’s always the possibility that he might have relocated, of course.


Receives last rites

The front page of the October 18 1929 edition of the Toronto Globe included this photo of a Catholic bishop who had received last rites.

As it turned out, the last rites were a little less than a year and a half premature, as the Right Rev. Fallon held out until 1931. A Google search turned up this photo of his residence.


Two famous estates

Here’s a short blurb from the October 18 1929 edition of The Globe about two British castles that were for sale.

I was curious, so I looked up the people and the buildings mentioned in this article.

  • John Osborne (1901-1963), the 11th Duke of Leeds, was apparently a self-centred drunkard. After selling Hornby Castle, he retired to the French Riviera as a tax exile, occasionally spending time on the island of Jersey. He passed his days mostly working his way through the family fortune. (Though, to be fair, he did inherit gambling debts from his father.)
  • When the Duke of Leeds sold Hornby Castle, all but one wing was demolished in 1931.
  • John Montagu Douglas Scott (1864-1935), the 7th Duke of Buccleuch (and also the 9th Duke of Queensberry), was a member of Parliament from 1895 to 1906. His daughter, Alice, married Prince Henry, the third son of King George V.
  • I couldn’t find much on Johnstone House. This might be it.
  • Herstmonceux Castle was built in 1441, and was restored in the early decades of the 20th century. It is now owned by Queen’s University (the one in Ontario).
  • Claude Lowther (1870-1929) was a British Conservative politician. During the First World War, he raised and equipped (but did not command) three battalions of the Sussex Regiment. Known as “Lowther’s Lambs”, the battalions suffered significant casualties when serving as a diversion from an offensive on the Somme.

La Argentina

Here’s a small ad from the October 18 1929 edition of the Toronto Globe for an upcoming dance performance at Massey Hall.

La Argentina was the stage name of Antonia Mercé y Luque (1890-1936), a Spanish dancer who was, not surprisingly, born in Argentina. She made six transcontinental tours of North America, and was performing as late as the spring of 1936.

She passed away on July 18, 1936, in Bayonne, France, apparently of sudden heart failure. YouTube has a short video of her performing.


Reckless in her loves

Here’s a movie ad from the August 26 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

100% talking, singing, loving!

The Squall (1929) was the first talking picture for director Alexander Korda, who worked in Hollywood from 1926 to 1930 and then moved to Britain. He became a well-known figure in the British film industry, eventually earning a knighthood.

Myrna Loy (1905-1993) was frequently typecast as an exotic vamp, so playing Nubi, the “Gypsy Gale of Passion”, was just another day’s work for her. Her career took off when she played Nora Charles in The Thin Man (1934).

Flora Le Breton (1899-1951) was sometimes referred to as the British Mary Pickford. She appeared in movies throughout the 1920s and was on the stage through the mid-1930s. Her last film credit was in 1930, and her last Broadway stage credit was in 1934. I have no idea why her career ended comparatively early or why she passed away at a relatively young age.