Saturday, July 14, 2018


Herriman Saturday

August 11 1909 -- The Angels face a pivotal homestand against the Seals, one that will likely determine whether the Angels end the season at first place in the standings.


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Friday, July 13, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

This lovely Dwig card features his mirror image text motif, along with an aquiline-nosed beauty. The card is embossed with gold on the mirror frame, which as usual doesn't reproduce well on the scanner.

This card must have sold well, because although there were other cards in this series (Series #30 according to the reverse), this is the one that shows up most often today.  The maker is, as best I can tell, R. Kaplan. The maker is not directly identified, but it does have a logo on the back. It is a little fellow wearing a smock on which is shown the Swiss cross, and in one hand is a beer stein and the other a U.S. flag. Pretty sure that's Kaplan, although the high quality of the card initially had me thinking Tuck. The usually very dependable postcard research site doesn't cover Kaplan for some reason, so take my word with the appropriate meaure of salt.

The divided back card is undated but was postally used in 1910.


In March 1907, an act of congress provided that from henceforth post cards could have the bifurcated backs. It's good that congress is ever concerned with such wieghty issues.
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Thursday, July 12, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: The Onion Sisters

World Color Printing offered up some truly bizarre comics in their early years, and The Onion Sisters must rate at least a nine on the bizzarometer. The series featured characters with the heads of various fruits and vegetables, and sported a naive art style that seemed perfectly designed to leave the kiddies with fodder for Sunday evening nightmares. It was the one of only two series penned by 'Nixon', the other being The Up-To-Date Uncle Tom's Cabin Company.

While Nixon's other series showed some rustic charm, The Onion Sisters is just plain odd. The factor of  the vegetable heads rarely has anything to do with the gags, which kinda amps up the creepy factor if you ask me. The overarching thread of the series was that all the neighborhood veggies are fighting over the attentions of the beautiful Onion Sisters. Corn Fritter (a cob of corn) is the guy we are supposed to root for in this struggle. Now if the sisters had only been lima beans rather than onions, then you'd have something -- if Corn Fritter had triumphed, you'd have a lovely succotash!

 Cole Johnson supplied me with one of the few strips in the series that takes advantage of the nature of the characters, making it the strongest entry in a run that went from December 18 1904 to February 19 1905*. If you want to see the other strips in this crazy series, click on over to Barnacle Press to enjoy (?) the whole run. Over at that site, I made a happy discovery. On the February 5 1905 episode, it looks like Nixon has for once offered us his first name. If my eyes do not deceive, he is Guy Nixon.

* Source: St. Louis Star


More creepiness: It might be some kind of "Turnabout-is-fair-play" for the vegtables to dine on an herbivore for a change, but they're obviously vegtacannibles too.
Truly nightmare-inducing!
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Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Professor Howler's Calamities

Professor Howler's Calamities ran in the New York Herald's Sunday editions from July 23 1911 to April 14 1912*. The strip concerns a fellow who looks like a perfect milquetoast, but he actually has the call of adventure in his bones. Meek little Professor Howler will not shrink from any challenge, but he always ends up looking the fool (or worse).

This well-drawn and written strip was never signed by the creator. Now I may be totally off-base here, but when I look at these strips I hear a little whisper in my noggin saying "Ding Darling." I'm very likely wrong, I suppose, but Darling had just arrived in New York at this point to work at the New York Globe, and maybe he shopped his portfolio around town and had this strip accepted at the Herald. Of course, he wouldn't have been able to sign the strip. Any comment on my guess?

* Source: Ken Barker's New York Herald index


Do you have David Lendt's biography of Darling? If not, my copy is waiting for me in NYC (I just got it), and I can check that. Not dispositive if it doesn't list it...
Never thought of that - duh! Unfortunately both my Darling biographies are stuffed in boxes in Florida. Let me know if you find anything.
Lendt's biography has this to say at page 26: "He [Darling] also resisted management pressure to do comic strips for the Globe." In the next para, Lendt notes that Darling at this time had issues with his drawing arm that threatened to derail his career. This doesn't settle the issue, but in my mind, the facts that Darling didn't want to do strips and he was having drawing issues makes the ID for this strip unlikely. Feel free to disagree, since this is a guess on my part.
I guess so. Darling was in fact producing a general humor cartoon series for the Globe in 1911-12, which eventually was focused and became Professor Specknoodle 1912-13 (you'll find samples on this blog). But I suppose if he was doing that against his will, he wasn't likely to do another. Thanks for checking!
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Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bert Mann

Bert Mann was the pseudonym of Herbert R. Kaufman according to the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, Etc., New Series, Volume 6, Group 2, Numbers 22–25, June 1909 (below).

Kaufman was born on March 6, 1878 in Washington, D.C. as recorded on his World War II draft card and Social Security application, both viewed at In the 1880 U. S. Federal Census, Kaufman was the youngest of two sons born to Abram, a dry goods merchant, and Gertrude. The family resided at 1241 or 1247 Eleventh Street South East, Washington, D.C.

Who’s Who in America (1910) said his parents were Abraham Kaufman and Gertrude Raff. (I believe Kaufman’s middle name was Raff as it was common to take the mother’s maiden name.) He graduated from Emerson Institute in 1893, and Johns Hopkins in 1898. On August 12, 1900 Kaufman married Helen Herzberg.

Who’s Who identified Kaufman’s publishing activities. He headed the Herbert Kaufman newspaper syndicate in New York; served as the American adviser to C. Arthur Pearson, Ltd., in London; was a special American correspondent for the London Standard and American representative for W.T. Stead, also in London. Kaufman was associate publisher of Review of Reviews Encyclopedia and Continental Magazine. He was president of Herbert Kaufman & Handy Co., Chicago, since 1908; adviser to Frank A. Munsey, Chicago Tribune, as well as editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Record-Herald, and chain of syndicated Sunday papers.

Kaufman authored the songs Songs of Fancy, 1905; The Stolen Throne (with May Isabel Fisk), 1907; and Why Are You Weeping, Sister?

A similar listing appeared in The Book of Chicagoans: A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the City of Chicago, Volume 2 (1911).

National Magazine, September 1910, profiled Kaufman and Arthur Brisbane.

Not mentioned in the profiles was Kaufman’s Billiken and Bobby. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the series ran from March 7 to September 19, 1909. The artist was Tod Hunter or Todhunter. In November 1908 Kaufman had copyrighted a number pieces, possibly posters based on the dimensions, with the characters Billiken and Bobby.

According to the 1910 census, Kaufman was the president of an advertising agency. He, his wife and son Herbert Jr. lived in Chicago at 4830 Kenwood Avenue.

On January 19, 1913, Kaufman returned from a trip to England where he had departed from Liverpool on the eleventh. The passenger list had his address as 12 East 46th Street, New York City.

The Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index at, recorded Kaufman’s intended marriage to Alta Esther Rush on the intended date August 2, 1913. The couple visited England in 1914; they returned October 9, 1914 to the port of New York from Liverpool. Their home was in Chicago. The Tarrytown Daily News (New York), September 6, 1947 said Kaufman moved to Tarrytown in 1916.

On September 12, 1918, Kaufman signed his World War I draft card. He was a resident of Tarrytown, New York and lived on Cobbs Lane. Kaufman was employed as special assistant and writer to the Secretary of the Interior of the federal government. He was described as tall, medium build with blue eyes and brown hair.

The 1920 census said writer Kaufman was in Tarrytown on Cobbs Lane. His son, Herbert R. Jr., was five years old and daughter, Joan, four. Kaufman remained in Tarrytown until his death on September 6, 1947 according to the New York Death Index at and the Tarrytown Daily News which said he passed away at home. The newspaper also said Kaufman was known “as an outstanding collector of original art and antiques and one of his special hobbies was chemistry.”

—Alex Jay


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Monday, July 09, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Billiken and Bobby

One of the more offbeat fads I've encountered is Billiken. A character who came to young artist Florence Pretz in a dream, she sculpted the vaguely Asian looking imp sitting on a sort of throne rather Buddha-like, and declared that he was "The God of Things as they Ought To Be." She began marketing the little sculptures in 1908, first taking Chicago by storm, then becoming a hit nationally and internationally. In addition to the little statuettes, the fad was parleyed into a number of products, including a Sunday comic strip series. For the most part the fad blew over quickly, but Billikens still retain their popularity today in a few places.

Billiken and Bobby was a sumptuously drawn fantasy of the Billiken character going on adventures with a kid named Bobby Jones. Bobby's father bought the child a Billiken statuette as a present, and Billiken comes to life and whisks Bobby away to various fantasy worlds. The series debuted on March 7 1909* (top example is the inaugural episode), and ran until September 19 1909**. The poems were credited to Bert Mann, and the art, which may have only been signed in the first episode, was by Tod Hunter (Todhunter?). Mr. Hunter is an enigma to me, but he certainly makes quite an impression with what is apparently his only foray into newspaper comic art.

Billiken and Bobby was at first copyrighted to The Billiken Company, but soon changed to credit one L.M. Berwin. I have no idea who this person might be, as that name does not come up in the Billiken histories I've read. The syndicate that distributed this series to papers is not officially credited, but I have a note that it was likely the McClure Syndicate; unfortunately I failed to say why I thought that was so. Looking at the tearsheets in my collection, I also find Billiken and Bobby strips paired with New York World and Hearst strips on the reverse, not just McClure material -- which in itself would not be proof anyway.

Like to know more about Billiken? It's a pretty interesting subject, and you'll find several really top-notch articles about it at the Church of Good Luck website. At Mondo Mascots they offer a good article on the continued popularity of the figures in Japan with lots of great pics.

The Billiken also has another newspaper comics connection; in the 1920s the Chicago Defender decided to create a sort of editorial mascot for their kids/comic page. Based on a Billiken statuette that perched on an editor's desk, they named their mascot Bud Billiken ... apparently not worried about copyright infringement. The Bud Billiken page became a Chicago institution, inspiring a Bud Billiken Club and an annual parade in Chicago.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.

* Source: Philadelphia Public Ledger
** Source: San Francisco Chronicle


As a kid, I have a vague memory of a Japanese comic from 1969 called "Biri Ken", about a magical dog.

I didn't realize until now that the name is a pun on "Billiken", which would have been well-known in Japan by then ("Ken" means "Dog" in Japanese, hence the pun)
Billiken was a licensing fad too, I've had post cards of him, and for many years I had a small statue of him sitting on my window sill. There was, at the time (ca. 1908) a series of comedy records featuring an old hick farmer character called "Uncle Josh Weatherbee". One was "Uncle Josh and the Billiken", where he is given one for a good luck charm. At first he's dubious about it, but he does as instructed and rubs it and makes wishes, and it unfailingly causes multiple disasters on his farm, and if I recall, he wound up at the bottom of a well.
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Saturday, July 07, 2018


Herriman Saturday

August 10, 1909 -- Prioir to their championship fight, Jim Jeffries has sailed for Europe where he is being feted by the glitterati, while Jack Johnson feels left out. Herriman could do a better job of focusing on the racism at the core of this imbalance, but shirks that to concentrate on the financial aspect.


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Friday, July 06, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from R. Edward Shellcope

R. Edward Shellcope is remembered among know-it-all newspaper strip fans for his work at the Philadelphia Inquirer in the 1900s. He had a style that owed a lot to William F. Marriner. This is the only postcard work of his that I've encountered; the company that published this series of cards neglected to take credit on them, but they did remember to say that it was a Post Card in no less than eighteen different languages. Since the card was postally used (in 1909) in Philadelphia, Shellcope's home digs, I'm guessing that it may never have gotten distribution much further than that. Makes the eighteen languages seem like a bit of overkill.

This card is a divided back, postally used in 1909.


In those days one of the standard layouts for a Post Card backing was to say it in all the languages of the Universal Postal Union. Perhaps this was to assure other countries it may be sent to that the card was acceptible for delivery there, as I've seen cards from Europe that will sometimes do this also. Not always, though, so it obviously wasn't an actual law.
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Thursday, July 05, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: The Mannikins

John Booth must have had a rock solid ego to stick with his given name in spite of inevitable comparison to President Lincoln's assassin. Assuming our fellow was in his 20s when he worked at the New York World in the 1890s, his parents stuck him with that name not all that long after the dastardly deed, too. Poor guy! It would be like being born in the 1950s and having your parents christen you Adolf. Good luck with that, kid. 'Sue' would be a cakewalk by comparison.

Anyhow, I know nothing about this Mr. Booth except that he penned two short series for the New York World. The Mannikins was the second of those and ran for just two installments on March 6 and 13th, 1898*. These busy panoramas were given short shrift in the Sunday comics section by running quite small -- small enough that to actually decode all the frenetic action was tough on the old peepers. Booth may have meant for them to be run that small though, since the classical definition of "mannikin" (or "manikin") is "little person", not the clothing display figures we associate with than word today.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans (the whole series!).

* Source: Ken Barker's New York World index.


They seem like all head and no body- Is it possible "Mannikin" might have been a term used to describe masks as well?
Some of these early comic strips are almost nightmarish! Creepy....
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Tuesday, July 03, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Mrs. Brass

I know nothing about cartoonist Jack Rogers except that he worked for the World Color Printing shop from at least 1906 to 1909, and then as far as I can tell, fell off the face of the Earth. Barring a miracle, I'm guessing Alex Jay will have little luck tracking down a fellow who has such a common name.

Mr. Rogers was no great shakes as a cartoonist. As the sample above shows, his cartooning was rather wooden and his gags, at least for the Mrs. Brass series, weren't exactly going to keep Mark Twain up at night worrying about his place at the top of the humorist pantheon. Mrs. Brass was one of only two series which Rogers created himself; the other two he worked on were inherited from other cartoonists.

The one-note Mrs. Brass, who puts her doting hubby through the wringer with her unreasonable demands, ran in the WCP section from July 25 to October 17 1909*. It was Rogers' last new series, and apparently closed out his cartooning career.

* Source: Canton Repository


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Monday, July 02, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: TV Tee-Hees

Henry Scarpelli is best known for his work on the Archie line of comic books and the newspaper comic strip, but his work in comics started long before that in the 1940s. His first brush with newspaper work came when he signed on as assistant to John Henry Rouson, working on the Sunday of his strip Little Sport. That would have been in the early to mid-1950s.

Little Sport was syndicated by General Features, and Scarpelli must have made a favorable impression with the syndicate, because they awarded him his own bylined feature, TV Tee-Hees. Newspapers were deathly afraid that TV was going to kill their market, but tried to embrace it to stay relevant. In the mid-1950s it became common for papers to issue daily or weekly television program listings, giving TV junkies a reason to buy the paper even if they didn't read it otherwise. As always, the syndicates latched onto the new feature by offering a cartoon or comic strip specifically designed to accompany the listings.

The most popular of these features was Bil Keane's Channel Chuckles, but it was hardly alone in the genre. Henry Scarpelli's TV Tee-Hees covered the same ground, starting as a weekly panel in August 1956*. The weekly panel, which ran 2-columns wide, usually came in the actual shape of a TV set complete with dials, though some papers cut off some or all of that (see top three samples). Newspapers used the panel in their weekly TV listing sections, generally included with the Sunday paper.

General Features must have been pleased with the reception, because they asked Scarpelli to begin producing a daily 1-column version of the panel, which could run in papers that printed daily TV listings. This version began in July 1957** and met with enough newspaper buyers to keep it afloat.

Although the panel never rivalled Channel Chuckles in popularity, at a small syndicate like General Features it was counted as a success. There was even a book version offered by Fleet Publishing in 1963.

The panel even outlasted General Features itself. The syndicate was bought out by the LA Times in the late 1960s, and the imprint was dropped in December 1974, along with many of its features, but TV Tee-Hees was retained. A bigger syndicate meant higher expectations, though, and apparently TV Tee-Hees didn't quite make the top of the ratings there. The panel went off the air in 1978 (lasting until at least July of that year***).

* Source: Creator in The Cartoonist magazine, December 1968.
** Source: Editor & Publisher, 7/27/1957.
*** Source: Springfield Leader and Press.


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Saturday, June 30, 2018


Herriman Saturday

August 9 1909 -- The Angels are about to take on the San Francisco Seals in a series considered pivotal to the outcome of the season, and Herriman avers that between pep, fan support, nerve and ginger that they will be able to successfully defend "Ole Bald Dome", manager Hen Berry.


When I commented last week on Herriman leaving his signature off I had failed to notice he had been leaving it off for a month or more (and continuing, as above). The Examiner doesn't seem to be getting very much out of him during this time, assuming you're not leaving out a number of items. I wonder, was he working somewhere else at the same time?
Eddie -- Yes, Herriman was trying to get something to stick with the national Hearst chain at this time. 1909 saw him try Mary's Home From College, Baron Mooch and several others, some of which never even ran in his home paper.

of course! I had forgotten that you were leaving out the various strips that have been thoroughly covered elsewhere.
keep 'em coming!
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Friday, June 29, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Jimmy Swinnerton

Here's another Swinnerton card from the Hearst giveaway series of 1906. Amazing attention to detail from Swinnerton on that Egyptian sarcophagus! This particular postcard must have been especially popular, as I see it more than any of the other Hearst cards.

This particular example was complimentary of Hearst's Los Angeles Sunday American, one of his less successful papers.


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Thursday, June 28, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Out of the Frying Pan

When NEA started including cartoons as part of its blanket service around 1903, they offered lots of little one-shot gag panels, and no continuing series. It took about three years before they started getting the hang of the continuing series concept, and the fellow who led them by the nose into the new age was Frank R. Leet. Leet was a real workhorse in his NEA days, offering up a steady stream of graphic humor. He came up with lots of little series, one of which was Out of the Frying Pan. This little two panel "before and after" weekday cartoon was offered by NEA from January 7 to February 21 1908*.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans.

* Source: Ohio State University's NEA archives


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Wednesday, June 27, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Isn't It Always the Way?

Isn't It Always The Way? is one of the countless precursors to Hatlo's They'll Do It Every Time, in which each episode shows a hapless boob's plans going awry. This particular one appeared as a weekday strip in the New York Evening World from August 4 to November 2 1908*. It represents the only continuing title ever created, as far as I know, by a fellow who was bylined as H.A. Sohl. Sohl created a few one-shot cartoons for the World, but that's as far as I can track him down. It's too bad because although his work is a little rough around the edges, he definitely had the prized "drawing funny" gene.

It's probably just my base imagination, but in the top sample are we seeing a steno gal in the universal cartoon pose of getting dressed after, well, you know? And in the last panel it seems wifie is also out philandering in a most frank way? Either I have a dirty mind, or an editor was really asleep at the wheel letting this one into the paper.

* Source: New York Evening World


There's a clock showing 5, so she's getting ready to leave. The odd identifying label of "stenographer" suggests an editor had an imagination similar to yours.

The cartoonist does seem to find huge hats amusing. The last strip has a little side gag of a guy leaning away from an outsized chapeau. And the final panel again offers a young lady putting on a hat of scale. Reminded of the "School Days" panels where the pretty teacher not only affected huge hats, but a hairstyle that incorporated walking sticks.
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Tuesday, June 26, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Alston

Charles Henry Alston was born on November 28, 1907, in Charlotte, North Carolina. His full name was published in the 1929 Columbia College yearbook the Columbian, and the birth date is from the Social Security Death Index.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Alston was the youngest of three children born to Primers P. and “Hannah”. The household included a niece, nephew, and mother-in-law. They resided in Charlotte, North Carolina at 416 West Third Street.

About six months after the census enumeration, Alston’s father died on October 18, 1910, according to his North Carolina death certificate which has transcribed at

The North Carolina, Marriage Records recorded the marriage of Alston’s mother, Anna, to Harry P. Bearden on August 21, 1913. Whitney Museum of American Art: Handbook of the Collection (2015) said Alston moved “with his family to Harlem in 1915”.

Bearden signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. His address was 55 West 98th Street in Manhattan, New York City. He was superintendent of service at Bretton Hall.

The same address was recorded in the 1920 census and 1925 New York state census.

African-American Artists, 1929–1945 (2003) said Alston graduated from “DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, where he served as art editor of the school magazine”. Alston continued his education at Columbia University in New York City.

1929 Columbian

The New York Age, December 6, 1930, reported the Arthur Wesley Dow Scholarship was awarded to Alston and added, “His career while an undergraduate of Columbia College is worthy of mention. He was art editor of the school’s humorous monthly, ‘The Jester,’ also art editor of the ‘Varsity,’ the literary organ of the college, and of the Morningside independent magazine of the Heights institution. He received the gold King’s Crown while at Columbia. He is vice-president-elect of Eta Chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He is specializing in modern art at Columbia.”

According to the 1930 census, Alston was with his family at 1945 Seventh Avenue in Manhattan. His occupation was “boys worker” at Utopia House. African-American Artists said “During this time, he offered free art classes to young people at neighborhood centers, including Utopia House and the Harlem Community Art Center. His now-famous art students included Jacob Lawrence, Robert Blackburn, and Romare Bearden.”

In the 1940 census, Alston lived alone at 306 West 141 Street in Manhattan. The artist was with the WPA Art Project. The New York Age, May 4, 1940, said Alston was one of 68 people, from over 600, to receive a Julius Rosenwald Fund Scholarship.

During World War II Alston enlisted in the army on December 27, 1943.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Alston drew The Color Guard from January 24, 1943 to September 21, 1944. The series was produced for the Office of War Information (OWI).

The New York Age, April 15, 1944, reported Alston’s marriage.

Prominent Doctor Marries Soldier
Dr. Myra Logan, one of Harlem’s most prominent women doctors, and daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Warren Logan, of Tuskegee Institute, was married Saturday to Pvt. Charles Henry Alston, son of Mrs. Anna Bearden and the late Rev. Primus Alston, of Raleigh, N. C. Rev. John H. Johnson, rector of St. Martin's Church, officiated at the informal ceremony in the presence of the immediate families at the home of her sister, Louise Logan.

Dr. Arthur Logan gave his sister in marriage. The bride’s sister, Miss Louise Logan, served as her attendant. Wendall Alston was his brother’s best man.

Dr. Logan who received her degrees from Atlanta University, Columbia University, and New York Medical College, is on the staffs of Harlem Hospital and Cancer Institute.

Pvt. Alston who completed his undergraduate and graduate study of fine arts at Columbia University, has had his paintings on exhibit at the Downtown gallery at the Museum of Modern Art. Prior to joining the army he was on the art staff of the Office of War Information in Washington.
Alston visited Europe. Sailing aboard the S.S. Liberte, Alston arrived in New York City, from Le Havre, France, on July 22, 1953.

Alston’s career as an artist and teacher is detailed here.

Alston passed away April 27, 1977 in New York City. His death was reported the following day in The New York Times.

Further Reading and Viewing
Art in America
Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
The Johnson Collection
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Slate, Biographical Cartoons of Notable Black Americans, Drawn to Promote Unity During WWII 
Smithsonian, Oral history interview with Charles Henry Alston 
U.S. Air Force, Air Force Art

—Alex Jay


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Monday, June 25, 2018


Public Service Features: The Color Guard

During World War II, the Office of War Information offered newspapers many free patriotic features designed to help with morale and sell war bonds. Among these were some comic strips and quite a few panel cartoon series. So far I've only found a single such feature that was designed to run in black newspapers, and that was The Color Guard.

The Color Guard was a panel series about heroic figures of black men and women of history, going heavy on those whose stories had either a patriotic or military component. The series was produced by a competent cartoonist who signed himself only Alston, and he did not get a byline. Alex Jay has discovered his identity, and we'll have his Ink-Slinger Profile tomorrow.

The earliest I've found this panel showing up was on January 16 1943*, and the latest I've seen it running in a paper that offered it on a regular weekly basis was April 9 1944**. The Atlanta World offered one additional panel on September 21 1944, but I'm guessing that was a repeat to fill a hole, since other papers ended the series in April as well.

The samples above are from the New York Age, which ran the series minus its title bars.

* New York Age
** Atlanta World

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Saturday, June 23, 2018


Herriman Saturday

August 6 1909 -- I'm not going to attempt to give a capsule explanation of the 1909 anarchosyndicalist insurrection in Catalonia Spain (to be honest I thought Monty Python had invented that term), but suffice to say that it was quickly met by the inhumanly brutal hand of the government, as detailed in the news story above. Here's a site that offers some historical perspective on the event and the conditions that led to it.

I am not entirely sure this is a Herriman cartoon. Although it certainly looks like his work, it seems to be signed with the initials "CL."


Just dropping a note to say you got me coming back to this one. The 'CL' monogram (if that's what it is) is drawn with a different pen from the rest of it. Rather than looking for another artist I'm thinking we should be figuring out why Herriman might have found the job so distasteful he left his signature/mark off. That may be hooey but, as you said elsewhere, he usually managed to at least get his little cross in a circle in somewhere if he didn't feel like doing the whole name. And the other suspect, Dan Leno, never rejected an opportunity to put his pseudonym before the public.
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Friday, June 22, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson

Here's another Gibson card from Detroit Publishing, #14003, and this one was postally used in 1906. That puts the kibosh on what I read on the web about the series being issued in 1907. Sumptuous Gibson work, originally published in Life in 1899. The humor of this card was still current by 1906, as monopolies were still very much in the news then.


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Thursday, June 21, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Hardy Hiram

Vet Anderson, who signed himself with a figure of a rooster sporting his first name as its tail feathers, had a long and varied career, but is most remembered today for his work in animation. Although he wouldn't move into the animation world for well over a decade after creating the short-lived Hardy Hiram, you can certainly see in this example that he was a natural at the form. Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, anyone?

Despite working for over a decade at major newspapers in various artistic capacities, Hardy Hiram is one of only two comic strip series of his of which I'm aware. It ran in the New York Herald Sunday comic section from March 2 to April 13 1902*.

* Ken Barker's New York Herald index


Hi Allan,

Thanks for plug, and thank for posting this! So beautiful, I'd love to see the other 3 or 4 "Hirams" he did in color someday. Best, CJ
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Dearie

When a cartoonist would set out to (or was commanded to) copy an existing hit strip, sometimes things went just a little awry. When Gene Carr decided to try his hand at a Buster Brown imitation with Dearie, for instance, things got a little out of hand.

Outcault's Buster Brown was hell on wheels behind an angelic facade, and Carr's Dearie took the idea and turned the control knobs up to eleven. Dearie goes right past rosy-cheeked cuteness into a kid who looks like he's auditioning for a drag show, and he's way past hell on wheels, he's a sadistic little freak who makes Alex from A Clockwork Orange seem positively well-adjusted. (In fairness to the strip, the example above is the most extreme of the short series).

The World syndicated this odd strip as the cover feature of their Sunday comics section from July 10 to August 28 1910*.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scan.

* Chicago Inter-Ocean


"Dearie" has his own gang, too. It's just wierd enough to have been part of a series, maybe as featured adversaries for Dick Tracy. In 1910 it was still okay for criminalaity to go unpunished if it was pulled off by boys.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Clyde Ludwick

Clyde E. Ludwick* was born on September 28, 1885 in Texas. Ludwick’s birth date is from her gravestone; the birthplace is from the censuses; and her middle initial is from Seattle city directories. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Ludwick’s parents, Oliver (1850–1939) and Ellen (1860–1938), were residents of Blanco, Texas.

In the 1900 census, Ludwick, her parents and two older siblings lived in Justice Precinct 4, Burnet County, Texas. Ludwick’s father was a farmer.

The 1903–1904 Austin, Texas city directory listed Ludwick, her sister, Forrest, and brother, Wayne, at 1401 East Second Street. Information about Ludwick’s art training has not been found. At some point, Ludwick moved to Seattle, Washington.

In the 1910 Seattle city directory, Ludwick was an artist at the Western Engraving Company. Her address was 4071 Second Avenue NE. The same address was recorded in the 1910 census which also said newspaper artist Ludwick and her dressmaker mother were roomers. The head of the household was a stenographer.

The 1911 city directory listed Ludwick at 4233 Thackeray Place. The house was owned by her father. According to the 1912 directory, Ludwick was a Seattle Post-Intelligencer artist who lived on “Blanchard corner 6th Ave”. The 1913 and 1914 directories listed Ludwick at 4233 Thackeray Place and a Seattle Times artist.

So far the earliest samples of Ludwick’s work were found in Times of 1912. In some Seattle publications Ludwick and Nell Brinkley were mentioned together.

Such was the interest in Ludwick’s work that readers demanded to know what the artist looked like. The Times complied and published two photographs of her in its October 3, 1913 edition.

The Seattle Star, January 26, 1914, printed a Bon Marche advertisement that featured “Clyde Ludwick” pennants. Ludwick’s last illustration for the Seattle Times appeared May 13, 1914.

Ludwick was not listed in the 1915 Seattle city directory. At some point she moved to California.

So far the earliest Ludwick art found in the San Francisco Chronicle was dated March 17, 1915. She contributed drawings until the last day of the year. Ludwick also contributed an illustration to the Los Angeles Herald, March 23, 1915. 

Ludwick was listed as an Express-Tribune artist, whose address was 451 South Figueroa, in the 1916 Los Angeles city directory. 

Ludwick produced another Easter drawing for the Chronicle on April 23, 1916. Starting in July her art was published by the Sacramento Bee through September 1916.

The September 9, 1916 New York Herald said Ludwick was one of four people who leased studio apartments at 64 West 9th Street. Ludwick was on the third floor. The same address was listed in the 1917 New York City directory.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Ludwick drew Once Upon a Time, from January 7, 1917 to January 27, 1918, for the New York Tribune.

Ludwick has not been found in the 1920 census.

Dry Good Economist, March 12, 1921, reported the National Silk Week. “…Gold, silver and bronze medals are to be awarded by the Silk Association of America for the best window displays made during National Silk Week….The board of judges in the contest consists of Albert Blum, M. D. C. Crawford, Stewart Culin, Herman Frankenthal, Julio Kilenyi, Clyde Ludwick, A.M. Waldron and L.E. Weisgerber.”

On June 10, 1921, Ludwick and Matthew Hubert Harcourt obtained a marriage license in Manhattan. According to census records, Harcourt was a widower and this was his second marriage. 

During June and July 1921, the New York Evening World published Ludwick’s New York Spooning Places.







Ludwick’s illustration graced the cover of the Sunday Eagle Magazine, March 11, 1923.

In 1925 Ludwick was a Portland, Oregon resident when she copyrighted this work: “Harcourt (Clyde Ludwick)* Portland. Or. 11332 Roses. Model of bust of girl with roses. © 1 c. Aug. 8, 1925; G 75237”.

Seattle Times 6/27/1936

Ludwick passed away November 21, 1927 in Tacoma, Washington. The following day an obituary appeared in the Seattle Times.

Mrs. M.H Harcourt Is Called by Death
Services for Former Staff Artist with The Times to Be Held Friday.

Mrs. Clyde Ludwick Harcourt of Seattle died in Tacoma last evening after an illness of several months. She is survived by her husband, Matthew H. Harcourt, Seattle hotel man; their daughter, Natalie, who is attending school in Highland, N.Y.; her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver B. Ludwick of Steilacoom; her sister, Mrs. Louis Wire of Tacoma, and her brother, Wayne D. Ludwick of Los Angeles.

As Miss Clyde Ludwick, Mrs. Harcourt was a staff artist for The Times twelve years ago. She returned to her work with The Times last year but was forced to give it up because of ill health. Mrs. Harcourt, whose sketches were popular with Times readers, was a native of Texas. She lived for many years in New York. She was an active member of the Ladies’ Auxiliary of Hotel Greeters of America.

Funeral services will be held from Piper’s at 5433 S. Union St., South Tacoma, Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock. The Rev. Ralph Sargent of Lincoln Park Christian church will officiate.
Ludwick was laid to rest at the Tacoma Mausoleum.

Several months before her death, Ludwick applied for a patent for a mechanical manikin. The patent was granted September 25, 1928. Several mechanical devices used her work.

* There was another woman named Clyde Ludwick, who lived in Kentucky; her middle name initial was J. 1940 census records include scores of women named Clyde, many born between the 1880s and 1920s.

—Alex Jay


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Monday, June 18, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Once Upon a Time

The idea of a fable, it seems to me, is to teach children a lesson but present it in a manner that entertains and stimulates their imagination. This is done by use of metaphor. That fellow Aesop showed future fableteers the way -- hide your message in an interesting drama using unusual characters; if the story is memorable, the message will sink in and take hold. You don't need to use a hammer to drive in this sort of nail; a feather will take awhile, but will be the best tool in the end.

Clyde Ludwick penned the fable series Once Upon a Time for the New York Tribune's Sunday comics section from January 7 1917 to January 27 1918*. Ludwick had an intriguing sketchy art style, but the fable-telling was utterly hopeless. Each episode presents a fable in which the message is delivered not just with a hammer, but like the bombing of Dresden. In the second example above, characters are named after the qualities they are to illustrate, leaving the reader no need to have any imagination whatsoever. And in case the reader is a complete and absolute blockhead, the message of the fable is spelled out as clearly as humanly possible on the right side of the title bar.

Tune in tomorrow for an Ink-Slinger Profile about Clyde Ludwick with an unexpected twist.

* Ken Barker's New York Tribune index


The strip actually ran until February 10, 1918
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Saturday, June 16, 2018


Herriman Saturday

August 6 1909 -- Jim Jeffries and Jack Johnson both tendered $5000 so-called 'forfeit deposits' against their planned upcoming bout. Johnson required as part of his tender that Jeffries and he get together to determine the details of the match. However, Jeffries was due to take a steamer to Europe, and there was a worry that the two fighters would not be able to meet before the sailing.

As it turns out, the two did miss each other. Jeffries reportedly waited until the last possible minute in New York, expecting Johnson to arrive at the last minute. What he didn't know (and neither did Herriman) was that Johnson had landed in a jail cell in London Ontario, charged with reckless driving after a car accident.


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