A Memorable Cheque – 1954

The Sunday service was broadcast on WWJ weekly from 1922 until the early 80’s and had regular listeners from as far away as Sarnia/Port Huron. In 1954, this unique letter was received, triggering the correspondence that follows below.

Mrs. Rudolph Valentino
Mrs. Lionel Barrymore

December 7, 1954.

During the Sunday Morning Service, you mentioned having a calendar for 1955.

Am enclosing my cheque for $1.00. Kindly send to Sid (Mrs. Lionel) Barrymore.
Box. 100, Hy. 40
Sarnia, Ont.

December 14, 1954
Peoples Savings Bank
Port  Huron

We have received a letter dated December 7, 1954 from someone styling herself “Mrs. Lionel Barrymore” and enclosing a check for $1.00 payable to St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is signed “Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Ennisclare”
This circumstance seems SO unusual to us, that we felt, before using the check, we should communicate with you to see whether or not there is in reality such a person. A stamped self-addressed envelope is enclosed, for your convenience in reply.
Yours very truly,

Donald N. S__
Senior Warden and Treasurer

(First class postage was 3 cents in 1954)

December 16, 1954
Mr. Donald N. S____
1601 Dime Building
Detroit 26 Michigan
Dear Mr. S____
With reference to our inquiry of December 14, we do have an account “Her Royal Highness-Princess Victoria, the Duchess of Ennisclare”.  This lady resides in Sarnia and as far as we can learn is of royal blood.  She receives mail under this title and conducts her business in the city of Sarnia using the same name.  For that reason we have never questioned the authenticity of the title.
Very truly yours,
A.S. C_____
Vice President

December 20. 1954

Mr. A. S. C_____
Vice President
Peoples Savings Bank
Port Huron, Michigan

Dear Mr. C_____

Please accept my sincere thanks for the information contained in your letter of December 16, 1954 concerning “Her Royal Highness,  The Duchess of Ennisclare”.  The circumstance seemed so very unusual that we felt we should verify it especially since the lady’s letterhead reads “Mrs. Rudolph Valentino now Mrs. Lionel Barrymore”.  If this refers to the prominent Lionel Barrymore he is, of course dead, and moreover, according to newspaper reports, was unmarried at the time of his death.

Yours sincerely
Donald N. S_____

December 20, 1954

Mrs. Lionel Barrymore
Box —, Highway 40
Sarnia, Ontario

Dear Madam

As requested in your letter of December 7, 1954, we enclose a St. Paul’s Cathedral Calendar for 1955.

With every good wish for the New Year, we are

Yours sincerely

Donald N,S_____Treasurer
St. Paul’s Cathedral

editor’s note: It appears the check was never cashed.