Thursday, May 23, 2019

 

Heritage Auction Items from my Collection

Last week Heritage almost literally gave away some of my art collection. I'm still stifling sobs. Hopefully some folks will bid this week with something more than the contents of their change purse. This week Heritage has another batch of beautiful and interesting items, all of which can be seen at the Heritage site by clicking here.




This lot of six originals all thrown together makes my heart heavy, but if there are discerning comics lovers out there, hopefully it won't all crash and burn. First we have a wonderful funny piece by E.A. Bushnell, an accomplished editorial cartoonist who sometimes jumped over into the realm of humor. This 1919 piece chronicles the hard life of the travelling salesman.

Next is a special drawing of Uncle Eph by Oscar Hitt. What is amazing about this piece is that it was done for the fabled Wheeler-Nicholson Syndicate in 1926 during their brief existence. Only piece of Wheeler-Nicholson art I think I've ever seen. Yep, this is the Major Nicholson who went on to found DC Comics.

Next is a beautiful piece by Magnus Kettner, a real tear-jerker that almost certainly was done for either Editor & Publisher or The Fourth Estate and pays homage to the editor of a small-town paper. Very displayable if you are a newspaper lover.

Next we have a rare surviving example of Paul Robinson (famed for Etta Kett) during his very very brief time on Embarrassing Moments, the King Features panel in which many elite cartoonists toiled -- George Herriman, Billy DeBeck, Jay Irving and more. Earliest Paul Robinson you're ever likely to find.

Next we have an early and obscure comic strip rarity from 1912-- Amos Roach by Andy Hettinger. The history on this strip is hard to pin down, but it definitely ran in the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 1913.

Finally we have a real jewel ... if you're from Indiana. A rare original of Roger Bean by Indiana's favorite son, Chic Jackson, complete with all the major characters. If you're outside of Indiana you probably won't care, and if you're from Indiana, I need say no more.

What am I bid for this series of treasures? A whopping $12 as of Wednesday. Shoot me now.



These Heritage people are killing me. Selling one lot with both an Otho Cushing and a Kemp Starrett original? This one really slays me, especially when I watch people on Heritage bidding hundreds of dollars for a 'slabbed' copy of Marvel Two-In-One number who-gives-a-crap or for an X-rated convention sketch of Aunt May. 'Tis a strange world.

Anyway, if you don't know who Kemp Starrett and Otho Cushing are, well, just look at the art. There is literally not a single bid on this lot as of Wednesday, and so obviously the world has gone mad.



Okay, I.m not going to freak out about this lot of art by Ralph Dunagin. Yes, it includes two nice  space exploration editorial pieces, and yes, if you're into murderers, then the courtroom sketch of the Black Satin Killer (complete with tattooed words on his fingers), are pretty freaking cool. But surely not worth more than a buck, which is the current bid.


Obviously the main attraction in this lot is the lovely Barbara Shermund color piece, and that's just as it should be, but don't ignore the Franklin Folger The Girls panel, showcasing some brilliant zipatone work along with sensitive portraits of his husband and wife subjects. The sleeper here is a fun piece by Bill Thomas, who was an artist with the San Francisco Examiner at the time. Ostensibly his drawing is a headpiece for a ladies fashion column, but you can rest assured this never made it into the paper, what with that conspicuously bulbous bare ass. No, this was a gag piece that he gave to Jim Ivey back in the early 60s when both were in the bullpen there. The drawing, though, is of amazingly high quality considering it was just made to break up the monotony in the art department.






Here are a set of four promotional posters put out by the Louisville Courier-Journal to advertise their comic strips. They are odd posters, I admit. They're black and white and they have a lot of small print. When I bought these the seller claimed thy were meant for those overhead advertising spaces on buses, but I just don't think I buy it. Any guesses as to the intended use of these impressive though curiously bargain-basement class posters? If you're a fan of Freddy, Smidgens, The Neighbors or The Country Parson, and who doesn't fall into one of those camps (he said with a snicker), you just can't live without these.

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

 

News of Yore 1905: Winsor McCay on the Creation of "Dream of the Rarebit Fiend"

[When a book of Winsor McCay's "Dream of the Rarebit Fiend" was published a publicity article was sent out to newspapers nationwide. Many newspapers edited it for length, but I think I worked from a pretty complete version for this reprinting. I worked primarily from the version that ran in the Minneapolis Tribune on October 9 1905]


 How The Rarebit Fiend Happened

by "Silas" (Winsor McCay)

Author of "The Dream of the Rarebit Fiend"

 

 How did the Rarebit Fiend happen?

What can I say about him?

Well, as author of "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend," I have been asked to tell about my work in connection with this "justly celebrated" comic series.
How the Rarebit Fiend came into existence is about as easily explained as it is to tell how a Patagonian field became full of Scotch thistles. I fear I cannot tell the whole story in the space that this paper will permit unless it should decide to run it as a serial for a couple of years. But it will not, and I don't blame the editor -- much. So I will be brief, merely hitting the high places in presenting the sad tale.

In the first place, I am not a funny man. I am not a humorist. I am a plain, ordinary newspaper artist, and that is distinctly a sad affair.

I woke up about ten years ago from a dream which lasted -- well, as long as I can remember. It was a dream that I was to be a "master" whose works would hang on the line a dozen centuries or so hence. My mother used to tell me I was a clown. She knew me better than I did, I guess, for I have since discovered it to be only too true.

I love the serious side, and have done considerable work along that line. No! No! Nothing worth mentioning, but just enough to acquaint myself with the fact that I never was or never will be a "master." I would rather picture a man falling in battle than one falling down stairs. They are both falling, but there is that funny something about the man falling down stairs that I can't keep out of the battle scene.

I once painted an oil of a man dying of thirst in Death valley, and almost every one that visited the exhibition turned away from my sad picture with a smile. I asked an old critic what caused the merriment, and he replied: "Because it's funny: the dying man looks like he is kidding."

From that on I have been drawing a salary as a comic artist.

I feel so flustered and fidgety about receiving the great honor of telling I came to draw "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend" that I hardly know how to start. I can now realize how other "great" authors and artists felt when called upon to tell their troubles, too. However, about a year ago, when nothing disturbed the calm morning air except the noise in the street, the machinery in the building and the yells of the other employees going to and fro in the halls, my brain gave birth to a tiny idea. I blew in its face and it opened its little eyes, and it blinked at me. Swathed in flannels, I tucked it away and began a system of coddling and caresses that threatened my health. After one week's nursing, he was able to go and see the editor.

If that gentleman had used that word that causes so much pain in this world, and which has given me so many pains, that cruel word "unavailable," this great universe would have never known of this great Rarebit Fiend. Although on wobbly legs and covered with pin feathers, he made quite a showing, and the next day readers knew that he had been born.

At first his bed was in my card case, then in a stamp drawer. He soon grew so that from a shoe box filled with cotton he required a soap box filled with saw dust under my desk. I fed him regularly, groomed and petted him fondly and exhibited him semi-weekly, while he kept on growing until today he reaches from coast to coast both ways.

I have partaken of Welsh rarebit (I know the preferred spelling is rabbit, but artists could never spell any more than great men can write, so let it go as it happened to begin) on several occasions with hospitable friends, but not often enough fortunately, to become addicted to the habit. It was not their magnanimity that inspired the birth of this monster now prowling throughout the land, but the tales my friends told of the dreams they had had after retiring that made him a possible quantity.

About the time that my pet was shedding his baby teeth and his mouth looked like an unfinished subway entrance, I inserted a note inviting the public to send in their dreams, as you may remember. In telling this I not only modestly confess my utter inability to furnish food to him, but also that the public assisted me by sending in thousands of good ideas in nourishing my child up to the proportions he has now assumed. For which I am so thankful that to express it would require pages.

As I said before, I am an illustrator. One newspaper artist is sent to a big fire, another to a banquet, another to a railroad wreck or murder. I am assigned to illustrate the rarebit dream of some unfortunate in Hoboken, N.J.; Kokomo, Ind., or Oshkosh, Wis. If the dream is funny, that is not my affair. It is the public who is responsible and not I. I merely tell the story, like any other newsgatherer or reporter.

I come to work in the morning and on opening my mail read of some woman in Albany dreaming of taking a bath in hot tar to beautify her complexion. It might upset me for a minute, but I soon am at work putting it in news shape that readers may know what is going on up state.

Some people take those dreams seriously.

They all should. A dream is no joke. It is a condition in the mind of a sleeping man which, if it existed when he was awake, would land him in the psychopathic ward. The most dignified person will, while innocently slumbering, pass through an apparent and lifelike experience that he awakes weeping, perhaps; perhaps shrieking or laughing over some incident of his dream.

A man comes home early from church, perhaps and without malice aforethought partakes of a luscious rarebit and retires for the night. Three or four hours later he is fighting like a demon with hundreds of hungry Igorrotes who seek him for the succulent rib roasts, steaks, chops and broilers which comprise his general makeup. Not until he bumps his head or barks his shins on some nearby furniture does he awake and breathe a sigh of relief. Then I come along looking for an item for my paper.

All is not rosy, though, with me. I have been unmercifully condemned by some for, as they declare, driving people away from rarebit emporiums. Other say, "Rarebits do not make one dream." My only reply is that I am in the hands of the public.

Mrs. ------ surely would not deliberately lie to me when she writes that after eating a rarebit she dreamed that her husband used her biscuits for paperweights down at his office, and that he had a trained wart hog to do his short hand work.

The dream of the young man who could not keep from laughing, try as he might, when his mother-in-law was being hanged, brought down on me the wrath of one Mr. -----, to whom I can only say, "I did the best I could with that dream."

While I prefer to stick to the facts, in this case, for the old lady's sake, I treated the subject tamely compared to what my correspondent reported.

The real situation was the old lady had twelve married daughters and their twelve husbands formed a lynching bee and -- well, it was cruel to draw. But do you know, I have had that "dream" pronounced at least twenty-five times by married men -- who, however, were particularly confidential in their manner of expressing their appreciation -- as being the best dream I ever drew.

I could say volumes about the odd letters I get. The queer dreams and comments on dreams that come in daily have convinced me that the people like and look for the "Rarebit Fiend." It is a very remarkable news sections of the paper. I try to put the facts just as I receive them. I shall stick to the truth. The "Dream of the Rarebit Fiend" is no joke, satire or burlesque; it is a plain, ordinary every night occurrence in our daily life illustrated and published for the public good.

I go at my work as seriously as my co-worker down the hall who is writing the obituary  notice of some great political organization. I might occasionally be deceived; some one might send in a dream -- a hair raiser -- who, instead of eating a rarebit the night before, had eaten sauerkraut dumplings. In that case I innocently do the rarebits a wrong.

I have enough letters stacked away to pad a carpet for the state of Texas telling me I spell the word wrong; that it should be "rabbit." I wish people would be a little more considerate of my young life. Poor spelling is an artist's prerogative.

I may as well say a few words as to how I feel during the time I am at work on a dream. I am first overcome with a strange bearing down on my shoulders. A something seems to push me to my desk. I may be gazing out of the window, but my mind is far away. I resist gently at first as the desire to gaze possesses me, but presently I find myself struggling with the something with no small effort, when my boss will appear on the scene and say, "Get busy." I then sink into my chair with a somewhat pained expression and mechanically reach for my pencil and go to work.

Yes, I do feel my work. I put my heart into my drawings and act them in imagination as an actor might. Thus when I am illustrating a man having his skeleton pulled out through his mouth by a dentist you can imagine the terrible sufferings I endure.

When I draw a man frantically dodging some monster green baboon every muscle in my body is in full tension. If I am making a man laugh, I grin like a pet fox; if he scowls, I scowl also. The result is I am as busy as a man with eczema counting money. My face looks as though I had St. Vitus dance, my hands working like a shuttlecock and my feet doing a sand jig.

Yes, occasionally I laugh at my own work, but it's more hysteria than mirth. When I have finished I am blue in the face. I am then taken in charge by my trainer, who, with bottle and sponge, quickly revives me. I am placed in the sun to bleach out.

My book, "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend," which is now on the market, promises to add to my millions considerably, as I expect every man, woman and child to buy one if they have the price handy. I am almost tempted to believe a man would steal enough money to purchase one of these books. Libraries throughout the country will do well if they send in their orders early, thereby avoiding any panic which might occur at their doors. Mr. Carnegie, I am told, expects to throw in a carload with every new library. I hope so.

In conclusion, I will say for the rarebit it is a great game. The lady who can make good rarebit might have to chain her husband down when sleep comes to him, but, like glue, he will stick to her through thick and thin.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Slagg Diggins, Millionaire Miner



There is nothing in the history of newspaper comics that can compare to the art and coloring of the major New York City Sunday sections of the 1890s. As with many new technologies, especially in printing, in the early years they haven't yet learned how to cheapen the process, speed it up, cut corners. Those early practitioners of color printing on high-speed presses were trying to perfect a very cumbersome technology, and each Sunday they pointed with pride at what they accomplished. Readers responded to the quality by buying papers in quantities never even dreamed before then.

I don't know if these full-page panels of Slagg Diggins, Millionaire Miner are impressive to you, but my breath is taken away by the combination of J. Campbell Cory's intricately crosshatched art and the colorist's masterful performance to bring the images to life. If the artwork isn't enough of a treat, then the history-minded comic strip fan can also get a good chuckle out of this New York World series, which is a pretty obvious dig at W.R. Hearst's papa, who was very much  a real life version of Mr. Diggins. William Randolph probably had a fit over these obvious taunts. Too bad Cory didn't take it one step further and highlight Mr. Diggins' son to bring the insult even closer to home.

Slagg Diggins, Millionaire Miner ran on the cover of the Pulitzer newspapers from March 19 to April 30 1899.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans, especially since he must not have done those obviously frail tearsheets any favors getting them onto the scanner.

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You say "the Major New York City Sunday sections", but one might be puzzled that these are from a St.Louie sheet. Obviously the Pulitzer parent paper was the New York World, and with but a masthead change, this is the same section that would appear in both towns. Do you think they printed these in NY at the same time for both papers?
 
If Diggins was a takeoff on WRH's father, might we infer that's young WRH leering at a mannequin's bust? One wonders if the Diggins heir was featured in other pages.
 
I seem to recall that the P-D had their own 4-color press pretty early in the game, but would they not have received their color separations from New York?

--Allan
 
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Monday, May 20, 2019

 

Mystery Strips: Pepless Pete


Here is a mystery strip from the collection of Cole Johnson. This tearsheet of Pepless Pete ran on October 5 1919 in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. Cole told me he had no idea if it was a series, but that he'd never seen another. As far as I know, the G-D is not available digitally, so unless someone happens to have more material in their collection, someone needs to go old-school and get to a library that has the paper on microfilm if we're going to solve this mystery.

Although the strip is signed, it is obscured by a combination of flaky newsprint and archival tape. To me it looks like "K. Jay B-----". Anyone?

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There is a microfilm run of the Globe-Democrat. Cole would borrow reels via interlibrary loan, while trying to complete his Philadelphia Inquirer project. (the G-D was a reliable client for years, and sometimes ran the Inky's fifth page that they themselves didn't.) He stopped bothering with them when the microfilmers perversely stopped capturing the comics, though they were evidently in the volumes used. That obtained for the final years of the Inquirer's full section offerings, about 1914-5. At that time, The G-D switched to a NY Herald section and maybe 1917 or 1918 started knocking out a page so they could feature their own home made stuff, like ol' Pepless here.
If anyone wants to give it a shot, by this time, they may have started to include the comics again in the microfiles.
About the condition of the page: This was once the property of the St.Louis Public Library. There, in the late 1930's, A new idea in unneeded, useless make-work projects was launched by the WPA; do something with the hundreds of years of newspapers in big volumes in public library stacks. What they proceeded to do was disbind the runs of the Post-Dispatch and the Globe-Democrat, the two leading papers of that day. They then covered each page, front and back, with a weird, very thin white gauzey fabric, pasted on. It left them opaque, and presumably useless, though a strip of new paper was glued to the edge, presumably for a re-binding project later.
But that never happened, perhaps they realized just how nuts the whole fiasco was, or the taxpayer's money was suddenly spent sensibly. But this fiasco left behind hundreds upon hundreds of large boxes of these strangely done pages, filed away in some kind of madman's obsessive order; 32 pages of second sports pages from 1909, 77 pages of magazine section back covers, 1921, 46 third want ad pages, 1917, 10 pages of page 9, 1901, etc.
They were all just warehoused until the 1970's, when Cole and I had a look. Some comics, here and there could be found, But you'd have to have unlimited amounts of time, body strength and patience to sift through the whole lot. A few pages were extracted, but then the removing of the cruddy covering was sometimes impossible to rub off (and I'm talking half an inch at a time)and it seemed to suck all the moisture out to the paper as well, making them as brittle as the dead sea scrolls, especially at the edges.
Fortunately these paper's runs were preserved in other repositories.Some fun.
 
An entertaining but very sad story, one of many in the lore of newspaper archives. Thanks Mark.

--Allan
 
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Thursday, May 16, 2019

 

This Week's Heritage Auctions

This week Heritage Auctions is selling these items from my collection. Follow this link to see them all at Heritage:



Here's a fun grouping of original gag cartoons. You get a Country Parson, missing his caption, a fun Kickin' Around by Wally Falk featuring his recurring characters Hildegard and Olivia, a mystery cartoon by Camillus Kessler titled Nicholas and his Jobs (I've never found such a series), an Off the Record by Ed Reed, a panel from Dorothy Bond's panel The Ladies featuring her character Cosynose, and best of all, an early Berry's World daily from 1964.




Here's a treasure trove of material from the short-lived detective newspaper strip The Duke of Manhattan, including original art, syndicate proofs, correspondence and promotional materials. The strip ran for a very short time in the New York Sun in 1946.



A big group of 25 original editorial cartoons by Jim Ivey, mostly dating from the 1970s when he was the featured political cartoonist for the Orlando Sentinel. Subjects range all over - national politics, sports, local stuff, you name it.


Here is a group of two fabulous cartoons which should probably be sold separately. Heritage decided to put them together because of the shared subject of football.

On the left we have a masterpiece of grease pencil work by famed editorial cartoonist Burris Jenkins Jr. This piece dates from the 1930s, probably produced because of a slow day on the sports pages, so Jenkins takes the opportunity to look back sentimentally at peewee football.

The piece on the right is an amazing cartoon by Russell Patterson, dating from the 1920s and probably from Life or Judge. Prison convicts get into the swing of Roaring 20's football, wearing raccoon coats and waving pennants at a prison football game. The washes used on this give it a wonderful feeling of dimensionality, something I sometimes find lacking in Patterson's work.


Here are two early panel cartoons from Mischa Richter's long-running Strictly Richter daily panel. I really love that bold slashing line of Richter's. One piece is nicely mounted and framed.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Unsophisticated Oscar





Today we look at Unsophisticated Oscar, which is both an obscurity and a mystery.

The creator of the strip, who went only by 'Gregory' or 'Greg', had real potential as a cartoonist, but he got himself a syndicated daily strip when he was several Landon lessons short of being competent. His gag ideas were usually pretty standard stuff, but they were executed with a real sense of fun. If his drawing was better the strip could have been worth readers' time.

The earliest I can find Unsophisticated Oscar is in the Taunton Gazette in August 1913. The strip was a seven-column daily, with a text drop column bringing up the rear. The strip carried no syndicate stamp but appeared in a smattering of newspapers all over the country, so it was most likely not a self-syndication effort (which I would expect to have a more regional subscribership).

As 'Gregory' faced the dreaded deadline doom day after day his artwork improved over time, and when the  the strip ended on April 4 1914* it was starting to look downright respectable. In fact, 'Gregory' had improved so much that he had a comic strip called Curiosity accepted by the New York Evening World. Unfortunately it only managed a two week run before it was dumped. Greg then got a weekly strip into the New York Herald, but it only lasted about four months. After that he falls off my radar. 'Greg' continued to be seen in newspapers until well into 1915, but that was only because the anonymous syndicator of Unsophisticated Oscar sold the strip in reprints at least that long.

Our two mysteries today are the ID of 'Gregory', which is a tough nut to crack, but also the identity of the syndicate that distributed Unsophisticated Oscar. I can usually take an educated guess at a syndicate based on the tyesetting of the strip title and from other strips that appear with it in the same papers.

In the case of this strip, there is only one clue: it is the same syndicate that also distributed Milt Gross' Mr. Henry Peck. Their formats are identical, and they appear in many of the same papers. Unfortunately, the syndicate of Gross' strip is also unknown.


* Source: Helena Independent

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Comments:
Whatever syndicate this is, they liked the add-on "Trash panel" at the end, or sometimes the beginning. This syndicate's clients seem to be only small town papers. One of their features was the second hand run of Charley Chaplin's Comic Capers, which of course was a Keeley strip the first time around. Could I leap to the conclusion that this is the earliest version of Autocaster or W.N.U.?
 
I can't jump with you on the WNU/Autocaster idea, though I can see a logic of it. If it was one of them, wouldn't we probably also be looking at very similar 'patent insides' to these papers in all likelihood?

--Allan
 
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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: 408 Maple Street


408 Maple Street was a gag panel printed sporadically in the Christian Science Monitor. The creator, Chase Craig, did quite a bit of cartooning work for that paper in the 1930s and early 40's, but he rarely stuck with any one thing for long. This series was his shortest, running from May 5 to July 21 1941.

This keyhole view of family life was one of Craig's better outings in my opinion, so it's a shame he didn't stick with it longer. I get the feeling that the Monitor didn't pay very well and he only produced work for them when he had no better outlet for his work. He may even have done his Monitor work as a donation to the organization, as I get the impression that wasn't uncommon.

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Monday, May 13, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: The Phillips


Woodard Prentice Phillips was born on May 15, 1894, in Plainfield, Connecticut according to his World War I and II draft cards. Both cards had his full name. Something About the Author, Volume 10 (1976) said Warren Winfield, a farmer, and Flora Bertha Card, were his parents.

In the 1900 United States Federal Census, Prentice lived with his maternal grandmother, Mary Card, the head of the household and widow, and his father, a widower. Both were farmers in Plainfield. Their situation was unchanged in the 1910 census.

The Norwich Bulletin (Connecticut), October 11, 1915, said “Prentice Phillips left Sunday evening for New York, where he will take a course in drawing.” Almost five weeks later the Norwich Bulletin, November 16, 1915, reported “Prentice Phillips returned from New York Monday afternoon. Mr. Phillips has been attending an art school in New York.”

Prentice signed his World War I draft card June 5, 1917. He was self-employed doing advertising publicity. According to the Norwich Bulletin, August 7, 1917, Prentice passed the physical examination. The Norwich Bulletin, October 29, 1917, said Prentice was a member of the National Army at Camp Devens.

Something About the Author said Prentice married Loretta Hosey on December 23, 1917. She was born on April 17, 1893, in Southbridge, Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Birth Records at Ancestry.com, her name was registered as “Catharine L Hosey”. Her parents were William Joseph, a building contractor, and Katherine Dempsey. In the 1900 census the family of five resided in Norwich, Connecticut. The 1910 census recorded the quintet in Canterbury, Connecticut. After finishing her education in public schools, Loretta studied at the Norwich Art School in Connecticut. It’s unclear where Loretta made her home while Prentice was away.

Prentice was stationed in Europe for a period of time. On June 5, 1919 he departed St. Nazaire, France and arrived June 13, in Boston. Prentice was a private first class in Company E 301st Engineers.

The 1920 census said artist Prentice and Loretta, a wire mill inspector, lived with her mother, a widow, in Worcester, Massachusetts at 6 Florence Street. Also in the household were Loretta’s two sisters and a niece.

A Modern History of Windham County, Connecticut: A Windham County Treasure Book, Volume 1 (1920) included Prentice in the Plainfield Roll of Honor.

During the 1920s, Prentice was listed in the Worcester city directories as an artist residing at 6 Florence. The same information appeared in the New England Business Directory and Gazetteer for 1922.

Prentice provided the borders for the 1925 book, Brownie the Engineer of Beaver Brook. In 1929 Prentice illustrated Patty Pans: A Cook Book for Beginners.

In the 1930 census, Loretta, a fashion illustrator, and Prentice, a book illustrator, continued to live with her mother at the same address. Both illustrators were self-employed.

In the early 1930s I believe Prentice joined the Worcester Telegram-Gazette newspaper. He was listed in the 1932 International Year Book Number.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Prentice self-syndicated Exploring the World with Carveth Wells, which ran from October 30, 1933 to May 17, 1934.

The 1939 city directory listed Prentice as a commercial artist.

The Phillips have not yet been found in the 1940 census. Prentice signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. His address was the same and he worked at the Heald Machine Company in Worcester.

Something About the Author said

The Phillips’ also are creators of a panel feature, “They Made the Headlines,” which has been running on alternate weeks in Worcester Sunday Telegram for twenty years, and contributors of other illustrated features to Boston daily and Sunday newspapers, and to juvenile publications.
They Made the Headlines started in the mid-1940s and ran into the 1960s.

Together, some of Phillips’ books include Sun Gold: A Story of the Hawaiian Islands (1930), Monte (1948), and Two Silly Kings (1964).

Throughout the 1950s the Phillips kept the same home in Worcester and occupation as illustrator or artist. The 1961 directory had Prentice as a cartoonist.

According to Something About the Author, the Phillips’ address, in 1976, was “1060 Main St., Apt. 317, Worcester, Mass. 01603”. Prentice’s career included “commercial artist, owner and operator of art studio ad advertising agency; free-lance writer and illustrator; former lecturer and teacher of cartooning and commercial art at Worcester Junior College, Worcester, Mass.”

Prentice passed away June 19, 1981, presumably, in Massachusetts. His passing was reported to the Department of Veterans Affairs but, apparently, not to the Social Security Administration. The Massachusetts Death Index said Loretta passed away January 9, 1987 in Worcester. The Social Security Death Index did not have the day of death. 



—Alex Jay

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Thursday, May 09, 2019

 

This Week's Heritage Auction Items



First item up for bid is this amazing collection of art by Folke Kvarnstrom. Kvarnstrom was a gifted young man who dabbled in cartooning, illustration art, commercial art, and photo enhancement. I know nothing about him except that my collection of his works mostly seems to date from the 1900s-1910s based on the style and subject matter, and he seems to have been based out of Chicago.

Some of the art in this grouping is of high professional quality, while a few pieces are obviously earlier stuff from when he was still learning the ropes. Some of the art has marks indicating it was published, other pieces may have been experiments or school assignments.

If you appreciate really wonderful advertising art originals, this lot really is for you; there's 25 pieces total and Heritage didn't photograph them all, so there are surprises awaiting the high bidder. Right now the bidding stands at $3. Seriously?




Lot 2 is an original by Albert T. Reid, justly famed as a political catoonist and one of the iconic chroniclers of Abraham Lincoln. Here is a sensitive piece in which young Mr. Lincoln first encounters a printing press, emblematic of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

This original is in fine condition -- the photo makes it look awful because an old torn matte remains attached. Take that off and you have a lovely piece of art in decent shape. Great item for the wall of anyone in the news media or a Lincoln-phile.

An extra item Heritage has thrown in to this lot is an unsigned and unfinished illustration, quite well done and with an obvious stylistic nod to J.M. Flagg. It was drawn on the back of a 1909 Chicago political poster. Hard to say which side of this piece is more interesting!

Here's another lot that can manage only a $3 bid!


Last but most definitely not least is this group of four lovely cartoon originals by Harry Temple. These are from his long-running panel Sketches From Life, which ran in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and was syndicated around the country. Rather than rehash how amazing I think Temple is, please go read this blog post about Sketches From Life in which I gush about his work, and be sure to check out Alex Jay's profile of Harry Temple.

Believe it or not, this group of four cartoons has not a single bid as of today.

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Wednesday, May 08, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: They Made The Headlines



Here's an apparently very long-lived feature about which I know very little. They Made The Headlines ran in the Worcester Telegram as early as 1947 (based on the top sample), and as late as 1965 (based on the only mention of the feature I could find online, here). The 1947 sample is signed "Phillips", while later ones are bylined as "The Phillips". Based on the few samples I've got, the feature appeared once a week in the Sunday magazine section of the paper.

Any additional information you have on the extent of the run would be much appreciated. I think newspaperarchive.com may have some Worcester Telegrams archived, but having been burned by that company I no longer have an account there. Could someone with an account check on this feature there? Monday Alex Jay will weigh in with an ID for "The Phillips".

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NewspaperArchive.com seems to have a very limited amount of Worcester Telegram archives: https://newspaperarchive.com/us/massachusetts/worcester/worcester-telegram/

I don't see that anyone has the rest of the archives online.
 
Hi anon --
Thanks for checking. Looks like all they have is three weeks worth or so? Would you be able to check the two Sundays to see if "They Made The Headlines" appeared in both? I've heard that it might have been a bimonthly feature, not weekly.

Thanks, Allan
 
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Tuesday, May 07, 2019

 

Toppers: Good Morning, Boss!


George McManus' classic Bringing Up Father offered us several long-running toppers over the years, but before he settled down to a decade and a half run of Rosie's Beau, followed by Snookums, he experimented with a couple other titles in the early days of the form.

Good Morning, Boss! was his second attempt at a topper, and had a really short run, from May 16 to June 6 1926; a mere four episodes. In each episode our hero, never named, tries to break out of his humdrum job into something more exciting and better-paying. In each attempt he finds that the grass is not so green when viewed close up. The concluding panel finds our man back at his desk.

McManus was a disciple of the 'empty-eyes' school of cartooning, but for Good Morning, Boss he offered us a rare look at a character equipped with pupils.  Our hero looks perpetually surprised as a result, but maybe this was McManus depicting him as a 'deer in the headlights', as he most assuredly was.

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Monday, May 06, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: It Is To Laugh


Cole Johnson sent me this sample of Ving Fuller's It Is To Laugh many moons ago. I am usually meticulous about keeping his comments filed away with the samples, but in this case I have lost whatever context he offered for it. Obviously from the masthead this was produced when Ving was working at the New York Mirror in 1932, but how do I know it isn't just a one-shot item?

The microfilm record of the Mirror is very spotty, and exists only at the New York Public Library. Since I've not had my go-to New York guy, Jeffrey Lindenblatt, ever mention it to me, I'm guessing it is probably not microfilmed.

Luckily the interwebs has offered me a tiny crumb that would seem to prove that it was indeed a regular Mirror series. That's due to an offhand remark by Harry Lampert in an interview run in Alter Ego #148, which came up in my search results. Lampert says "There was a cartoonist in Washington Heights by the name of Ving Fuller. Ving Fuller did It Is To Laugh in the Daily News, and both Shelly [Mayer] and I were apprentices to Ving Fuller..."

Apparently Lampert misremembered the newspaper, but somehow all those years later he was able to dredge up the name of the feature Ving was working on during his early apprentice days.

Now if only we could figure out how long it ran ...


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Hello Allan-
If its of any help, 10 January 1932 was the first issue of the the NY Mirror's Sunday edition, so you probably have the start date.
 
More on Ving Fuller in Hal Kanter's aptly-titled autobio SO FAR, SO FUNNY.
 
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Thursday, May 02, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: A.C. Hutchison


Andrew Cleveland Hutchison Jr. was born on February 12, 1885, in Charlotte, North Carolina according to his World War II draft card which had his full name. (The family name was frequently misspelled Hutchinson, with a second “N“.) The same birth date was on Hutchison’s Social Security application. A North Carolina marriage record said his parents married on October 9, 1883 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Hutchison’s mother was Annie R. Fisher.

At age thirteen Hutchison showed promise as an artist as reported by the Charlotte Observer (North Carolina), December 25, 1898.

Master Andrew C. Hutchison has finished a beautiful pen and ink sketch, “The Servant,” which Van Ness framed yesterday. The work was done under the direction of Miss Sidenburg, art teacher at Elizabeth College, and, as all of Master Hutchison’s work, shows genius. His parents will send him north in a year or so to have his talent developed.
It’s not known where Hutchison went for additional training.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census listed Hutchison, his parents, three siblings and a servant in Charlotte at 709 West Trade Street. Hutchison’s father was a merchant.

Hutchison was a freshman at the University of North Carolina. He contributed many drawing to the school’s yearbook, Yackety Yack, in 1906 (below 6 from 20 pieces) and 1907 (complete yearbook is here). He signed his work either Hutchison or Hutch.






In 1907 Hutchison was a staff artist on the Charlotte News. The Gold Leaf (Henderson, North Carolina), September 5, 1907, reprinted the News article on him.
Young North Carolina Artist Honored
It is gratifying to note the rising success of the Charlotte News’ talented young cartoonist, Mr. Andrew Hutchison, Jt., as indeed it is of all worthy North Carolina folks. We have watched with interest the very creditable work of this young man and predict a brilliant future for him. In the current number of the Review of Reviews is one of “Hutch’s” cartoons which is made the occasion of the following complimentary reference to him by the News:

The News is very proud of its cartoonist, Mr. Andrew Hutchison, Jr. It believes that for his experience he has not a superior in the country.

In the September issue of the Review of Reviews one of Mr. Hutchison’s cartoons on the railroad rate discrimination question, which appeared in the News some time ago, was copied alongside of cartoons from Davenport and the world’s leading cartoonists. This is a distinct honor and one that any cartoonist would justly prize, for the work reproduced each month in this magazine represents the choicest products of the world’s artists.

Mr. Hutchison began his career with the News and since he has been associated with this paper his work has been widely praised and many times copied.

We believe there is not an artist of his age in the United Staes with brighter prospects for a splendid career.
Cartoonist Hutchison and his father’s surname were misspelled in the Charlotte city directories for 1909 and 1910. Their home address was 711 West Trade which was also recorded in the 1910 census. Hutchison was a self-employed cartoonist.

In 1910 or 1911, Hutchison moved to New York City where he found work with the New York World. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said he created Major Sunshine and Colonel Grouch (July 28 and August 1, 1911) and Mrs. Economy (October 31, 1911 to January 9, 1912) for the New York World’s Press Publishing, the syndicator.

The Observer, November 18, 1933, had a column, “Looking Backward”, which reprinted items from ten and twenty years ago including this from 1913, “Mrs. A.C. Hutchison is spending some time in New York visiting her son, Andrew Hutchison.”

The News, January 16, 1914, kept tabs on Hutchison.

“Hutch” Making Good as Cartoonist for Leading Periodicals
Mr. Andrew Hutchison of New York city is spending the week in the city with his mother, Mrs. A. C. Hutchison, at her home on West Trade street. Mr. Hutchison is widely known as “Hutch,” under which signature he was formerly cartoonist for
The News. He has been in New York for three or four years and has made good in a hurry as cartoonist for many of the leading papers and periodicals of the American metropolis. He has contributed to The Evening World recently a serial list of cartoons and has also contributed comics to Life, Judge and Satire, besides a series of political cartoons for The Yonkers Daily News. He has already been engaged to do serial cartoons for the Hearst publications on his return to New York. Mr. Hutchison has attracted much favorable attention and the fact that he has contracted to do serial work for the Hearst publications is evidence of the rank he has attained in his chosen vocation. His first work as a cartoonist was done for The News.
At some point Hutchison moved from paper to celluloid as noted in the Observer, January 21, 1917.
Queen City Artist Prospers in New York
Andrew C. Hutchison, a well-known Charlotte young man, better known as “Hutch,” according to a metropolitan paper, devoted to amusements, has achieved remarkable distinction in that city during the past few months, his cartoon work with the Keene Cartoon Corporation, for various moving picture companies, being considered of unusual class. His work is now appearing in the Marcus Lowe circuit, advertising various animated pictures.
In Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection (2014) Sara Duke profiled “A. C. Hutchinson” and said “In 1923, he worked for the Lee-Bradford Corporation as an animator, where he worked on the series Red Head Comedies with such artists as Walter E. Stark, Frank Nankivell and Richard Friel.” She credited him for the Chicago Daily News comic strips but those were drawn by Frank Hutchinson.

According to the 1920 census, Hutchison was a Manhattan resident at 59 West 49th Street. He was a self-employed cartoonist working in the motion picture industry.

The Observer, July 22, 1923, reported Hutchison’s marriage.

Andrew C. Hutchison Weds Miss Ketchner
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph G. Ketchner announce the marriage of their daughter Sarah Arabelle to Mr. Andrew C. Hutchison on Tuesday, July the seventeenth. nineteen hundred and twenty-three in the City of New York.

The bride us if a prominent New York family, a graduate of Cornell and a brilliant and charming young woman.

Mr. Hutchison is a son of the late Andrew. C. Hutchison and Mrs. Hutchison, and is a native of Charlotte. His father was a prominent citizen of Charlotte, with important manufacturing interests in this section.

Mr. Hutchison has been living north for some years. He is widely known as a cartoonist, featuring animated cartoons which are used in the moving picture business. His work has won him fame in New York. He is also a young man of bright parts and fine capabilities.

He and his bride will reside in New York, but hope to come to Charlotte in the fall.
American Newspaper Comics said Hutchison produced Luke Whoozis (August 7 to October 24, 1923) for the International Syndicate. 

Hutchison has not yet been found in the 1930 census. 

The Internet Movie Database has six credits for “Andrew Hutchinson” from 1931 to 1945.

In 1940 Hutchison was divorced and living alone at the Hotel Jackson, 137–139 West 45th Street, in New York City. He worked for an advertising company.

Hutchison signed his World War II draft card on April 26, 1942. His address was the St. James Hotel, 109 West 45th Street, and employed by Ernest Devoe, 723 Seventh Avenue, both in New York City. His description was five feet eight inches, 196 pounds with brown eyes and gray hair.

The New York City death index, viewed at Ancestry.com, has an “Andrew Hutchinson”, age 72, who passed away March 1, 1957.


 

Further Reading and Viewing
Digital North Carolina Blog
Hutch, Early 20th Century Charlotte Cartoonist


The Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon has several cartoons and strips by Hutchison including Knott Wright; Maw, Paw, and Willie; and Luke Whoozis.



 

—Alex Jay

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Wednesday, May 01, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Mrs. Economy


Several cartoonists have gone by the pen-name Hutch, and Alex Jay has now identified the 'Hutch' who did the short-lived features Luke Whoozis, Mrs. Economy and Major Sunshine and Colonel Grouch as Andrew C. Hutchison. That's a name we would have been lucky to get to know better, as he was a heck of a fine cartoonist. Unfortunately I guess he didn't see newspaper strips as a major part of his destiny, so he popped up and disappeared several times in short order.

Mrs. Economy was produced for the New York Evening World and ran as a weekday strip from October 31 1911 to January 9 1912. Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scan. Tune in tomorrow for Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profile of Andrew C. Hutchison.

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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Frank Hutchinson


Frank Genora Hutchinson was born on November 3 or 4, 1872, in Morristown, Nova Scotia. His World War I draft card had his full name and November 4 birth day, while the Social Security Death Index said November 3. His birthplace was named in The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), November 21, 1973. Information about his education and art training has not been found.

At some point Hutchinson moved to the United States. The 1895 Boston, Massachusetts city directory had this listing, “Hutchinson Frank G. draughtsman, 44 Court, rm. 35, bds Idaho, Mat.”

The Massachusetts Marriage Record, at Ancestry.com, said Hutchinson married Calla J. Pratt on January 14, 1896 in Boston. His parents were Francis and Sarah.

The 1899 Boston directory listed him as a draughtsman at 8 Beacon and resident at 69 Idaho.

According to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Hutchinson, his wife, two sons and a servant lived in Milton, Massachusetts on Central Avenue. He was naturalized and an architectural draughtsman.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Hutchinson produced two series for World Color Printing, Willie Wise, Tommy Tuff and Simple Sammy (November 13, 1904 to February 26, 1905) and Know-It-All Jake (November 27, 1904 to April 23, 1905). For the Chicago Tribune he created Willie Hawkshaw the Amateur Detective (August 27, 1905 to April 29, 1906) and Superstitious Sam (September 24, 1905 to April 29, 1906).

In the book Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection (2014), Sara Duke profiled “A. C. Hutchinson” who signed his work “Hutch”. I believe she confused Andrew Cleveland Hutchison (one “n”) with Hutchinson. She wrote in part, “American cartoonist, worked for the Chicago Daily News under the art direction of Luther Bradley in the early years of the twentieth century. He drew several comic strips for the paper, including Luke Whoozis, Willie Hawkshaw and Superstitious Sam.” She cites Gordon Campbell’s article, “Luther Bradley” in Cartoonist Profiles, September 1984, which I have not read. There is no record of Andrew Cleveland Hutchison living in Chicago or having work published in Chicago newspapers. He was a North Carolina native who moved to New York City for work.

In the 1910 census, architect Hutchinson, his wife and four children were Spokane, Washington residents at East 1515 Thirteenth. Hutchinson was employed at an architectural firm. He was at the same address when he signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918.

The 1920 census said Hutchinson was a high school teacher. His address was unchanged.

In 1916 the University of Oregon offered evening extension courses for adults. The Oregonian, September 19, 1926 said Hutchinson taught the architectural course in perspective and rendering.

According to the 1930 census, Hutchinson, his wife and youngest daughter (their fifth child) were in Portland, Oregon at 609 East 52nd Street North. He was employed as a draftsman in construction engineering.

In 1940 Hutchinson was a staff artist with the state highway department. He and his wife made their home in Salem, Oregon at 1545 North Liberty Street. His highest level of education was the eighth grade. In 1939 he earned two-thousand seven hundred dollars.

The Oregon Death Index at Ancestry.com said Hutchinson passed away November 18, 1973. The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon), November 21, 1973, published an obituary.

Frank G. Hutchinson, who had celebrated his 101st birthday, Nov. 3, died Sunday in his home, 6316 NE 26th Avenue.

Mr. Hutchinson was a staff artist for the State Highway Department until his retirement at age 81 in 1953. He was born in Morristown, Nova Scotia, Nov. 3, 1872, and had lived in Oregon since 1925 and in the Portland area since 1962.

Survivors include three sons, Harrison C. and Malcolm P., both of Portland, and Paul K. of lexington, N.C.; two daughters, Mrs. Marjorie Chandler of Laguna Hills, Calif., and Mrs. Dorothy Nichol of lexington, N.C.; half-sister, Mrs. Blanche Voye, Chestnut Hills, Mass.; seven grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral was held Tuesday in the Killingsworth Little Chapel of the Chimes and interment was in Rose City Cemetery.

—Alex Jay

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Monday, April 29, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Superstitious Sam





Superstitious Sam had one gag and replayed it with little variation from September 24 1905 to April 29 1906 in the Chicago Tribune's Sunday comics section. Sam and Mr. Lunkhead encounter a bit of supposed bad luck, Lunkhead scoffs, and then one or both of them get their just rewards for tempting fate. Looking on the bright side of this stinker, at least the drawing was kind of attractive. I guess a second positive is that the superstitious guy wasn't black; the stereotype that blacks were highly superstitious was very prevalent and often the subject of 'humor' at this time.

This series was signed 'Hutch', as was another one produced for the Tribune in the same period, Willie Hawkshaw the Amateur Detective. At the time I discussed that feature I was unsure if 'Hutch' was or wasn't Frank Hutchinson who did a few features for World Color Printing in 1904-05. Since then I've had a chance to compare the art styles on the features, and I'm now confident that these Tribune features are indeed by Frank Hutchinson.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample scans.

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I thought Hutch always had an amatuerish look to his stuff, but there was quite a lot of leeway in 1905, especially with minor syndicates. The Chicago Tribune, mighty paper that it was, had a pretty weak syndicate in their first years. I haven't seen their material in many other papers. The only thing that comes to my (vastly inferior to Cole's) memory is that the late Gordon Campbell once told me "Cholly Cashcaller" appeared in a Nashville section.
 
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Saturday, April 27, 2019

 

Herriman Saturday



December 21 1909 -- Herriman covers the Board of Health beat when they try to come up with a definition of what is and what isn't a fresh egg.

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