Finds uninvited 8

The Toronto Daily Star newspapers of the 1920s and 1930s featured daily columns titled “Men’s Police Court” and “Women’s Police Court” that summarized the results of the daily court cases. For instance, the Women’s Police Court section of the February 22 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star told the story of a man who returned home from work only to find that eight people, almost all strangers to him, were having a party there:

I tried to trace Robert Perryman, the man who had the unwanted houseguests, in the Toronto city directories. It appears as though the article had his address wrong – the 1933 directory lists nobody living on Commercial Street, but does list a Robert Perryman at 77 Commissioners Street in Toronto’s docklands district.

This Mr. Perryman worked as a nightwatchman at McColl Frontenac and lived in a house on the premises. There’s also a listing for Robert Perryman at 55 1/2 Sumach Street. Harold Perryman, who worked as a fireman at McColl Frontenac, also lived at 55 1/2 Sumach; this suggests that the two Perrymans were brothers and that Robert divided his time between the two residences.

Since the article doesn’t mention a brother or other relative, the unwanted bash probably happened at 77 Commissioners. This seems quite a distance for a group of party crashers to travel, but who knows. (Here’s what 77 Commissioners looks like today.)

In the 1934 directory, Robert Perryman was now listed at 77 Commissioners and 249 Booth, with Harold also at 249 Booth. By 1935, the two Perrymans had severed their connection to McColl Frontenac, and were working as labourers and living at 249 Booth. In the 1936 directory, they were both at 65 Logan; the 1938 directory lists Harold but not Robert.


Romeo finds no Juliet

If you’ve stopped by this blog before, you probably know that I like to post articles and then look things up in the Toronto city directories. So I was pleasantly surprised to find an article in the February 22 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about looking things up in the newly-released 1933 Toronto city directory!

The first part of the article points out that Gertrude Aalto and Alex Zyzda were the first and last names listed in the directory:

I looked in the 1933 directory myself and, sure enough, these were the first and last people listed:

The second part of the article mentioned people with the unfortunate names of Joseph P. Deady and Mrs. Segna Boring:

Sure enough, Mr. Deady and Mrs. Boring were in the directory too, as promised:

However, I have an advantage over the writer of this article, as I can look into the future that he or she could not yet see. Out of curiosity, I looked for all four of these people in the 1938 directory:

  • Gertrude Aalto was gone, but the first people in the directory were now Emma Aalto (widow of David) and Oscar Aalto.
  • Alex Zyzda was now a butcher and grocer, living at 80 Argyle.
  • Joseph P. Deady was still at 201 Sorauren, but had changed jobs: instead of being a TTC conductor, he was now a waiter at the Royal Cecil Hotel.
  • Mrs. Segna Boring was, alas, no longer listed.

And, just because, I went forward all the way to 1948 to see if our two remaining stalwarts were still there:

  • Joseph P. Deady was still at 201 Sorauren. He was now an employee at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
  • There were now three Zyzdas in the directory. Alex was still at 80 Argyle and still a butcher and grocer. Mike Zyzda was also at 80 Argyle and working at Massey-Harris; I assume that he was Alex’s son.

There was also a William Zyzda at 146 Shaw. I could check the directory in earlier years to see whether William and Alex were related, but I kind of like the idea of a totally unrelated person named Zyzda showing up in the city to take over as the last person in the directory.


Every meal is fresh

In the February 22 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, the owners of the Murray’s restaurant chain decided to attract attention by creating an ad that took up an entire column of a page. I’ve included it here; I’ll meet you at the bottom of the ad!

Digging around in the Toronto city directories revealed that Murray’s was based in Montreal. There were actually seven Murray’s locations in the 1933 Toronto city directory, and there were approximately five or six locations in all directories right up until 1969, which is the last year that I can access.

Murray’s existed in Montreal up until 2009. The Montreal Gazette has an article on the closing of the last Murray’s.


Meer sham pipe

In the 1930s, the Toronto Daily Star used to include a column on its editorial page titled “A Little Of Everything”. This column always started with a poem. As you might expect, these poems varied widely in quality from actually quite good to trite doggerel.

I’ve included the poem from the February 22 1933 edition because it included drawings and because the name and address of the poet was provided at the bottom.

But here’s the catch: when I looked up 628 Crawford Street in the Toronto city directories, no one named Ralph Gordon lived there. The 1932, 1933, and 1934 directories all listed Fred W. Utley at that address. There was a Ralph W. Gordon in the 1933 directory, with his listing in bold face even, but he was at the Canadian Bank of Commerce and lived at 45 St. Clair Avenue West.

I have no idea what is going on – did Mr. Utley use a pen name when creating this poem and diagram? The 1933 directory listed no occupation for him, but the 1929 directory listed him as an elocutionist. So I guess he was interested in words and how they sound, which might mean that he wrote this. But I wonder whether Mr. Gordon read the Star, and whether he was surprised to see his name in the paper when he was on his way to work at the bank.


Romance nipped, sues U.S.

Here’s a photo from the February 22 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young woman whose marriage was supposedly prevented by the United States government.

Martin Porkay (1890-1967) has a Wikipedia page in German. He was apparently good at finding painted-over masterpieces and detecting forgeries. He was married to women named Clementine Haas and Leonore Gräfin von Ludolf; I have no idea whether this was before or after his thwarted marriage to Ms. Carey above. He was also a second assistant director on a 1929 movie.

There were in fact two senators and governors from Wyoming named Carey who were father and son: Joseph M. Carey (1845-1924) and Robert D. Carey (1874-1937). Presumably, Ms. Carey was the daughter of the latter. The younger Carey passed away two weeks after he left office in 1937.

I have no idea what happened to Mr. Porkay’s lawsuit against the United States. When I searched for Sarah Carey and Martin Porkay together, the results that appeared were pork recipes from a more modern-day Sarah Carey. I did discover that Sarah Carey, who became Sarah Weber, passed away in 1955 at the young age of 44.

One final thought: how did Mr. Porkay and Ms. Carey ever meet? Their backgrounds seem somewhat different.


Discount clothing

In 1933, Canada was in the middle of the Great Depression. So it was not surprising that the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a lot of ads for clothing on sale.

(I’m trying out the WordPress image gallery feature here – click on an ad to display it in detail.)

Of course, some of these firms would not likely have gotten business from anybody other than the very wealthy even before the depression – some of those furs are very pricey.


First baby born in year

The January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star continues to be a source of material for this blog! Here’s a bit of filler from this edition that mentions the first baby born in Toronto in 1933:

Just for the heck of it, I decided to trace the Kerchers in the Toronto city directories. This proved to be very easy: Clarence H. Kercher had an unusual last name, and he remained at 65 Eastbourne Avenue for the rest of his life, working at CGE in one capacity or another until he retired. He is listed in the 1966 directory, and his widow is listed in the 1969 directory.

The 1955 directory contains the first appearance of Nancy Kercher, who is listed as a student at the same address. I would guess that she was the baby who was born at the start of 1933. She became a teacher: in 1958, she is listed as teaching at Northern Technical-Commercial School and still living at 65 Eastbourne. By 1963, she was at Cedarbrae School and still at 65 Eastbourne, which is where she was in 1969, the last directory that I can access online.

Google searches for Charles Kercher and Nancy Kercher turned up nothing, even given that I had her date of birth and occupation. 65 Eastbourne Avenue is a nice house in North Toronto; I can see why the family would not have wanted to move.


Alderman-elect ill

One of the things I enjoy most about old Toronto newspapers is their obsession with ensuring that every column of print is filled from top to bottom. This meant that each edition contained a number of items of filler.

Here’s a bit of filler from the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a Toronto alderman-elect who was recovering from influenza.

Happily, Robert Allen (1888-1969) recovered from his bout of influenza. He had previously served on Toronto city council from 1927 to 1930 before regaining office in 1933. In 1934, he was elected the provincial member of Parliament for Riverdale as a Liberal, losing to the Progressive Conservative candidate in 1937.

Mr. Allen’s son, William Allen, was Metro Toronto chairman from 1962 to 1969. The Allen Expressway is named after him.


Famous woman flyer

I’m continuing to find material in the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star! Here’s a photograph of an aviatrix who was planning to teach other women how to fly:

Ruth Elder (1902-1977) was one of the aviation pioneers who was good enough (or perhaps lucky enough) not to die young. Called the “Miss America of Aviation”, she was the first woman to attempt to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in a plane, trying this in 1927. She didn’t quite make it, but she and her pilot were rewarded with a ticker-tape parade anyway, and she was given a movie contract, appearing in some films in the late 1920s.

Ms. Elder gave a number of husbands “the air” in her lifetime, as she was married six times, including two divorces in 1932. Her sixth marriage, to Ralph P. King, lasted until her death. In later life, she was hired by Howard Hughes as an executive secretary; initially, he didn’t know who she was.

British Pathé has newsreel footage of the 1927 flight:

YouTube also has a number of videos of Ms. Elder, including this footage from 1935.


Welcome back, Alice Joy

Here’s the third of three photos from the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featuring a woman with unusually thin eyebrows by modern standards. The previous two women had thin horizontal eyebrows, whereas those of singer Alice Joy were more curved but equally unusual:

Alice Joy, whose given name was Frances Holcombe, appeared on radio throughout the 1930s. Her show was titled Alice Joy, the Dream Singer, and Time magazine once stated that her voice had “a saxophone quality so deep that it might be a man’s”. I couldn’t find out anything about what happened to her after she stopped singing on the radio.

This link indicates that her show was sponsored by Prince Albert tobacco. (“Have you got Prince Albert in a can?”)