Looking Back


Mrs. Ulmer's Out-of-School Collection

He started out with his own band but then he began singing along with them and before long, Rudy Vallee was probably the first American "pop" star performances were sold out and female fans went mad. His popularity as a crooner in the 1930s led to a career on radio and as an actor.


That's probably why young women like Betty Baker bought his sheet music. When she moved to the Bilby area early in her teaching career (1930), and married Emil Ulmer, she continued to add popular music to her music collection but it seems that her interest turned more to drama and plays. Certainly there were plays performed by her students for festivals, etc., but there were also plays performed by young people in the area probably an excuse for socializing with other young people but also used as community fundraisers.


One Act

Rudy Vallee

Rudy Vallee's huge fan base owed much to the invention of the microphone (used in large concert halls), the growing popularity of vinyl records and his radio program.

One Act Plays

Community groups met to practice and perform plays in their halls or schools entertainment for all ages.

The Onoway Museum, thanks to her daughter Fern Brooks (who attended school in Onoway while her mother taught here), has a wide-ranging collection of the materials that long-time Onoway teacher Mrs. Caroline (Betty) Ulmer used in school and at home.


Like most housewives, Mrs. Ulmer took advantage of free cookbooks offered by food processing companies, or later on, companies selling appliances. Yes, International Harvester did sell freezers!

Kitchen Aids
IH Freezers

Kitchen Aids

Which companies gave these away? Colman-Keen included tear-out coupons in "Hostess Delights" that could be used to buy Keen's mustard pickles.
IH freezers


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Last updated: January 31, 2019