St. Lawrence Starch Company Dionne quintuplets files Help


Series F 4392-58

St. Lawrence Starch Company Dionne quintuplets files


About these records

Title
St. Lawrence Starch Company Dionne quintuplets files
Dates of Creation
1933-1999
Physical Description

60 centimetres of textual records

Sub-series forms part of

F 4392 St. Lawrence Starch Company fonds

Scope and Content

Series consists of files documenting the relationship of St. Lawrence Starch and the Dionne Quintuplets, their use in St. Lawrence Starch advertising and the resulting litigation with Canada Starch.

W.T. Gray initially read about the births in a newspaper article that also mentioned the use of corn syrup in the babies' diet. Gray made a series of donations of money and corn syrup to the Dionnes. In 1934, St. Lawrence's advertising agents approached the official guardian of the quintuplets, W.H. Alderson, requesting a certificate that Beehive was the syrup used in the first feedings. A payment of $400 was also included. The reply correspondence from Alderson confirmed that Beehive was used first and it granted St. Lawrence Starch full and exclusive advertising rights and the guardians agreed that no other brand of corn syrup would be similarly endorsed. Litigation occurred between 1935 and 1937 involving St. Lawrence Starch as a defendant and Canada Starch as plaintiff. Canada Starch claimed that St. Lawrence Starch's association of Beehive corn syrup with the quintuplets in 1934 was hurting their business. In 1937, the lawsuit was dismissed with costs awarded to St. Lawrence Starch.

Series contains files related to advertising, calendar design and production, and legal matters. Included is correspondence with lawyers, official guardian, W.H. Alderson requesting and granting permission to use the quintuplets in St. Lawrence Starch advertising, Doctor A.R. Dafoe, traveller Bert Bell who performed some investigative work in North Bay to obtain evidence for St. Lawrence Starch prior to the start of the court case, the Canada Starch Company complaining about false advertising, and Hon. David Croll, Ontario Minister of Public Welfare.

Files also contain records assembled for evidentiary purposes in advance of the trial such as sales data, grocer witness statements and reports; court documents including affidavits, statement of claim and cross examinations; court transcripts including arguments, rebuttals and judgement; St. Lawrence Starch sponsored radio show scripts; calendar draft wording and purchase orders; newspaper advertising; magazine articles and books, and newspaper clippings about the trial.

Restrictions on Access
Records are closed for 25 years from their date of creation.
Terms For Use and Reproduction
Copyright has been transferred to the Archives of Ontario by the donor. There are no restrictions on reproduction. Permission of the Archives of Ontario is required for publication; submit a Request for Permission to Publish, Exhibit or Broadcast Form.
Notes

Title is based on the content of the series.

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