Thursday, May 16, 2019
This Week's Heritage Auctions
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.
Labels: Heritage Auctions
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
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.
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.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
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.
Labels: Heritage Auctions
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".
I don't see that anyone has the rest of the archives online.
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.
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.
Labels: Topper Features
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 ...
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.
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.
Young North Carolina Artist HonoredCartoonist 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.
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.
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 PeriodicalsAt some point Hutchison moved from paper to celluloid as noted in the Observer, January 21, 1917.
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.
Queen City Artist Prospers in New YorkIn 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.
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.
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 KetchnerAmerican Newspaper Comics said Hutchison produced Luke Whoozis (August 7 to October 24, 1923) for the International Syndicate.
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.
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.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
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.
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.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
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.
Saturday, April 27, 2019
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.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, April 26, 2019
Wish You Were Here, from Dwig
Here's another Dwig card, this one from Tuck's Cheer Up Series, less colorfully known as Series 176. This card was postally used in 1911.
Looks like that pup is pretty pleased with himself for taking a bite out of the corner of the card. Bad dog!
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Side Talks with Newlyweds
Wednesday, April 24, 2019
Obscurity of the Day: Stubby Stout
In the final days of World War II, on the day Hitler committed suicide as the allies entered Berlin, the struggling comics syndication arm of the Associated Press tried out a new comic strip in their blanket service titled Stubby Stout. Meant purely as a fun antidote to war news elsewhere in the paper, the strip concerned a wacky maintenance man, and though the gags were nothing to write home about, the wonderful art sure did make it fun to look at.
I know very little about the cartooning life of creator Ernie Hager, but based on his style I'd be surprised if he didn't spend some time at Disney. He sure does have a Paul Murry flavor to his work. A short obituary at Find A Grave confirms he was a west coast guy, so it seems like a good possibility. I also wonder if Hager was kin to the other west coast Hager cartooning folk, Dok Hager and his son George Hager.
Nice art aside, the subscribers to the AP service did not seem to have the space or inclination to add Stubby (as it was apparently always abbreviated except in promos) to their line-ups. I have yet to find a newspaper that ran the daily-only strip from the start date of April 30 1945 supplied by Dave Strickler in his E&P Syndicate Directory reference. The latest end date found so far is March 9 1946, courtesy of Jeffrey Lindenblatt, in the Big Spring Herald.
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
News of Yore 1923: O.O. McIntyre on his Cartoonist Friends
I sing today of the limners -- the black and white masters. In short, the cartoonists. From the solemn face of Tad to Rube Goldberg, the merriest wag of the lot.
Day in and out they lighten our sorrows -- giving us pungent, individualistic criticism of human life and human problems more humanizing at times than the printed word. They are sometimes impudent, but always clever.
There is Jay N. Darling, to his readers "Ding," who can draw a warped board fit for the galleries. "Ding" lives in Des Moines, where he owns stock in a thriving newspaper. He comes to New York often, but all the purring of publishers cannot make him leave the great middle west.
I have found pseudo-intellectualism among cartoonists as I have among some writers. "Ding" will sit in at draw, tell a good story, play a practical joke, but at the same time, he is a thinker. He is able to assimilate and digest life and draw his own conclusions.
George McManus is short and pudgy, with a certain gravity of demeanor until you know him. And then he proves a cutup. Sometimes you will find him at "Dinty Moore's" -- the corn beef and cabbage cafe near the Globe. His cartoon character was not named after the living "Dinty." It just happens the living "Dinty" and Mr. McManus are friends.
"Tad," whose pseudonym comes from his initials, is T.A. Dorgan. He was born in San Francisco and was a boyhood playmate of Jim Corbett, and they are neighbors now at Great Neck, L.I.
"Tad" has an owlish look and the droop of the scholar. Just when he was making good as a cartoonist an accident deprived him of a finger and he had to learn to draw all over again with the other hand. He has given the world more slang phrases than any other person.
In the good old days he was a nightly visitor to the Battling Nelson grill of Jack's restaurant. His companion was "Hype" Igoe, a sporting writer, and with their ukuleles they made things hum in the nocturnal life of the Roaring Forties. But the old days are gone and "Tad" does not come to town so often. Golf has claimed him.
H.T. Webster came out of Tommyhawk, Wisc., to add zest to the cartoon world. Fired in Denver for incompetence, he landed right side up as page 1 cartoonist on the old Chicago Inter Ocean and, as is usual with his ilk, New York claimed him -- but not before he had circled the world.
Webster is a 6-footer. He smokes ferocious black cigars, wears his hair fiercely pompadoured and is as gentle and kind as a wobbly little lambkin. The small town folk are his metier. Boyville still calls him. In the summer he goes to the island he owns at Meddybemps, Me., fishes and lounges about the village store.
On another island, hard by, lives Clare Briggs, whose "When a Feller Needs a Friend" and other comicalities have sent laughs around the world. Briggs is the Peter Pan of the cartoon world. If he lives to be 80 he will never grow up. He will always belong to the stone bruise age.
Walking with Webster one gets an impression of Rhode Island and Texas. Webster tall and massive, Briggs short and dumpy. And each smokes the cigar at the Joe Cannon angle. Briggs' New York home is at New Rochelle. His home, "Little Anchor," is made of old ship timbers and is one of the show places of the suburbs that George M. Cohan immortalized in his "Forty-five Minutes from Broadway."
There is a Kelly pool room, a big flower conservatory, a swimming pool and a huge studio room with an open fireplace in this house that laughs built. Briggs, of course, is a small town product and was born in Reedsburg, Wis.
Jean Knott, the penny ante sketcher lives in Clayton, Mo., the county seat of St. Louis county, but spends part of his time in New York. Almost any sunny day you can find him lounging with the loafers about the courthouse. It is difficult to get him to motor into town -- not even to see "Eddie" -- unless you suggest a game of penny ante. He loves the game and why shouldn't he? Its gentle stimulus has taught him the art of living in plenty without toil.
E.A. Bushnell resides in Cleveland. "Bush" began life at hard labor, but his unusual talents were soon recognized. He is shy and diffident and avoids cliques and back-slapping dinners.
The only dyed in the wool New Yorker I know among the comic artists is Jack Callahan, who first saw the light of day in Brooklyn.
Rube L. Goldberg was born in San Francisco, but seldom goes back anymore. Although he owns several apartment houses there, he says the old town is changed. He thrills to his view of Broadway from the Times building at which he works.
He stormed all the newspaper shops when he came to New York, with no success, and was about to return to the Golden Gate when he got a small chance to "do his stuff" on the Evening Mail. He has developed into one of the highest paid cartoonists in the world.
He, like Briggs, is a boyish unspoiled young man. He works with a furious intensity, but plays just as hard. He is at home in a hash house where prize fighters loaf as well as at the Ritz. It would be difficult to call Rube "Mr. Goldberg." I think he would resent it.
Fontaine Fox is a tall, slender young man with a short, light moustache -- English fashion. From Louisville he migrated to Chicago and then the usual stopping place -- Manhattan, where his original drawings and ideas won him a national following. He is rather quiet and unassuming, but withal extraordinary. He was born in Louisville, Ky.
Al Frueh, the caricaturist, is a droll-appearing young man. He hails from Lima, O., but has spent the larger part of his life in Paris and New York. One might find his double in front of the village drug store almost any summer evening.
Herb Roth is a Californian of short but athletic build. He has blonde curly hair and the most distinguishing feature is what Carolyn Wells terms his "button nose." He lives in Gramercy Park, a few doors from The Players, and his off moments are spent canoeing or playing handball. He used to chew tobacco and once grew a beard that was the despair of his friends.
He likes to appear "a rough guy" to hide the romanticism that is his. Friends found him one morning with tears in his eyes in a public park. He was gazing at a crushed flower.
There are others -- too numerous to mention here -- who, however, add just as much gaiety to functions. And they compose an unusual group of small town boys who have made good in the big city.
Their salaries are always big, but success has not turned their heads. They are home loving, law abiding and just regular fellows.
They proved their sterling worth during the recent World War. The influence they wielded was astounding. They sped up activities with simple and homely delineations and they gave of their talents freely.
It is small wonder that one of the richest men in America selects as his confidants and companions the men who draw the cartoons. He has found that they are shrewd and wise, wonderful friends and always loyal.
Labels: News of Yore
Monday, April 22, 2019
Obscurity of the Day: Our Own Movies
I'm ambivalent about posting today's obscurity, Our Own Movies, because I have a great affinity and respect for the work of Nate Collier. This series unfortunately affords me few opportunities for compliments.
Our Own Movies seems to have debuted on November 3 1919*, syndicated by Baltimore's International Syndicate. International was an important early syndicate twenty years earlier, but by 1919 they were just getting by with some second-rate material that they sold to smaller papers. Nate Collier was a perfect fit for them because he was always on the prowl for another outlet for his constantly drawing pen, and he wasn't precious about who signed his checks.
Collier was creative enough that he didn't need to resort to plagiarism, but for some reason he offered International a bald-faced copy of Ed Wheelan's Minute Movies**, less the most original aspect of Wheelan's creation, the recurring 'actor troupe'. For my own happiness, I'm going to assume that International ordered him to produce this me-too strip.
When first offered, the strip was designed so that it could run as a very thin page-width strip, like Bert Link's A Reel of Nonsense. However, I have yet to find a paper that ran it that way. The strip was also offered formatted as a three-column three-tiered square (as seen above). This succeeded in making the captions sometimes refer to a drawing on a different tier, making the strips a bit confusing to readers. Nevertheless, this was the format everyone seemed to pick.
By early 1920, the strip was reformatted to fit in the standard six-column comic strip format of the day, and now looked exactly like Minute Movies by switching to its two-tiered format. By then Collier was beginning to offer continuities, also like you-know-who.
The strip was actually running in a goodly number of papers (by International Syndicate standards), when it disappeared on August 28 1920***, not even a full year into the run. My bet is that International stiffed Collier and he flew the coop, but that's just a guess. No harm done, though, since it was not doing Collier's resume any good to be producing copycat material for an over-the-hill syndicate.
* Source: Ottawa Journal
** Actually, it was still titled Midegt Movies in 1919. The Minute Movies moniker would not come until 1921.
*** Source: Salina Evening Journal
Unlike you I greatly enjoyed the Our Own Movies series, at least the samples you provided.
The art (of course), the script, the lettering - it all worked for me.
The love story with the enigmatic ending, the gangster "film" with all the slang, and the fairy tale about the Ananias River; all of them wonderful. And completely different.
If he kept up the variety on the done-in-one installments I would have hated the change to serial format.
Since "there is nothing new under the sun" Nate nicking someone else's device doesn't bother me.
Looking forward to Alex's profile of Collier (I hope).
Quite a few International clients ran stuff late and out of order, so in order to figure end dates I tend to limit myself to papers that ran them for a good long while on a consistent daily basis. Is that true of the Rome paper? Maybe you could give me the topics of the last few and I'll cross-check it with the Salina paper. Thanks, Allan
The final five strips in the Rome Sentinel;
23 August 1920: Part one of the saga of Rupert Spoofus and Elinore DeBumski and their rocky romance.
24 August: Part two.
25 August: Part three (of three)
3 September: Two pith-helmeted guys stand surveying different landscapes in successive panels, including "Aloha Land", the Sahara and a glacier field, then resolving in the penultimate frame Nate himself shaking hands with "You", (a short chap in a derby) and finally, a smiling sun as readers are bid goodbye. Nate puts next to his signature "With a Fond Farewell."
8 September: "Jack Dannels" berates his maid, though we were led to believe he was an unhenpecked husband yelling at his wife. Next to Nate's signature he adds,"Watch For My Stuff in ""life" and "Judge."
The Rome Sentinel started running them on 22 March 1920.
So maybe they did run them out of order, certainly they mixed up the last two, and sometimes they skipped a day.
Saturday, April 20, 2019
December 20 1909 -- The first version of Herriman's Mary's Home from College comic strip appeared in Hearst's New York flagships, the Journal and American, and a smattering of papers around the country, back in February to May 1909.
When Herriman ended his Baron Mooch strip in December, which also got some spotty Hearst syndication, he returned to Mary's Home from College for a few episodes before heading on to new ideas. As far as I know, this iteration of the strip ran only in the Los Angeles Examiner, though I could be wrong.
Bill Blackbeard's By George Volume One makes nary a mention of these Mary strips. He jumps straight from Baron Mooch to Gooseberry Sprig. This is odd since he was evidently working from LA Examiner bound volumes. Only explanation I can think of is that maybe he believed they were re-runs from the earlier series. Could he be right? I dunno, because I have only seen a few examples from the earlier series. Apparently some (or all?) from that series were printed in the Fantagraphics Krazy Kat Volume 8, but I do not have that book. Can someone tell me the extent of the Mary's Home from College strips presented there (or anywhere else)?
Anyhow, here is the first Mary's Home From College strip from the Examiner run.
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
The only Mary's Home From College strips I could find were included in the Fantagraphics 1933-34 book. I don't know if that's Volume 8 or not. There are five Sunday half-page Marys from 1909 in there. They are not otherwise dated. Thanks again for your blog,
Friday, April 19, 2019
Wish You Were Here, from Dave Breger
Here's another of the wartime Private Breger cards by Dave Breger. This one is Graycraft #303. Note the King Features copyright on it indicating that it is presumably just reused from the newspaper series.
Labels: Wish You Were Here
Thursday, April 18, 2019
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Betty Swords
Betty Swords born was born Betty Armella Edgemond on August 17, 1917, in Gilroy, California. The birth date is from the Social Security Death Index. The birthplace is based on the address found on her father’s World War I draft card, which he signed June 5, 1917. Swords’ full name was published in the 1938 University of California at Berkeley yearbook, Blue and Gold, however, the U.S. Federal Censuses for 1920, 1930 and 1940 said her first name was Elizabeth.
In the 1920 census, Swords was the youngest of three children born to John and Gertrude. Swords’ siblings were John, Jr. and Iris, and her father was a school department auditor. The family lived in Oakland, California at 1955 35th Avenue.
The San Francisco Chronicle, October 18, 1927, named Swords’ elementary school.
Young Pupils Build TheaterThe 1930 census recorded the Edgemond family in Oakland at 6225 Hillegass. As “Betty A Edgemond” she was listed at the same address in Oakland city directories from 1937 to 1939.
Scenes of Old Italy Will Be Presented
Pupils of the fifth and sixth grades of the Peralta School, in Oakland, are building a theater in which scenes illustrating ancient and modern Italy, and episodes from the lives of American inventors will be shown.
The chief architects pf the theater are Carl Theile, Billy Seabury and Lloyd The. Their able assistants are Betty Edgemond, Jean Thursby and Florence Williams. Miss S.M. Thompson is the teacher in charge of the project.
In connection with the building of the theater, the students have turned playwrights and are writing plays which will be produced in class. These plays deal with the lives of American inventors.
in the miniature little theater, a large box was used. Curtains for the stage were made by members of the class and a system of lighting was worked out.
The students plan to make their own motion pictures, which can be shown in their tiny theater.
The Milwaukee Journal (Wisconsin), October 25, 1935, published a photograph that included Swords.
Swords graduated in 1938.
According to the 1940 census, Swords was the last child living with her parents at the same Oakland address. Her occupation was new worker.
The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, Volume 5 (1983) said Swords ”entered the Academy of Advertising Art in San Francisco to prepare for a career as a fashion designer but abandoned this intention upon her marriage.”
The Oakland Tribune, December 15, 1941, reported Swords’ marriage.
Another bridal couple whose honeymoon will be cut short by war duties, is Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Swords (Betty Edgemond), married Friday night, in Piedmont Community Church. Wedding plans were disrupted so that a mere handful of guests arrived instead of the 250 bidden. The reception took place in Oakland later where the company was augmented when the all clear signal was given.Swords’ husband was Henry Leonard Swords, a 1935 UC Berkeley graduate. He was a Western Geophysical Company employee when he registered for the draft on October 16, 1940. His sister, Mary Elizabeth, was a 1937 UC Berkeley graduate.
Swords’ husband’s job required them to move frequently, from California to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. During World War II Swords mailed cartoons to various magazines but did not sell any. In the 1950s, Swords sold gags to Hank Ketcham of Dennis the Menace fame, and other cartoonists. (see The Comics Journal, R.C. Harvey’s 1995 interview with Swords, “At Sword’s Point: Humor as Weapon”).
Swords illustrated the book, Making the Most of Every Move (1958).
In August 1966 Swords was thanked in Jimmy Hatlo’s They’ll Do It Every Time.
Swords was a subject in Robin Orr’s column in the Oakland Tribune, July 18, 1974.
Writer-cartoonist Betty Edgemond Swords, who illustrated the 1974 Male Chauvinist Pig Calendar, is visiting here from her home in Denver and being entertained by friends from her University of California Class of 1938. … Betty’s an active member of of the Denver chapter of NOW, worked like sixty on the campaign that put a colorado woman in Congress two years ago and has just joined a coalition of the Denver chapters of NOW and Gray Panthers (“a fantastic group of people”) dedicated to championing the causes of senior citizens.The Colorado Springs Gazette, October 15, 1975, mentioned Swords’ upcoming talk.
Among other things, Betty is a regular contributor (“both writing and cartoons”) to the magazine Modern Maturity, published for the five million members of the National Association of Retired persons. She also writes for the Christian Science Monitor, review books for the Denver Post, had had cartoons published in the old Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and Look, and this February had an article on no-fault divorce in McCall’s
In any event, from her vantage point of long experience in the talent jungle, Betty thinks the women’s movement has come a long way, baby. As she and her friend left for St. Helena yesterday, she said, “I was just about to tell Virginia, ‘See, we’ve become respectable.’ The very idea of a women’s liberation movement has become respected and respectable. We’ve stopped being those bra-less bubble heads.”
Betty Swords, Denver Post political cartoonist and book reviewer will be the guest speaker in conjunction with Women’s Week, 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Women’s Week Center, Palmer Wing of Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave. Her topic is “Humor as a Weapon Against Women,” illustrating how American jokes perpetuate myths and stereotypes about women. Ms. Swords teaches courses, workshops and seminars in women’s studies and various fields of humor. She has published articles in McCalls, Christian Science Monitor and other national publications, her subjects being feminism, agism, the handicapped, and legal rights of women. She is founder of Denver’s chapter of National Organization for Women and is a charter member of both the Colorado Women’s Political Caucus and the Democratic Women’s Caucus. Ms. Swords has lectured extensively in behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment and was the 1972 television panel moderator for Gloria Steinem and the Democratic Women, aired nationwide. Ms. Swords’ lecture is free and open to the public.The Olympian (Washington), September 14, 1986, published columnist James J. Kilpatrick”s response to Swords’ letter.
The other day I innocently wrote something about “women’s lib,” which provoked a hot letter from Betty Swords of Denver. The proper term is “women’s movement,” and I am not to forget it.Swords’ husband passed away December 8, 2004. The status of her two children is not known. Swords passed away August 14, 2005, in Denver.
Swords sent me a booklet (you will never know what pain it causes me to identify a woman by her last name only) put out by McGraw-Hill providing “guidelines for equal treatment of the sexes.” …
Further Reading and Viewing
Insider Histories of Cartooning: Rediscovering Forgotten Famous Comics and Their Creators
Robert C. Harvey
University Press of Mississippi, 2014
Mike Lynch Cartoons
Photos of Betty Swords
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles