Fun at home

Here’s a syndicated column that appeared in the May 25 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that described how to build a catamaran raft.

Ray J. Marran published several books between 1938 and 1940, all on the subject of building things for use inside and outside the home. Given that they were all published more or less at once, I suspect that they were collections of columns that had previously appeared in newspapers. Other than this, I couldn’t find anything on him.

Makes golf history

Here’s a photo from the May 25 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an American golfer who had just won the British Amateur golf championship for the second year in a row.

Lawson Little (1910-1968) won the British Amateur and U.S. Amateur championships in both 1934 and 1935. He is one of four golfers to have won both championships in the same year and the only one to do it twice.

Little turned professional in 1936 and won eight tournaments, including the 1940 U.S. Open. He carried up to 26 clubs in his bag until the United States Golf Association imposed a 14-club limit in 1938. He raised his family in a house that was located on the first fairway of the Pebble Beach golf course (hopefully, off to one side and not right in the middle of it).

An old Japanese custom

Here’s a photograph from the May 25 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of the Prime Minister of Japan putting his shoes back on.

Keisuke Okada (1868-1952) was the Prime Minister of Japan from 1934 to 1936. A moderate, he was opposed to the rise of the militarists in Japan; he narrowly escaped assassination in 1936 because the assassins killed someone else thinking that he was the prime minister. He left office after emerging from hiding a few days later.

Okada was opposed to the war against the United States. He worked to try to end the hostilities early and helped overthrow the Hideki Tojo cabinet in 1944.

Wins gold medal

Here’s a photo from the May 25 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a girl who had just won a piano contest.

As I’ve mentioned before, it was common practice in the 1930s for photos to list the address of the person being photographed. Needless to say, this would not happen today.

The 1935 Toronto city directory lists Edward and Maurice Goldstick as business partners in the Superior Wrecking Company; presumably, they were brothers. They were also neighbours: Edward lived at 356 Delaware Avenue, and Maurice lived at 358A.

I could find no reference to Sylvia Goldstick in any directory from 1937 to 1948, but an Internet search turned up this photo record from the Ontario Jewish Archives. It stated that Sylvia Goldstick married Dr. Izzy Kamin in 1940 and that the couple moved to San Francisco. The 1947 Toronto city directory lists Wilfred Goldstick as living at 358A Delaware, and I found an obituary for him that listed him as passing away in 2012 and that his sister, Sylvia Kamin, predeceased him.

Canada’s golf ambassadors

Here’s a photo from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of three Canadian golfers who were about to go to Britain to participate in matches there.

The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame and Golf Qu├ębec websites have entries on Gordon Baxter Taylor (1909-1999). He was successful in golf competitions for quite some time: among other things, he was the 1932 Canadian amateur champion and the 1968 Quebec senior men’s champion.

Ross Somerville (1903-1991) has previously appeared in this blog. He was the first Canadian to win the U.S. Amateur title, achieving this feat in 1932.

Daniel “Bud” Donovan (1914-2007) has a smaller footprint on the Internet, but I did find his obituary in the Winnipeg Free Press. From this, I learned that a total of eight Canadian golfers went to Britain in 1935.

Young musicians

Sometimes I save pictures from old newspapers even though I have no way of tracing them, just because I find pictures of people from so long ago so fascinating. As examples, here are a couple of photographs of young musicians and singers from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

First, two high school girls from Hamilton:

And two singers from Waterford, Ontario:

All four of these young people are long gone, of course, unless one of them has managed to make it to the age of about 105. But they might have children, grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren who are alive. Or they might be gone and forgotten.

Sees baseball game

Here’s a photograph from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of the Prime Minister of Britain’s daughter at a baseball game in the United States.

The journalistic convention of the time was, at least sometimes, to refer to the Prime Minister as the “premier”.

Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937) was the Prime Minister of Britain in 1924 and again from 1929 to 1935, resigning his office a little over a month after the above photograph due to ill-health. He fathered six children; the oldest, David, died of diphtheria in 1910. His wife, Margaret, passed away in 1911 of blood poisoning; Sheila was their youngest child and less than a year old.

Sheila was travelling with her father on board the ocean liner MV Reina del Pacifico on a South American voyage when he passed away in 1937. She married Andrew Lochhead in 1948; the couple had three children. She passed away in 1994.

Wrecked by motor car

The fence surrounding Osgoode Hall is now over 150 years old. But some of it needed to be replaced and repaired in 1935, as reported in the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

The article claims that a gate into the grounds was constructed to keep cattle out, which is something that I had always believed, but the Osgoode Hall Wikipedia page claims that this is an urban myth.

The same issue also contained a plea from the Government of Ontario for everybody to drive more safely:

It appears that driving was more dangerous in 1935 than it is today. There were 512 automotive fatalities in 1934, according to this ad, whereas there were 359 fatalities in 2022 when there were far more drivers on the road. The 2022 total represented a worrying increase, though, as there were 315 fatalities in 2021.


Here’s a photo from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a lobbyist for shipbuilding companies:

A search revealed a few links to information about Mr. Shearer:

  • A TIME magazine article from 1929 that describes his efforts in more detail. Shearer eventually sued the three shipbuilding companies who employed him as a lobbyist: he had been paid $51,230 and claimed that he was owed $257,655.
  • A speech from President Herbert Hoover that discussed Shearer’s efforts to impede disarmament proceedings.
  • Press photos of him from 1929 and 1932.
  • Video footage of him and his lawyer from 1929.
  • He wrote a novel in 1926.

I couldn’t find any record of him that was later than the photo above. William B. Shearer is not to be confused with William L. Shirer, who wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Face murder charge

Here’s an article from the April 24 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a man and a woman on trial for murder.

Alma Rattenbury (1897 or 1898-1935) had lived an eventful life before meeting Francis Rattenbury. Born in Toronto, she played with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra as a young woman. She married a relative of the Earl of Caledon in 1914; he fought in the First World War and was killed in action in 1916. After his death, she served as a hospital orderly in France and was wounded twice.

She married and divorced Thomas Packenham before meeting and marrying Francis Rattenbury, a British architect who settled in British Columbia in 1891. He designed the province’s Parliament buildings, which were opened in 1898. After she gave birth to their son in 1928, the couple lived on separate floors of their house in Bournemouth, England.

George Stoner was 17 years old when he was employed by the Rattenburys as a servant and chauffeur. He and Mrs. Rattenbury became lovers; her husband knew of and tolerated the affair.

Both Stoner and Mrs. Rattenbury pleaded not guilty to her husband’s murder. He was convicted but she was acquitted after only an hour of deliberation. (Trigger warning ahead.) Four days after being set free, on June 4 1935, she committed suicide by stabbing herself repeatedly.

Stoner was sentenced to death before his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released after seven years and went off to fight in the Second World War. He passed away in 2000.