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Queen Mary stowaway

The front page of the May 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a photograph and an article about a woman who stowed away on the Queen Mary. (I’ve only included part of the article here.)

Searches in the Toronto city directories and elsewhere revealed that Ms. Siegel’s name was actually Rohama Siegel, and that she was born in 1905. So she was 30 or 31 years old when she decided on impulse to stow away on the Queen Mary.

She is listed in the 1928 city directory as a student, and she and her father, Isidore H. Siegel, are listed at 53 Lee Avenue. The 1930 directory lists her as working at Realty Associates, the 1931 directory lists her as a journalist, and the 1933 directory lists her as a stenographer.

In the 1934 directory, Ida Siegel is listed as Isidore’s widow, and Rohama is not listed; by then, she was probably working in New York as mentioned in the article. She definitely was in England later on, as she co-wrote the screenplay for We’re Going To Be Rich (1938), a British film that starred Gracie Fields (previously mentioned in this blog here).

Searches also turned up a photo of Rohama Siegel with two of her siblings, along with a brief biography of the three. The date is suggested to be about 1940, but I suspect that it was taken earlier. I also found a family tree record, which states that she passed away in 1996.

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Shouts fascist war cry

Here’s an article from the May 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a Spanish fascist party leader who was about to be sent to jail.

José Antonio Primo de Rivera (1903-1936) was eventually accused of conspiracy and military rebellion against the Spanish Republican government after the Spanish Civil War broke out. He was executed in November 1936, or more or less after the prison sentence mentioned in the article had expired.

The Spanish Republican government was defeated in the Spanish Civil War, with General Francisco Franco taking over as leader on April 1 1939. Many pro-Franco Spaniards regarded Primo de Rivera as a martyr, and he was posthumously granted the title of Duke of Primo de Rivera in 1948.

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Bermuda’s new governor

Here’s a photo from the May 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of the next governor of Bermuda.

Reginald Hildyard (1876-1965) was a career British army officer who served in the Boer War and the First World War. At the time of this article, he was a Lieutenant General; he was promoted to full general in 1938. He was governor of Bermuda from 1936 to 1939.

He also was a racist, as he supported the Bermuda government’s plan to introduce birth control clinics for what was then referred to as the “Negro” population. This and his military achievements were all that was memorable about him.

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Today’s their birthday

The May 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star covered the Dionne quintuplets’ second birthday in some detail. But it also included a photograph of a set of triplets who were having their second birthday that day as well:

Needless to say, these triplets were fraternal, not identical, as there were two boys and one girl.

I tried searching for information on the Chisholm triplets, but turned up mostly information on a couple named Nick and Nicola Chisholm who became parents of triplets in 2020. They were noteworthy because Nick Chisholm, who is the brother of the host of Survivor NZ, has locked-in syndrome after suffering a series of strokes after a rugby match.

I did find an obituary for Herbert Chisholm, who passed away in 2008. At that time, the other two triplets were still alive.

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Her hands keep smooth and white

Here’s an ad from the May 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention because it contained a testimonial from an actual person.

As usual, I was curious, so I tried to trace Mrs. Margaret Cameron in the Toronto city directories. Unfortunately, married women are never listed, but I discovered in the 1936 directory that 2001 Bloor Street West was the Ellis Park Apartments, and that a Fred J. Cameron lived in unit 401. Cross-referencing to the Names section of the directory yielded that he was working as a clerk at Confederation Life. (The Ellis Park Apartments still stand.)

When looking people up in the city directories, I have discovered that people who work for insurance companies tend to remain there, and such was the case with Mr. Cameron. He remained a clerk at Confederation Life through 1948, moving from his apartment to 539 Windermere Avenue and then to 16 Meadowcrest Road in Kingsway Park. The 1949 directory doesn’t list him or his widow, and 16 Meadowcrest Road has someone else listed, so my guess is that the Camerons moved out of town.

The Goldbergs, the show mentioned in this ad, appeared on radio from 1929 to 1946 and on television from 1949 to 1956. It was the second-longest running 15-minute serial comedy in radio history, second only to Amos ‘n’ Andy.

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Second birthday

May 28 1936 was the second birthday of the Dionne quintuplets, and that day’s edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained several articles and ads commemorating this birthday.

There was a small article on the front page, continuing on to page 9, that pointed out that the Dionnes were the first quintuplets in human history to survive. Before them, 33 sets of quintuplets had been born, and all had passed away.

Greg Clark (1892-1977), the author of this article, went on to have a distinguished career in journalism, becoming one of the first Officers of the Order of Canada in 1967.

Next, there was a chart of the five babies’ weights over the course of their lifetimes:

The quintuplets were very aggressively marketed, including on their birthday. Here’s an ad for Libby’s baby food:

And an ad for Lysol:

And an ad for Carnation tinned milk:

Last but not least, the front page of the second section of the paper contained a photograph of the quints, each with her own birthday cake:

Two of the five quintuplets remain alive today: Annette and Cécile. Émilie passed away in 1954, Marie in 1970, and Yvonne in 2001.

Pierre Berton’s The Dionne Years, published in 1977, is a good history of the Dionnes and their time. In 1965, the four surviving quintuplets and co-author James Brough wrote We Were Five, a scathing indictment of their childhood and how they were exploited.

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Taught high school at 15

Here’s one last item from the April 29 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. This is an article about a woman who was about to turn 85 who had been a high school teacher in the 1860s.

Once again, I felt compelled to indulge my morbid curiosity: I looked Mrs. De La Matter up in the Toronto city directories to try to find out how long she lasted.

The 1936 Toronto city directory lists her at 126 Windermere Avenue, and lists Guy De La Matter, presumably her son or another relative, at 8 Marion. Since the 1935 directory lists both of them at 126 Windermere and the 1937 directory lists both of them at 8 Marion, I think this was a directory update failure.

Unfortunately, Mrs. De La Matter did not get to celebrate many more birthdays. The 1938 directory also lists both of them at 8 Marion, but the 1939 directory lists Guy at 1495 Dundas West and does not list her.

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Celebrate 55th

Here’s a photo from the April 29 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a couple celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary.

As is usual when I see one of these, I looked the couple up in the Toronto city directories to see how long they lasted after the announcement. Mr. Wilson had such a common name that it was easier to find him by looking up Shaftesbury Avenue in the Streets section of the 1936 directory – I found him at 24 Shaftesbury. I also found Robert Wilson at 22 Shaftesbury and Fred E. Wilson at 26 Shaftesbury, so the street appears to have been a Wilson family compound.

All three Wilsons are in the 1937 and 1938 directories, but the 1939 directory lists John J. Wilson at 24 Shaftesbury and a non-Wilson at 26. In the 1940 directory, only Robert remains, at 22 Shaftesbury.

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To Alaska by canoe

Here’s a photo from the April 29 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two adventurers who were about to attempt a long-distance canoe journey.

According to this Los Angeles Times article and this blog entry, Sheldon Taylor and Geoffrey Pope actually made it to Nome, arriving on August 11, 1937. Sadly, the fame and fortune that they hoped would follow from their journey did not materialize. Fifty years later, Taylor and co-author Rick Steber wrote a book based on Taylor’s recollections of the trip.

Ghosts of Sailors at Sea, an instrumental band from Boston, has released tracks titled “Sheldon Taylor” and “Geoffrey Pope”. I couldn’t find a connection between the band and the two adventurers.

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East meets West

Here’s a photo from the April 29 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two female tennis players competing in a tournament in England.

Gem Hoahing (1920-2015) was of Chinese ancestry, but was actually British: she was born in Hong Kong, and her family moved to England in the late 1920s. She was 15 at the time of this photograph, so she was too young to play at Wimbledon that year, but she competed in 19 Wimbledon championships between 1937 and 1961. Her best results were reaching the quarterfinals in women’s doubles in 1948 and the fourth round in women’s singles in 1949 and 1957. At 4’9.5″, she was the shortest player ever to play at Wimbledon.

Dorothy Round (1909-1982) was one of the leading British female tennis players of the 1930s, finishing in the quarterfinals or better in women’s singles at Wimbledon every year from 1931 to 1937, and winning in 1934 and 1937. She also won the Australian Championships in 1935. After her tennis career ended in 1950, she took up golf, playing in tournaments during the 1950s.