Wednesday, February 13, 2013

bonus features: william peyton hubbard

This post offers supplementary material for a recent "Ghost City" column in The Grid, which you should read first before diving into the following text.




Among the neat things I found while looking through the city archive files on William Peyton Hubbard was a letter from 1907 stamped with Toronto's official civic seal. The document was an official notice from Mayor Emerson Coatsworth vouching for Hubbard while the latter toured Washington and other American cities. Given the racial attitudes of the time, I suspect there were numerous occasions this letter aided Hubbard.

Mr. Hubbard is a highly esteemed citizen of Toronto. He is now and has been for many years a leading member of our City Council, during which time he has occupied a number of positions of prominence. He has been repeatedly elected to the Board of Control by the City at large, and has occupied the position of Vice-Chairman of the Board, a position second only in importance to that of Mayor of the City.

Controller Hubbard’s keen interest in all municipal public works and services may lead him to seek information in the various cities visited by him, in which case we bespeak for him that kindly courtesy and consideration which we are sure the presentation of this letter will secure.

Other items Hubbard preserved from his trip include visitor passes to government buildings in Washington.



The unfortunate part of Hubbard’s preserved scrapbooks for researchers is that the sources for most clippings are not identified. Take this item: a cartoon commenting on Hubbard’s vote count during the 1906 election. Besides the event depicted, one other element helps identify the timing and source right off the bat: the signature of “Rostap,” which was the pen name of Telegram cartoonist Owen Staples. Unfortunately, many of the other clippings have no such markers, which leads a researcher trying to source a piece down the road of identifying typefaces commonly used by a paper before hitting a microfilm machine.

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