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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.

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The gift of gifts

Here’s an ad from the April 29 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that offered a free guide with every Parker Pen.

After reading this, I wanted to know: who was Princess Rostislav, and did she actually write a “Guide to Correct Social Correspondence”?

It looks like “Princess Rostislav” might refer to the first wife of Prince Rostislav Alexandrovich (1902-1978), who was born Princess Alexandra Pavlovna Galitzine. The prince and princess were married in 1928 in Chicago, and were divorced in 1944. The National Portrait Gallery has photographs of the princess that were taken in 1922, when she was 17.

I have no idea whether this is the princess in question, or whether she actually did write a guide to correct social correspondence. I could find no reference to the guide anywhere, except in a reference from another ad in a Vancouver newspaper. If she had actually written such a guide, she would have had plenty of time to revise and republish it, as she passed away in 2006 at the age of 101.

Prince Rostislav, a nephew of Nicholas II, the last Czar of Russia, probably considered himself lucky to be alive and married to anyone: he escaped being assassinated by the Bolsheviks when German troops freed him in 1918. After he and the princess divorced, he went on to marry Alice Eilken and then Hedwig Maria Gertrud Eva von Chappuis; she married Lester Armour, who was almost certainly not a prince (at least not literally).

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When she wasn’t looking

The March 13 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this syndicated cartoon that today would seem deeply creepy or possibly even grounds for an assault charge (not to mention a medical malpractice suit):

It was difficult to find much on Ed Reed on the Internet, as searches tended to turn up references to a football player named Ed Reed and to Edward Tennyson Reed, a British political cartoonist. I did find an obituary for him, which stated that he grew up in Paris, Texas and that he continued to produce cartoons until his retirement in the mid-1980s. He wound up buying and living in a house in England that formerly belonged to Queen Elizabeth’s great-aunt.

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Memory blank after fall

Here’s an article from the March 13 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a teenage girl who escaped a pursuing man. I noticed it because it contains rather sloppy writing.

I’m reasonably certain that Mrs. George Hallam did not say, “My daughter had left the home of Mrs. Dobson, 1347 Pape Ave., and had only to walk around the corner to reach the home of Mrs. T. O. Fowler, 53 Chilton Rd., where she was going.”

When I looked up the addresses in the 1936 Toronto city directory, I discovered that the article writer didn’t get most of these right either. There is no Balsam Avenue in East York, and there wasn’t one in 1936 either; the directory does list a George Hallam at 225 Gamble Avenue, which is in the right neighbourhood and sounds about the same as the non-existent 226 Balsam. There was also nobody named Dobson at 1347 Pape. The article did have the right address for Mrs. T. O. Fowler, so one out of three was correct.

I looked in some later directories, and found a May Hallam in the 1944 directory. She was living on Strathmore Boulevard, which isn’t all that far away from Gamble Avenue, so I assume that it’s the same person as in the article. So, happily, it looks like she recovered from her injury.

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Famous model killed

Here’s a sad bit of filler from the February 11 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Google searches for more information led me down an odd rabbit hole. It turned out that the model for the Paris statue of Joan of Arc was an 18-year-old girl named Aimée Girod. Unfortunately, she did indeed burn to death in her apartment, but the references that I found (here, here, and here) claimed that this happened in May 1937.

So now I’m confused. Either a different woman, claiming that she was the model for Joan of Arc, was also unfortunate enough to burn to death, or all of the sources available to me today on the Internet have her date of death wrong.

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Seeks career

Here’s a picture from the photo page of the February 11 1936 Toronto Daily Star of a boy from New Zealand who was hoping to have a career in motion pictures.

As it turned out, Ronald Sinclair (1924-1992), whose given name was Richard Arthur Hould, had not one career but two in the movies after landing in San Francisco at the age of 12 (not 14 as stated in the photo). Between 1936 and 1942, he appeared in 16 movies as a juvenile, including playing young Scrooge in the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol. In his first films, he was billed as “Ra Hould” before taking his stage name.

After serving in World War II, Sinclair started editing films in 1955, working extensively with independent filmmaker Roger Corman. Beginning in the mid-1980s, he worked as a dialogue or ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) editor, working on the first two Die Hard movies among others, and continuing at this task on various projects until the year that he passed away.

It’s safe to say that Sinclair, or Hould as he then was, did achieve his dream of a film career. But he could not have imagined, as he was leaving the H.M.S. Makura in 1936, that one day he would be editing a film titled The Maltese Bippy.

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On a bicycle for two

Here’s a photograph from the November 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two British industrialists on a tandem bicycle.

William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield (1877-1963) made a fortune selling Morris motor vehicles and then proceeded to give lots of it away. The grant mentioned here was used to found Nuffield College, the first co-educational college at Oxford.

Unfortunately, the contract to build airplane engines mentioned in this photo caption didn’t work out. When given the contract, Nuffield claimed that his factories could produce 60 Spitfires a week. But, by May 1940, when airplanes were most needed, they hadn’t produced any. When Lord Beaverbrook was placed in charge of aircraft production, Nuffield was fired.

On the other hand, Nuffield offered to give an iron lung to any hospital in the British Empire that wanted one; over 1700 took him up on his offer. So I guess you win some and you lose some.

Harold Bowden (1880-1960) set his sights a little lower in life, possibly because he was a second-generation industrialist: his father, Frank Bowden, founded Raleigh Bicycles in 1887, after a health scare prompted him to take up cycling. The younger Bowden seems to have been a capable steward of his father’s company: he was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1929, and he got his own page in the Cycling Weekly’s Golden Book of Cycling in 1938.