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Clogged drains pile up roads

This is the time of year where thawing of melting snow can cause floods. For example, consider this photo from the February 25 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I looked up the weather records for 1936 in Toronto. The middle of February of that year had been cold and snowy: the city received over 24 cm of snow over three days in the middle of the month. This was after a few snow dumps in January that had not had time to melt.

If the city was at risk of flooding, it was unfortunately about to get worse. February 26 brought a mix of rain and snow: 14 mm of rain and 5 cm of snow. And there was 7 centimetres of snow on February 28.

March was warmer, and it must have almost seemed like spring was on its way – until 25 cm of snow fell on St. Patrick’s Day. As everyone knows who lives here, winter can be persistent in Toronto.

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The maid and myself

Here[s an ad from the February 25 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that I found fascinating.

First off, the ad followed a social convention of the time that is horrifying to my modern eyes: the woman providing the testimonial for Princess Pure Soap Flakes doesn’t even get to use her own first name. She’s “Mrs. Walter Kennedy”.

Since she had a maid and lived in the Westmount district of Montreal, I would assume that Mrs. Kennedy was from the city’s English upper crust. Also, she sounds so formal: instead of “The maid and I”, it’s “The maid and myself.”

I would guess that the maid did the actual washing of the wool and silk, but of course I have no way of knowing.

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American pianist here

Here’s a photo from the February 25 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a piano player who was about to perform in Toronto.

Dalies Frantz does not have a Wikipedia entry, but the Texas State Historical Association has a page on him. He had an extensive career performing in the U. S. until the outbreak of war, during which he served as an intelligence officer before receiving a medical discharge. He was plagued by health problems later in life and passed away in 1965 at the comparatively young age of 57.

The Internet Movie Database has an entry for him that lists the four movies that he appeared in between 1938 and 1940.

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Gift suggestions for 1936

The December 15 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained some Christmas gift suggestions. For instance, there were Neilson chocolates:

The Ontario Hydro shop had electric appliances for sale as Christmas gifts:

And Colgate-Palmolive had a collection of gift options:

In tougher times, perhaps a gift of soap or toiletries might have been appreciated.

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Beautiful hostess

Here is a photograph from the December 15 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman who was hosting the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Searches revealed that the Baroness Rothschild was known as “Kitty” and that she passed away in 1946 in Long Island. The couple had moved there shortly after the Second World War started.

The Baron, Eugène Daniel von Rothschild (1884-1976), married British film actress Jeanne Stuart in 1952. She passed away in 2003 at the age of 94. Other than hosting the former king of England, he doesn’t seem to have done anything particularly remarkable.

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To sing for Santa Fund

Here’s a photograph from the December 15 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a singer about to perform for the Star’s Santa Claus fund.

A search turned up very little on Adolph Wantroff. Besides some other references to him singing at various events, I found a 1960 edition of the Canadian Jewish Review that mentions an event attended by Cantor Adolph Wantroff, and a reference to an Adolph Wantroff Education Fund.

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Scrubwoman at ball park

Here’s a brief article from the December 15 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a daughter of Charles Ebbets who was trying to get work at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

When Charles Ebbets passed away in 1925, funds were established for his heirs, but these ran out in 1933, thanks to the Great Depression. The estate was tied up in a dispute between its heirs, which was not resolved until 1949. At that time, Mae Ebbets Cadore (sometimes written as Maie Ebbets Cadore) became one of 22 heirs who divided up Ebbets’ remaining fortune of $838,558.

One of the complications of Ebbets’ estate was that a large part of it was his half ownership of the Brooklyn Dodgers. His will stipulated that his shares in the Dodgers were to be sold as a unit. This didn’t happen until 1945.

I found two related links to this story:

  • A Time article from later that month that mentioned that Ms. Cadore was living in a dollar-a-day room in Brooklyn.
  • A brief mention of her in a 1955 Sporting News article. It mentioned that Ms. Cadore passed away in 1950, which meant that she did not have very much time to enjoy her inheritance when she finally received it.
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Wants alimony cut

Here’s a short article from the December 15 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a comic strip creator who wanted to pay less alimony to his wife.

Bud Fisher (1885-1954) married twice. In 1912, he eloped with Pauline Margaret Welch, a vaudeville actress; they divorced in 1917. He married his second wife, Aedita de Beaumont, in 1925; they separated after four weeks, but never divorced. I assume that the alimony was going to her. Apparently, he had lost all interest in the Mutt and Jeff comic strip by the mid-1930s, which might explain his reduced income.

Ms. de Beaumont might have gotten her alimony reduced, but she gained ownership of the comic strip when Fisher passed away. The strip eventually passed to her son, Pierre de Beaumont, founder of the Brookstone chain of stores.

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Dark horse in baby derby

Here’s an article from the Toronto Daily Star about a 24-year-old woman who had given birth to ten children:

The contest being referred to here is the Great Stork Derby, which lasted from 1926 to 1936. Charles Vance Millar was a wealthy lawyer, financier, racehorse owner, and part-owner of O’Keefe Brewery. When he passed away in 1926, he did not have any immediate heirs, so he decided to be capricious with his will. Among other things:

  • He left a vacation property in Kingston, Jamaica, to three men that he knew couldn’t stand one another. (The property had been sold before he passed away, so the men didn’t have to endure each other’s company.)
  • Every practicing Protestant ministry and Orange Lodge in Toronto was left a share of O’Keefe stock. O’Keefe was primarily owned by Catholics.
  • A number of Christian ministries in the Windsor and other areas were left a share of racetrack stock.

But the most capricious clause in his will left a considerable share of his fortune to the woman who bore the most babies during the next ten years. Thus, the Great Stork Derby was on.

The Historicist web site has a long article on the Great Stork Derby. The $500,000 prize money offered to the winner was eventually shared by four women: two of them, Lucy Timleck and Kathleen Nagle, were on the list above. $125,000 in 1936 is equivalent to over $2.6 million in today’s money, so this was quite a haul.

The mysterious Mrs. X mentioned in the Daily Star article was actually named Pauline Mae Clarke. She and one mother mentioned in the article, Lillian Kenny, settled out of court when at least one of their children was ruled ineligible for the contest.

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After speed record

Here’s a photograph from the August 25 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a man who was designing a plane that he hoped would set a speed record.

Harry Crosby went on to sustain serious back injuries when testing his CR-3 plane (which might have been this one). Undeterred, he designed the CR-4 plane while recovering, and finished in third place in the 1939 Greve Trophy race, part of the National Air Races. His plane was unofficially clocked at 386 mph in one test flight, which would have given him the record.

Crosby later flew as a test pilot for Northrop, and was killed in 1945 when testing the Northrop XP-79 flying wing fighter aircraft, which was later abandoned. His CR-4 plane was featured in the movie Tail Spin (1939). YouTube has two excerpts from this film:

  • Constance Bennett and Joan Davis smoking in three clips, one of which appears to feature Crosby’s plane.
  • Alice Faye singing “Are You In The Mood For Mischief”.