The winner is small

Here’s a photo from the October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a auto race winner who won a trophy that he could fit into:

Tazio Nuvolari (1892-1953) raced motorcycles in the 1920s and cars after that. He won a total of 150 races, and Ferdinand Porsche called him “the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future.”

There are a number of videos of Nuvolari on YouTube; this one, lasting 22 minutes, looks to be the most comprehensive.


S. Titchener Smith has returned

Here’s an ad for a dancing school from the October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

When I did a search on S. Titchener Smith, I found a reference to him in this blog entry. His full name was Samuel Titchener Smith, and he had studied ballet at the Vestoff-Serova School in New York.

The article also mentioned that Mr. Smith had appeared a decade into the new century, so I started looking for him in the Toronto city directories about then. I first found him listed in the 1915 directory as a teacher, under the name of Samuel T. Smith. By 1925, he has started appearing as S. Titchener.

In the 1936 directory, his dancing studio was at 50 Yorkville Avenue. By 1938, his studio was at 646 Broadview, where he lived. In the 1947 directory, he was listed with no occupation, so I assume that he was retired.


Duke sought U.S. heiress

The October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this article about an Irish peer who was in debt in 1928 and tried to solve the problem by finding a rich American woman to marry.

The Duke’s attempt to marry his way out of his financial difficulties didn’t work, but I guess there’s no harm in trying.

Leinster is the premier dukedom of Ireland, and was created in 1766 for a family named FitzGerald. Before the dukedom was created, the head of the family had been the Earl of Kildare since 1316.

Edward FitzGerald (1892-1976), the 7th Duke, had not expected to inherit the title, as he was the youngest of three sons. But when the 6th Duke’s second son went missing in action in World War I, and the first-born son died childless in a mental institution in 1922, Edward became the Duke, despite having signed his rights away due to gambling debts. He wound up marrying four times, two of which are mentioned in this article:

  • His first wife was May Juanita Etheridge, a chorus girl known as the Pink Pajama Girl. She and the duke divorced in 1930, and she passed away from an overdose of sleeping pills in 1935. The Footlight Notes blog has an entry for her.
  • At the time of this article, the duke was married to Raffaelle van Neck, an American. They divorced in 1946; the duke was quoted as saying, “She said she could not live with black-faced sheep and lochs, and I saw a certain amount of truth in that”.
  • The duke’s third marriage was to Jessie Wessel, a music hall singer and actress whose stage name was Denise Orme. Ms. Wessel had given birth to seven children in her two previous marriages; one of the seven became the mother of Aga Khan IV. This marriage ended when she passed away in 1960.
  • The duke’s final marriage was to Vivien Conner, a waitress. They remained married until the duke committed suicide by overdose in 1976. He never did discharge all of his debts.

A new tartan

The September 18 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photo of the Balmoral tartan, as chosen by King Edward VIII during his short reign.

The Scottish Tartans Authority has a page on the Balmoral tartan. It was originally designed by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria. The Authority claims that the only people who are approved to wear this tartan are Queen Elizabeth II, members of her family who have been given permission, and the Queen’s personal piper.


A modern Portia

In 1936, female lawyers were rare enough that the September 18 edition of the Toronto Daily Star saw fit to include a picture of one:

The problem with tracing women in the Toronto city directories is that the directories do not list married women. So it is with Ms. Haughland: she was listed in the 1935 directory as a student at law (as “Edith”). The 1936 directory omits the Haughland family entirely, but the 1937 and 1938 directories list Edythe Haughland as a lawyer. After that, she presumably appears under her married name, if at all.

(For those of us, like me, who aren’t all that literary: Portia is a character in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.)


Dewbourne Avenue home sold

The Toronto Daily Star editions from the 1930s often included a Real Estate section that contained one or more photos of upscale houses. Here’s one from the September 18 1936 edition.

$18,500 in 1936 dollars is equivalent to $342,500 today – which wouldn’t be that much for a house in Forest Hill!

The Toronto city directories inform me that this house is at 18 Dewbourne Avenue, and that Walter W. Davis, a stockbroker, lived there. He lived there until 1948. The 1948 directory lists Mr. Davis as having no occupation, and the 1949 directory doesn’t list him. This suggests that he enjoyed this Georgian type residence for a little over a decade.

The house still stands, and doesn’t appear to have changed much.


Making good

The front page of the September 18 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photograph of a young Toronto woman who hoped to be successful in Hollywood.

Unfortunately, she did not make good, at least under her own name: the Internet Movie Database doesn’t have any entries for Diane Marsh.



Hindsight is 20-20, but looking back from our present vantage point, you’d have to say that this article in the August 7 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star got it spectacularly wrong.


William Daum Euler (1875-1961), the author of this unfortunately inaccurate prediction, was a Liberal politician, serving as an MP from 1917 to 1940. After this, he was appointed to the Senate, where he stayed until his death.

Before 1917, he was the mayor of Berlin, Ontario, from 1914 to 1917; he was the last mayor of Berlin, as its name was changed to Kitchener in 1916. As a Senator, he lobbied for the elimination of the ban on margarine in Canada.



Here’s a real estate ad from the August 7 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


The typesetting in “extraordinary opportunity” looks strange, but then I realized what had happened. The typesetter needed to try to fit both words into the space provided for the ad, but was a bit short, so he or she compromised by using the slightly narrower digit 0 instead of the letter O. If you look at the third line of text, which uses the regular letter O, I think you’ll see it.

Gloucester Grove is actually quite a long street, and some of the properties have been remodelled since 1936, so I’m not sure whether the bungalows offered in this ad still exist. These houses might be likely candidates – as the ad states, no two of them are alike.


Toronto district manager

For years, the business section of the newspaper has included photographs of executives that have been promoted to important new jobs. I’ve always wondered what criteria companies used to decide whether to send their new promotee’s picture to the paper.

For example, the August 7 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this photo of a man who had just been promoted to Toronto District Manager for a life insurance company.


Mr. Genesove looks a little sad in this photograph. Perhaps it’s just a trick of the camera, or perhaps he felt that a work-related photo required solemnity.

Because he has an uncommon name, I traced E. J. Genesove in the Toronto city directories. In the 1936 directory, Emanuel J. Genesove is listed under his previous job, as supervisor at the downtown office of the Northern Life company. So it looks like National Life lured him away to his new job.

It also looks like Mr. Genesove didn’t hold his new job for long. The 1937 directory lists him (now as Emmanuel with two m’s) as a district manager for National Life, but the 1938 and 1939 directories do not list him at all. These directories do not list his widow, so I have no idea whether he passed away or whether he accepted another role in a different city.