Finns receive vaporous ablutions

Here’s a photograph from the March 1 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a newly opened Finnish steam bath room.

The 1931 Toronto city directory lists the Finnish Turkish Baths at 56-58 Widmer Street, with Kustan Helin as its proprietor. (The directory also listed 52 Widmer as occupied by “Foreigners”.) The steam bath room was later renamed the Finnish Steam Baths and remained at that location until closing in the early 1970s.

In the 1970s, the building was renovated and reopened as The Barracks, a bathhouse serving the city’s gay community. On December 9 1978, the building was raided by the police; on February 5 1981, it was raided again along with several other similar establishments. The Queerstory website provides a history of this phase of the building’s existence, and a photograph from 1988 shows the building’s entrance. The Barracks closed in the 1990s, and a condominium complex is now being built at that location.

Being christened at launching

Here’s a photo from the March 1 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman christening a ship in the traditional way by smashing a bottle against it.

The woman in this photograph is the former Mary Hermione Lyttelton, who married Lionel Hichens (1874-1940) in 1919. He had been the chairman of Cammell Laird, the British shipbuilding company, since 1910. Her sister, Lucy Masterman, ran twice for election as a Member of Parliament but lost.

Hichens was considered a progressive employer for his time on issues such as working hours, minimum wage, and job security. He was killed in 1940 during the Blitz. He and his wife had six children, one of whom was a top-class cricketer.

Gives half-century service

Here’s a photo from the March 1 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a weather dispatch sender who was just about to retire:

Out of morbid curiosity, I looked Daniel Joseph O’Halloran up in the Toronto city directories to see how long he was able to enjoy his retirement before passing away. I found him in the 1930 city directory at 4 Lake Front, as mentioned in the caption above; this was a street next to Kew Beach. By 1935, this street was gone and he had moved to 94 Neville Park Boulevard, near the east end of the Beaches.

He stayed there a while, as the 1945 directory listed him at the same address, by which time he would have been turning 85. But he is not listed in the 1946 directory.

Conductor of famous orchestra

Here’s a photo from the March 1 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an American woman who was conducting the Philharmonic Orchestra in Berlin.

Antonia Brico (1902-1989) was born in the Netherlands to a Dutch Catholic unmarried mother and was raised as Wilhelmina Wolthuis by foster parents who moved to California in 1908 and who were reportedly abusive. She found solace in the piano and, when she discovered her true identity, took back her birth name and studied music at the University of California. She then graduated from the conducting master class at the Berlin State Academy, becoming the first American to achieve this honour.

After conducting in Berlin, she conducted in Hamburg, San Francisco, Washington, and Detroit, among other locations. In 1938, she became the first woman to conduct the New York Philharmonic. However, her conducting opportunities were limited because she was female. In 1942, she settled in Denver, Colorado, teaching piano and conducting; Judy Collins was one of her students. She also conducted the Denver Philharmonic and guested with orchestras around the world.

The Denver Philharmonic Orchestra website has a biography of her, as does the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, of which she is a member.

A chic chapeau

Here’s a photograph from the March 1 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an actress wearing a hat.

I could find virtually nothing on Flora Jellin except for this photograph from 1931. She is not in the Internet Movie Database, and a Google search turned up nothing else. She is about two photographs away from being lost to history.

This attractive child

Here is the third and last of photos from the June 3 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of children whose name and address were printed in the paper.

When I looked in the 1931 Toronto city directory, I discovered that Marchant B. Whyte lived at 241 Rosedale Heights Drive. He was a surgeon; later directories list him as an ear, nose, and throat specialist. This made it easier to trace him, as Whyte is a rarer name than White.

The 1946 directory lists Dr. Whyte at 241 Rosedale Heights and also lists Mary Whyte at the same address, so I am assuming that it is Mary in the above photo. The Whytes, father and daughter, were also listed in 1947 and 1948, with Mary listed as a stenographer with Manufacturers Life. In 1949, a third member of the family, Marchant P. Whyte, is listed at the address; he was a teller with the Bank of Commerce.

Unfortunately, the 1950 directory reveals a tragedy in the family: Irene, the widow of Marchant B., is now listed at 241 Rosedale Heights. Mary is still listed, but Marchant P. is not.

Mary is not listed in the 1951 directory; it’s reasonable to suppose that she got married. The Whytes’ son moved back in with his mother, as he is now listed in the 1951 directory as M. Peter Whyte. I didn’t trace the family after that.

A fine pair of youngsters

Here’s another photo from the photo page of the June 3 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of children whose name and address was printed in the paper – which, needless to say, would not happen nowadays.

Cross-referencing names and addresses in the 1931 Toronto city directory yielded the information that the boys were the sons of Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Roy Taylor, who did indeed live at 51 Thorncliffe Avenue. He is listed as working as a sales engineer at Canadian Westinghouse. In the 1936 directory, the family has moved to 77 Humbercrest Boulevard; they were still there in 1941. In 1946, they were still there, but the street had been renumbered, and their house was now listed as 93 Humbercrest, which had to have been confusing for the post office.

Taylor is a common name, but some diligent searching and guessing as to ages enabled me to find the two sons pictured here. The oldest, Gordon, was just young enough to avoid the war; he is first listed in the 1946 directory as a student and living at the family address. (While searching in the 1945 directory, I discovered a listing for a Glen E. Taylor, who worked at Copper Wire Products and whose job was listed as “impregnator”. I’m not sure I want to know what that means.) Gordon Taylor is also listed in the 1947 directory as a student, but is not a student and not at the family address in 1948. However, he reappears in 1950, working as an engineer for Ontario Hydro.

The younger son, Donald, first appears in the 1948 city directory as a student at the family address. He is still there in 1950 as a student. The 1952 directory lists him at that address but now lists him as a barrister.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck the family in 1953. The streets section of the directory lists the occupant of 93 Humberside as Mrs. Florence C. Taylor. She and Donald are still at that address, but Gordon is not. By 1957, neither brother is at 93 Humberside, so I lost track of them.

Sues for $500,000

Here’s a photograph from the June 3 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a Canadian teacher and writer who claimed that H. G. Wells’ The Outline of History had plagiarized her work.

Florence Deeks (1864-1959) initiated her lawsuit against Wells in 1928. After the trial judge and the Appellate Division of the Ontario Supreme Court rejected her suit, she went to the final court of appeal, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, which heard her case in 1932. The committee dismissed her suit, claiming that literary criticism does not count as evidence in a court of law.

Some people claimed that gender bias and Ms. Deeks’ lack of connections were factors in the decision. Modern opinion is divided on whether plagiarism actually occurred.

This engaging youngster

The June 2 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained several examples of something that was common in newspapers of the 1930s: pictures of people with their names and addresses printed in the caption. Here’s one of them – a girl who was one of the winners of the Star’s Attractive Child Contest.

The 1931 Toronto city directory lists William J. McMinn as working as an agent for Great West Life and living at 3 Neville Park Boulevard (which is right by Lake Ontario!). Over the years, the McMinn family moved a few times, but he remained at the same job, which made it easy to trace them.

The 1947 directory lists Nathalie McMinn working as a clerk at the War Assets Corporation. She and her father were living at 23 Playter Boulevard. But tragedy appears to have struck the family: in the 1948 directory, William McMinn is no longer listed. Nathalie appears at 23 Playter, but the Streets section of the directory lists John Power as the owner of the house.

Nathalie – now spelled “Natalie” – appears in the 1949 directory as an Income Tax typist. She appears to be also in the 1950 directory (the page on which she appears has been folded badly before being photographed). She isn’t in the 1951 or 1952 directory, so presumably she had gotten married.

Grecian robed and genial

Here’s an item from the photo page of the May 2 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention.

Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) was a dancer who became famous in both the United States and Europe. She died when her scarf became trapped in the wheel of the car in which she was travelling.

Raymond Duncan (1874-1966) was a dancer, philosopher, and original thinker. Among other things, he developed a theory of movement that he called “kinematics”, printed books of poetry in a font that he designed himself, and advocated the creation of a city named New Paris York in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

He and his Greek wife dressed at all times in classical Greek costume (including in this photo); when they visited New York, their son was taken to the Children’s Society because he also was wearing ancient Greek clothing. Duncan lived almost 40 years longer than his famous younger sister.