In aid of blind

When I look at old Toronto Daily Star newspapers from the early 1930s, I am always startled to run across photos of women with their name and address included in the caption. Here’s another example, from May 1 1931:

However, searches in the Toronto city directories yielded nothing on Miss Mimi Loran. The Streets section of the 1930, 1931, and 1932 directories listed Mrs. D. R. Harvey as living at 111 Crescent Road. There was an I. R. Loran living on Maitland Street in 1931 and a J. Loran on Bain Avenue in 1932, but they’re probably unrelated.

Perhaps Ms. Loran was ahead of her time and realized that publishing her name and address in the paper was a bad idea, so she provided a pseudonym. Or perhaps her name was misspelled. I’ll never know for sure.


May be Mormon head

Here’s a photo from the May 1 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a United States senator who was also high up in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as it’s now known:

Reed Smoot (1862-1941) was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. His father, who was mayor of Salt Lake City from 1856 to 1862, had six wives and 27 children. (The LDS church officially renounced plural marriages in 1890, but it was rumoured that some church leaders continued to secretly approve them.)

Smoot was first elected to the Senate in 1903. When he was elected, a committee was formed to determine whether he was fit for office, as some people believed that his position in the church would conflict with his duty to his non-church constituents. The committee recommended that he not be allowed to take his seat, but the vote to expel him failed. He remained a senator until 1933, when he was defeated.

Many historians believe that the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, passed in 1930, made the Great Depression worse.


Weds young peer

Here is a photo from the May 1 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young British peer and his bride.

Sadly, the marriage between the young Lord Brougham and Vaux and the former Miss Valerie French did not last; the two were divorced in 1934. Their only child, Julian, died on active service in Malaya in 1952.

Victor Brougham (1909-1967), the 4th Baron Brougham and Vaux, inherited his title shortly before his 18th birthday, since his father had passed away 20 days before his grandfather. The 4th Baron loved gambling, which proved costly: to pay gambling debts, he sold items from Brougham Hall, sold the Hall itself, and then declared bankruptcy in 1953. Stock market speculation and a failed attempt to establish himself as a farmer didn’t help his cash flow any.

Valerie French (1909-1997) outlived her former husband by more than 30 years. She and her older sister Essex were part of the Bright Young Things social set of the 1920s and were featured in Cecil Beaton’s The Book Of Beauty, published in 1933. In this book, Beaton wrote of her:  “Valerie, pink and white like sugar-coated almonds, with slow, brown eyes and pale corn-coloured hair, has the more flawless face. Her nose is perfection.” Well, then!

Ms. French married a son of the 1st Baron Kindersley in 1936. The couple had four children. Nothing particularly noteworthy appears to have happened to her after this.


Screen star presents cup

Here’s a photo from the February 19 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a movie star presenting a tennis trophy to a nurse.

Pola Negri (1897-1987) was a Polish stage and film actress who had a successful career during the silent film era. She was considered a sex symbol and reportedly had affairs with Charlie Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino, among others. She also started some notable fashion trends, including red painted toenails and fur boots.

After the silent era ended, she moved back to Europe and continued her career there until the Nazis drove her back to the United States. She retired from the film business in 1945 except for the occasional role, and she became a U. S. citizen in 1951.

The Lady Fripp cup mentioned in this caption is almost certainly a reference to Margaret, Lady Fripp (1880-1965). She was the wife of Alfred Downing Fripp, who was the surgeon for both King Edward VII and King George V.


First taste of grease paint

Here’s a photo from the February 19 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a detective who was about to go into the movies.

William J. Burns (1861-1932) was arguably the most famous American detective of his time. Called “America’s Sherlock Holmes”, he was the head of the Bureau of Investigation (the predecessor of the modern FBI) from 1921 to 1924. He founded his own detective firm, the William J. Burns International Detective Agency.

There is an Internet Movie Database page for Burns that lists him as appearing in 19 movies in 1930 and 1931 (along with four film credits from the 1910s). He passed away a little over a year after this photo was taken, so presumably health might have interfered with his film career.


World cruise for their honeymoon

Here’s a photograph from the February 19 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young couple about to travel on a schooner for their honeymoon.

Zane Grey (1872-1939) was a popular novelist who specialized in Westerns. Originally a dentist, he gradually improved his writing skills with the help of his wife Dolly, who edited his work. He became a prolific enough writer that, after his death, his publishers had enough manuscripts on hand to publish a new Zane Grey novel every year until 1963. His total book sales are estimated to be 40 million copies.

Betty Zane Grey was named after an ancestor, Betty Zane, a heroine of the Revolutionary War. She and her new husband had two children and then divorced in 1939. Ms. Grey later married and divorced again. She passed away in 2007 at the age of 94.


Will accomplish as much

Here’s a photo from the February 19 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young woman who was the granddaughter of a former United States senator.

I couldn’t find any information on Miss Martha Fall, which suggests that she didn’t accomplish as much as her more well-known ancestor. But this might have been for the best: her grandfather, Albert B. Fall, was Secretary of the Interior in President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet and was caught up in the infamous Teapot Dome scandal. He was convicted of bribery and sentenced to a year in jail, becoming the first former cabinet minister to be imprisoned for acts committed while in office.


Minister voices threat

While I enjoy looking at old newspapers regardless of what year they are, I find that the most interesting items are from newspapers from the early 1930s. For instance, the February 19 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star has proved to be a rich source of material.

Here’s a photograph of a minister who really did not want a sewer easement next to his home:

Breaking heads seems un-Christian to me, but then I’ve never had my side yard expropriated for a sewer easement (and I am not a Christian), so what would I know?

Reverend Brown had been living in his house since at least 1920 – he is listed in the Toronto city directory for that year – so, understandably, he was a bit attached to it. He is listed in the city directories up to 1934, but someone else is listed at 293 Delaware in 1935.

I couldn’t find out whether the sewer easement was ever built, but 293 Delaware is now a multi-residential dwelling that looks like it was built some time ago. So, in the end, it didn’t matter.


Congress woman to lecture

Here’s a photo from the October 29 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a member of the United States House of Representatives who was about to give a lecture.

I couldn’t figure out whether this lecture was to be at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto (which was completed in 1928), or whether it was somewhere in England. I’m going to guess Toronto.

Ruth Bryan Owen (1885-1954) was the daughter of William Jennings Bryan; he is best known nowadays for the Scopes Monkey Trial. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 4th District in 1929 as a Democrat. She was in favour of Prohibition; when it was repealed in 1933, she lost the Democratic nomination for her seat.

In 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointed Ms. Owen to be Ambassador to Denmark. She was the first American woman ever to be appointed an ambassador. She held the position until 1936, when she married Borge Rohde, a Danish Captain of the King’s Guard, which gave her dual Danish and American citizenship.

Before becoming a politician, Ms. Owen was a pioneer filmmaker; in 1922, she directed, produced, and wrote Once Upon a Time/Scheherazade, which is now lost. She went on to become an alternate delegate to the United Nations General Assembly.


Dawn-to-dusk aerial dash

The photo page of the Toronto Daily Star in the 1920s and 1930s often included pictures of intrepid flyers. Here’s one such photo, from the October 29 1931 edition:

Jimmy Doolittle (1896-1993) went on to become an Army Air Force general, and is widely considered one of the greatest pilots of all time. He was honoured as a war hero during the Second World War after the Doolittle Raid, which was a retaliatory bombing attack on the Japanese main islands that took place four months after Pearl Harbor. He became a member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 1967.

He married his wife, the former Josephine Daniels, in 1917. They remained together until she passed away in 1988.