Will to live

The June 1 1938 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained this reprint of a brief New York Times article on Pope Pius XI:


The article didn’t actually state why the Pope had lost or regained his will to live. Perhaps it was just that it was a nice day, and who doesn’t feel better on a nice day?

Naturally, I was curious: how much longer did he live? The answer is a little over eight months – he suffered two heart attacks on November 25, 1938, and then passed away from a third heart attack on February 10, 1939.


Must there be war?

The September 14 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an advertisement for a speech by the Duchess of Atholl:


It’s not clear from this title whether the duchess believed that there must be war or not – my guess is yes.

Katharine Stewart-Murray, the Duchess of Atholl (1874-1960) was a Conservative Party member of Parliament in Britain between 1923 and 1938, but was deselected by the party after declaring her opposition to Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement of Adolf Hitler. She was also opposed to abuses of rights in the Soviet Union, but supported the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War, leading to her being called the “Red Duchess”.

The Scotsman and Spartacus Educational have brief biographies of her.

An ocean liner was named after her in 1928; it was sunk by the Germans in 1942.


Camera victim at two weeks

The July 6 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included this photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Norfolk and their two-week-old daughter.

Duke and Duchess of Norfolk and daughter

Out of curiosity, I looked them up. There has been a Duke of Norfolk in England since 1483 (and off and on before that). The Duke’s given name was Bernard Fitzalan-Howard, and his wife was the former Lavinia Strutt. The young daughter in the picture became Anne Cowdrey, 14th Lady Herries of Terregles; she died in 2014.

The duke passed away in 1975, and fathered four daughters; the next duke was his second cousin once removed.


The Inquiring Reporter

In 1938, the Toronto Globe and Mail ran a regular feature called The Inquiring Reporter, in which they asked random people a question.

The July 23 1938 edition asked people what impressed them about Toronto:


And, as a counterpoint, the July 25 1938 edition asked them what they disliked about Toronto:


Readers seemed to like and dislike the same features:

  • One respondent from Saskatchewan thought that it was cooler here in summer, whereas one respondent from Alberta thought that the weather was warmer than back home.
  • One person liked the “very handsome buildings”, whereas another complained that there were so many large buildings that were a dirty grey colour, and a third complained that many buildings on main streets were grubby-looking and small.
  • Both people who liked and disliked Toronto had trouble getting around the city.

I felt saddest for the former resident of Copper Cliff, Ontario, near Sudbury (and now part of it), who pointed out, “Around our part of the country there are few trees, and flowers don’t grow well.” At one time, thanks to mining, the Sudbury area had 20,000 hectares of barren land in which no vegetation grew, and 80,000 hectares of semi-barren land. Toronto, even at its grimiest, would have seemed like a garden paradise by comparison.


Italy in 1938

The April 23 1938 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained two references to Italy, which I found amusing when compared with one another.

In 1938, of course, Italy was controlled by the Fascists and “Il Duce”, Benito Mussolini. One Toronto clergyman made this the subject of a sermon in Massey Hall:


The pact of friendship that Dr. Shields is referring to is the Easter Accords.

Compare this to the ad that appeared in the travel section of the same paper:


It’s a little disconcerting to see an ad for Mussolini’s Italy as a tourist destination, but I have no idea whether tourists would have been safe there in 1938.


Mosby’s Tonic

The September 14 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an ad for a tonic that supposedly contained 15 herbs.


A Google search for Gilbert H. Mosby turned up an interesting story: Mosby, who was from Cincinnati, earned a fortune during Prohibition selling a tonic named Konjola. This tonic was likely popular because of its high alcohol content.

Mosby also created tonics named Vola, Indo-Vin, and Van-Tage, but his company chose to use none of those names in Canada. He had previously declared personal bankruptcy in 1934 after an expensive divorce, so Mosby’s Tonic might have been something of a fresh start for him.

Naturally, I looked up the testimonial names in the 1938 Toronto city directory:

  • Mr. F. Snary of 72 Lappin Avenue turned out to be a real person; his given name was Francis, and he worked as a driver. (He was still at 72 Lappin in 1947.)
  • Sadie Golden of 347 Indian Grove was the husband of Henry, a sales manager. I have no idea whether she actually was a lifelong resident of the city and had hundreds of friends.
  • The Alps Restaurant was listed at 2872 Dundas Street West, and its owners were Tony Manzuris (mentioned in the ad) and Peter Makris. Mr. Manzuris lived down the street at 2387 Dundas West. (Mr. Makris lived there also.) In the 1941 directory, Mr. Makris was listed as the sole owner, having moved to 1660 Bathurst, and Mr. Manzuris was not listed in the directory at all; perhaps he had passed away from taking too much Mosby’s Tonic or not enough of it. Or maybe he just moved out of town. He didn’t go off to war and come back, though, as he was not in the 1947 city directory. (By then, Mr. Makris was an insurance agent.)

Mosby passed away in 1944 after falling and hitting his head; he was 57.


Four Daughters

The September 14 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for the movie Four Daughters:


I have no idea whether Jack Warner used this ploy often when advertising his movies – my guess is no, but I don’t know for sure. The critics’ reviews of this movie were generally favourable, though.

The movie featured the Lane sisters – more info on them can be found here. One of the sisters, Lola Lane, was apparently the inspiration for Superman’s love interest, Lois Lane.

The movie is not available on YouTube – somebody tried to post it, but they were busted for copyright violation.