No pro career

Here’s a photograph from the July 23 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featuring some athletes with their children.


The common theme was that the athletes didn’t want their kids following in their footsteps. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out whether they did.

Glenn Cunningham (1909-1988) overcame a childhood accident to become a runner. He finished second in the 1500 metres at the 1936 Olympic Games, and held the world record for the mile for three years from 1934 to 1937. His Wikipedia page doesn’t mention his daughter.

Mike Meola (1905-1976) pitched parts of the 1933 and 1936 seasons in the major leagues before landing with the Toronto minor league club in 1937. After his career, he worked as a demolition contractor in New York.

There were a number of Hugh Borthwicks out there on the Internet, some of which were into golf, and some of which lived in Borthwick Castle.


Come at once

Here’s a cryptic entry from the Personals section of the July 23 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.


I’m thinking that if you wanted to be discreet about something, publishing your address in the Personals isn’t the way to go. But what do I know?

Naturally, I looked 161 Madison up in the Toronto city directories. The 1937 directory lists Oliver Buchanan as the resident, and the 1938 directory lists Colin McArthur. Cross-referencing to the names section doesn’t yield anything useful: nobody else with the same last name was listed at that address, let alone anyone named “Min”. The 1939 directory does list a Minerva McArthur at a different address, but that might be a coincidence.

I will never know what happened. But I can envision Min trying to get rid of Freddie and giving him a fake address. Which would have startled Mr. Buchanan or Mr. McArthur when he showed up looking for her.


On the job

Here’s a photo of a Canadian Olympic athlete from the July 23 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Roxy Atkins (1912-2002) was a competitor in the 1936 Olympic Games; she was a hurdler. After the Second World War, she married and moved to the United States, eventually becoming an American citizen. She worked with American track and field teams in 1956, 1971, and 1983, among others.


Filler from 1937

One thing that I love about old newspapers is the little bits of filler that would be added to random columns to fill space. Presumably, newspaper editors had a stock of these on hand, and could add one or more as needed.

Here’s two examples from the July 24 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. The first reports details on the wheat crop in Markham:


I had never heard of alsike before – alsike clover, or trifolium hybridum, is used as a forage crop. It may be poisonous for horses.

Here’s the second one:


It’s good to know that they were able to find a greased pig for the contest. How did they find a pig rental agency? Was it listed in the Yellow Pages?


York Mills home sold

Here’s a photo from the July 23 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a house that was sold at the corner of York Mills Road and Old Yonge Street.


The 1938 Toronto city directory lists Alfred J. Robertson as living on Rural Route 2 in York Mills; this house was far enough away then to qualify as rural. He didn’t live in this house all that long – the 1947 directory lists him at 369 Glengarry Avenue. This directory doesn’t list York Mills, so I don’t know who moved into this house after he left.

The house still stands, at least as of 2009. (In later Google Street View pictures, the house at that address is obscured by trees.)


Sues Woody English

The November 20 1937 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained a photo of Helen English, who was in the process of divorcing her husband, baseball player Woody English.


The couple had apparently eloped in 1930. He had been previously engaged to another woman, who eventually filed a breach-of-promise suit against him.

Woody English (1906-1997) played in the major leagues for twelve years, his career ending in 1938. He managed the Grand Rapids Chicks of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1952 to 1954, when the league disbanded. He won a championship with them in 1953.

The Society for American Baseball Research has a long article about English. I couldn’t find out anything about what happened to the former Mrs. English after the divorce.


The Homemaker

The second of two regular features to appear in the Toronto Globe (and then the Globe and Mail) in the 1920s and 1930s was The Homemaker, which was a section of the paper devoted to household-type stuff.

The Homemaker included a daily column entitled “Among Ourselves”. The August 14 1937 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail used this column to outline the history of The Homemaker:


The Homemaker (later The Homemaker Page) was gradually integrated into the rest of the Globe and Mail into the 1940s, and was discontinued sometime in the mid-40s. (Though I recently found a section in a 1951 Globe and Mail titled “Homemaker Correspondence”, so it might have hung around even longer than that.) If I find any more details, I will post them here.


Circle of Young Canada

During the 1920s and 1930s, there were two regular features that appeared in the Toronto Globe:

  • The Circle of Young Canada, which was a page that appeared every Saturday that printed stories, poems, and drawings by young people. Regular contributors received membership pins.
  • The Homemaker, a daily feature presumably intended for homemakers (I’ll write about it tomorrow).

The Circle of Young Canada is forgotten today, but apparently many writers got their start by writing stories or articles for this page. It originated in the 19th century, and was originally called The Children’s Circle before becoming the Circle of Young Canada in the early 1900s. I’ve found references to it here and here.

The Circle was run by Nancy Durham until she passed away, and then was supervised by someone calling herself Cheerful Jane (I haven’t figured out her real name). It survived the merger of the Globe with the Mail and Empire in 1936, but only barely; the latest edition of it that I have found so far is June 19, 1937.

A typical edition of the Circle in the 1930s contained, among other things, “The Chatter Box”, an editorial piece by Cheerful Jane. Here’s the April 17 1937 edition of it:


Editions of the Circle from 1937 included a pledge to protect birds:


And there were reader-supplied stories and drawings, such as this one from April 17 1937:


I don’t know why the Circle of Young Canada was discontinued. The last reference in the Globe and Mail to anything related to the Circle was the Nancy Durham Contest. Its prize-winning entries were printed in the September 18 1937 Globe and Mail:


The Circle from June of that year references this contest, which suggests that plans to wind it up had already been finalized. But I haven’t yet found details – if I do, I will post them here.


Bad driving in 1937

The August 14 1937 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained a lot of references to bad driving.

The blurb at the top left corner of the front page started it off:


Next, the Canadian National Exhibition was including a safety exposition as part of the 1937 Motor Show. They needed an example of a wrecked car; there wasn’t one that day, but there was likely to be one by Monday.


An article reported that 22 motorists were suspended for dangerous driving in one day:


And an ad from the Government of Ontario stressed the importance of courtesy when driving:


On the other hand, one man reported that he recovered his hearing after being hit by a car:


So I guess there is a good side to almost everything.



The November 27 1937 Toronto Globe and Mail contained this photograph, simply labelled “Soprano”:


Edythe Shuttleworth (1907-1983) was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, two years after the province came into existence. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, she first performed at Hart House in 1928, made her European debut in Paris in 1929, and sang in New York with the National Opera Company. She sometimes used the stage name Val Yoska, which I guess sounds more exotic.

She retired from singing one year after this photograph, when she got married. None of her performances are available on YouTube, but the National Portrait Gallery has a portrait of her from 1928.