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More filler

I love looking at newspapers from the 1930s for many reasons, one of which is because they always contained lots of little bits of filler to ensure that every column of every page contained no blank space.

As an example, I grabbed copies of some bits of filler from the May 3 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. They led me to categorize newspaper filler into five broad categories. First, there’s obscure facts:

Next, we have words of alleged advice:

And there are jokes and witty sayings, some of which are better than others:

Of course, there are bits of news:

And, last but not least, there are local events:

I tried to look up Miss Elsie Cochrane in the Toronto city directories to see if she was listed there as an adult. She was not in the 1933, 1935, and 1938 directories.

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Grants decree nisi

In 1933, it was harder to get a divorce than it is today. It was rare enough that the April 20 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star used a report of a divorce as a bit of filler on one of its pages:

I was hoping to be able to locate the Geleffs in the Toronto city directories to find out what happened to them, but I had no luck. The 1933 and 1934 directories listed three family members named Geleff living at 35 Davies Avenue and a confectioner living at 202 Queen East; none of them were named Katherine or Anastas. Searches for similar last names turned up nothing either. Whoever these people were – and however they spelled their name – I hope they had happy lives now that they were apart.

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Snubbed by society

Here’s a bit of filler from the March 24 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a woman who was snubbed by Cleveland society.

The Midwest Guest blog has an article on Jimmy and Laura Mae Corrigan. She had inherited her husband’s fortune when he unexpectedly dropped dead in 1928. After returning to England, she lived on an income of $800,000 a year in London during the 1930s.

When war broke out, Mrs. Corrigan raised enough money for wartime relief efforts that she earned the nickname “The American Angel”. After the war, England awarded her the King’s Medal, and France honoured her with the Croix de Guerre, Legion of Honor, and Croix de Combattant. She passed away in 1948, and is buried in the same Cleveland cemetery as John D. Rockefeller.

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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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Back at classes

The February 4 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this enigmatic bit of filler:

This was confusing. Why were doctors declining to comment?

A search of the Toronto Daily Star archives yielded this article from the February 2 edition, which provided an explanation:

And on February 5, the paper had this to say about young Mr. Griffin:

A Google search for Murray Griffin revealed that he played in the Canadian Football League for a number of teams in the 1930s and 1940s, winning the Grey Cup with Ottawa in 1940. Presumably, whatever was wrong with him in 1935 had no long-term effects, at least not for a few years.

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First baby born in year

The January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star continues to be a source of material for this blog! Here’s a bit of filler from this edition that mentions the first baby born in Toronto in 1933:

Just for the heck of it, I decided to trace the Kerchers in the Toronto city directories. This proved to be very easy: Clarence H. Kercher had an unusual last name, and he remained at 65 Eastbourne Avenue for the rest of his life, working at CGE in one capacity or another until he retired. He is listed in the 1966 directory, and his widow is listed in the 1969 directory.

The 1955 directory contains the first appearance of Nancy Kercher, who is listed as a student at the same address. I would guess that she was the baby who was born at the start of 1933. She became a teacher: in 1958, she is listed as teaching at Northern Technical-Commercial School and still living at 65 Eastbourne. By 1963, she was at Cedarbrae School and still at 65 Eastbourne, which is where she was in 1969, the last directory that I can access online.

Google searches for Charles Kercher and Nancy Kercher turned up nothing, even given that I had her date of birth and occupation. 65 Eastbourne Avenue is a nice house in North Toronto; I can see why the family would not have wanted to move.

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Alderman-elect ill

One of the things I enjoy most about old Toronto newspapers is their obsession with ensuring that every column of print is filled from top to bottom. This meant that each edition contained a number of items of filler.

Here’s a bit of filler from the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a Toronto alderman-elect who was recovering from influenza.

Happily, Robert Allen (1888-1969) recovered from his bout of influenza. He had previously served on Toronto city council from 1927 to 1930 before regaining office in 1933. In 1934, he was elected the provincial member of Parliament for Riverdale as a Liberal, losing to the Progressive Conservative candidate in 1937.

Mr. Allen’s son, William Allen, was Metro Toronto chairman from 1962 to 1969. The Allen Expressway is named after him.

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Dean of Canterbury weds

Here’s a brief blurb from the October 25 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about what could be called a May-December romance:

Hewlett Johnson (1874-1966) was a zealous supporter of the Soviet Union. He published a collection of pro-Soviet articles, The Socialist Sixth of the World, in 1939; it was later discovered that much of this book was copied word for word from various Soviet propaganda sources.

His marriage to the former Nowell Edwards (who was his second cousin) produced two daughters. As far as I know, the couple stayed together until his death. She passed away in 1983.

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Misogynistic filler

Old editions of the Toronto Daily Star always contained a bunch of short filler articles that were about two or three lines long, thus allowing the typesetter to completely fill every column. Whoever was writing some of the filler for the September 11 1930 edition of the paper was someone who didn’t particularly like women:

Yes, I know they’re just jokes, but yeesh.

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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:

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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:

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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?