Lord Irwin at Port Hope

Here’s a photograph from the April 25 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a British peer who was visiting Toronto and Port Hope, Ontario.

Edward Wood (1881-1959) was the fourth son of the 2nd Viscount Halifax, but became his father’s heir when his three older brothers died between 1886 and 1890. He was born without a left hand, but employed a spring-loaded artificial hand that could hold reins or open gates, making it possible for him to ride a horse. He also could not pronounce the letter “r” and was 6’5″ tall.

Wood, as he was then known, became a member of the British Parliament in 1910, holding office until 1925. At this time, he became Lord Irwin. He was Viceroy of India between 1926 and 1931.

In 1934, he inherited his father’s title, becoming Viscount Halifax. In 1938, he became Foreign Minister in Neville Chamberlain’s government, becoming one of the principal architects of the policy of appeasement of Hitler, and then advocating that Britain go to war to defend Poland.

In 1940, Halifax advocated making peace with Germany, who were in the process of overrunning Western Europe and encircling British troops at Dunkirk. After a long debate, Winston Churchill’s preference to fight on won out. Halifax was then appointed Ambassador to the United States, a post that he held between late 1940 and 1946.

In 1944, he was ennobled further, becoming the first Earl of Halifax. His grandson, the third Earl of Halifax, was considered a suitable husband for Princess Anne at one point. The third Earl wound up marrying a woman who was formerly known as Camilla Parker Bowles, but not the woman who was formerly known as Camilla Parker Bowles who is now married to Prince Charles. This Camilla was married to a different Parker Bowles brother; the two Camillas were sisters-in-law once upon a time.


How to throw the javelin

Here’s a picture from the photo page of the April 25 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that features a young man and a javelin.

Barney Berlinger (1908-2002) wound up not competing at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, as he was recovering from a sore back and was just starting a new job. He compensated by defeating the Olympic decathlon winner, Jim Bausch, in a seven-event competition at Madison Square Garden.

Berlinger started working for Quaker City Gear Works in 1932, and retired from the firm in 1978, having become its president. His son, Barney Jr., became a college football quarterback. Father and son were inducted into the University of Pennsylvania athletics hall of fame together.

A Google search for Sue Dougherty turned up nothing that matched the woman in the photo.


Final clearance sale

Here’s an ad from the April 25 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming art auction.

When I saw this, I was reminded of this ad, so I wondered whether this highly important collection of oil paintings and water colors was legit. The answer appears to be “sort of”. There really was an A. Luscombe Carroll, and there really was a Carroll Gallery in London; references to the gallery appear in print from about 1922 (or possibly earlier) to about 1938. However, it is not clear that all of the Canadian stock of the Carroll Galleries was being auctioned in Toronto, given that there were similar auctions in Vancouver and Winnipeg, among other places. Maybe they were transporting the art from place to place.

I traced Ward Price Limited and W. Ward Price in the Toronto city directories as best as I could. Mr. Price appears in the 1932 and 1933 directories, but is missing from other directories in the 1930s. He reappears in the 1941 and 1942 directories as residing in a house on Lonsdale Road in Forest Hill, but is not listed in the 1943 directory. Ward Price Limited (sometimes listed as Ward-Price Limited or Ward-Price (Downtown) Limited), appears at 111 King West as late as 1943, but the 1944 directory lists the address as Vacant.


Hollywood just madhouse

Here’s a short article from the April 25 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that interviewed writer and actress Cornelia Otis Skinner.

Cornelia Otis Skinner (1899-1979) was the child of two actors, and started a career on the stage in 1921. In the late 1920s, she toured the United States performing short character sketches. Four collections of her “monologue-dramas” and eight collections of her essays were published between 1932 and 1958.

YouTube has a number of recordings of her recitals of poems; here’s one from 1941. She appeared on What’s My Line? in 1959.


America’s outstanding hope

Here’s one more photograph from the March 2 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a young man who was good at gymnastics.

Searches for Jack Holst didn’t turn up very much. There were other photographs of him from 1932 and 1933, and this page, which stated that he was the 1933 AAU high-bar champion. But he does not appear to have competed at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

The only other reference to him that I found was in Billboard magazine in 1947. He was appearing as a vaudeville act, performing gymnastics at the Loew’s State Theatre in New York. I have no idea what happened to him, but I assume that advancing age and the rise of television would have reduced his career opportunities.


Going up alone

Here’s a photograph from the March 2 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young woman about to become a solo pilot.

Loma Worth was a stage name sometimes used by Olivebelle Hamon (1909-1987). Ms. Hamon was a child violin prodigy; in 1922, she played her violin while walking up and down the 33 flights of the fire escape of the Wrigley Building in Chicago to raise funds for charity. She started flying lessons at the age of 10, and earned her federal pilot’s license after the death of Robert Short, a pilot whom she had planned to marry.

She used what was left of her inheritance (which she reportedly squandered) to buy an airplane, flying herself to vaudeville performances. Learning how to play twenty different instruments, she was billed as a “one-woman band”. She was married and divorced at least three times. (Wikipedia lists three husbands, but her Find A Grave entry has her with a different surname from any of these.)

Ms. Hamon led a controversial life, but not nearly as controversial as that of her father, Jake L. Hamon Sr. (1873-1920). Hamon, who had made a fortune in oil, and who was married with two children, met Clara Belle Smith when he was 40 and she was 16. He started an affair with her, and then paid his nephew $10,000 to marry her and then go away, leaving him free to carry on with her; when his wife heard about the situation, she went to Chicago, taking their children with her. Ms. Smith, now Clara Hamon, eventually shot him after an argument; in her murder trial, she pleaded self-defense and was acquitted.

Hamon became attorney-general of Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1901, but was voted out in 1903 amid accusations of corruption. He was accused of attempting to bribe a U.S. senator in 1910, and he was influential in helping Warren Harding become President of the United States in 1920. He apparently was being considered for a cabinet post in the Harding administration before he was shot.

The Oklahoman has an in-depth article on Hamon’s life and death. (Edit: they just reorganized their website, and the link is now gone. Which is too bad – it was an entertaining article.)


9-year-old boy violinist

Here’s an ad from the March 2 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a nine-year-old boy who was about to play the violin at Massey Hall.

The boy’s name was actually Paul Lennard, and he was born in Brooklyn on October 16 1920, so he was 11, not 9, when he appeared at Massey Hall.

When Lennard started performing, he was given a Russian-sounding stage name because it was assumed that Russian artists would be taken more seriously. (He had a Russian music teacher and learned how to speak Russian, so he would have had as good a chance as any of pulling it off.) He performed throughout North America and then Europe in the 1930s.

Lennard went on to serve as an army photographer during the Second World War. After the war, he tried to resume his music career, but a train accident made it impossible for him to play. He became a businessman, owning and running a plastics business and branching into manufacturing scientific research equipment.

Lennard passed away on July 19 2020 at the age of 99. His obituary is here; there is also a web site that documents his life.


A vital message

Here’s another ad for a patent medicine offered by the Tamblyn drug store chain, this time from the March 2 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

A search for Nu-Erb turned up a Federal Trade Commission decision from 1936 in which a seller was forced to admit that it wasn’t anything other than a laxative and mild tonic.

While this advertiser may have stretched the truth about the wondrous healing properties of Nu-Erb, the testimonials for the product appear to be genuine. Or, at least, the people in the ads were real: the 1932 Toronto city directory lists Sehon Scott at 511 Ontario Street (Adelaide was presumably his wife) and Charles W. Deviney at 63 Annette Street. Mr. Scott worked as a train man on the Canadian National Railroad, and Mr. Deviney worked as a laborer at the Laidlaw Lumber Company. Three other Devineys are listed at 63 Annette Street, so it was a busy family!

Going forward: Mr. Deviney is listed in the 1937 directory, but not the 1942 one. Mr. Scott is listed as late as 1948, but is not in the 1949 directory. His wife, the Madame Adelaide Scott of the ad, also isn’t listed; either they moved somewhere or she predeceased him.


Visited her cousin

Here’s a picture from the photo page of the March 2 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

When Phyllis Fraser (1916-2006), born Helen Brown Nichols, arrived in Hollywood, one of the first things that her cousin Ginger Rogers gave her was her stage name. While Ms. Fraser never became a star, she appeared regularly in movies in the 1930s.

In 1939, she left movies for a career in advertising. In 1940, she married publisher Bennett Cerf, who later became a panelist on the TV show What’s My Line. After Mr. Cerf passed away, she married former New York mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr.; she eventually outlived him too.


Godfather to Hapsburg baby

Here’s one more photo from the September 8 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a prince of Austria being held by the former king of Spain.

The infant in the photo was Archduke Stefan of Austria (1932-1998), a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria. Born in Austria, he and his family moved to Romania in 1942. When his cousin, King Michael of Romania, was forced to abdicate in 1947, he lived in Switzerland, Argentina, and then finally in the United States, where he settled.

The archduke eventually became an American citizen and established a division of advanced research at General Motors in Detroit, which is probably not what he expected to be doing with his life when he was living as a prince in Austria.

King Alfonso XIII of Spain (1886-1941) became king at birth, his father having died before he was born. He was granted full powers of kingship in 1902, and abdicated in 1931 when the Second Republic was formed.