Friday, March 22, 2019

 

Wish You Were Here, from Myer Marcus


I think this is the first Myer Marcus postcard we've featured on the blog. His postcard output was limited, but I see them not too infrequently. As Marcus was a Philly guy, it is perhaps not too surprising that he did this card for the Rose Company, based in that city. As you can see on the front, they called this their Aurocrome Series, and this was card A8. This is an undivided back card, but was not postally used until 1907, when divided backs made their debut.

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Could this be some other Myer? The style seems different from that seen in Fuller Bull and Asthma Simpson, only a few years after this.
 
Certainly he is showing us a different style here, somewhat Zim derived, but the consistency of the signature and the fact these cards were produced in Philadelphia leads me to be reasonably confident. Not that the name Myer is exactly rare, so I am open to be corrected.
--Allan
 
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Thursday, March 21, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Eager


Charles Philbrick Eager was born in November 16, 1880, in San Francisco, California, according to his World War II draft card which also had his full name. His middle name was his mother’s maiden name.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census, enumerated June 7, said Eager’s father and oldest brother were printers. The family lived at 1527 Tyler Street in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Chronicle, July 9, 1899, said “Charles P. Eager is enjoying a vacation in Honolulu. He expects to return within a month.”

Eager was not yet been found in the 1900 census.

The San Francisco Call, May 19, 1900, covered the Polytechnic students’ vaudeville show which included performances by Eager.

The 1901 San Francisco city directory listed Eager and his father at 1527 Golden Gate Avenue. Eager’s father and two brothers were pressmen at the Chronicle.

Eager was a student at the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art in 1901.




American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Eager produced two comic strips for the Chronicle. The Wise Gazabe ran from June 29 to September 21, 1902, and Chan Toy and Chop Suey from September 28 to December 14, 1902.
 

The 1903 San Francisco directory said artist Eager resided at 1527 Golden Gate Avenue.

Camera Craft, November 1903, covered the Newspaper Artists’ Exhibition said

Charles P. Eager, of the Chronicle, made one of the most interesting displays. His was all newspaper work of the best quality. It included the usual range of pen and ink work and all the different events. The color drawings for the comic “Wise Gazabe,” that appeared in the Chronicle, were particularly interesting.
The Reno Gazette-Journal (Nevada), November 8, 1956, said Eager
had lost his position as staff artist with the San Francisco Chronicle when the coast paper affiliated with the McClure Syndicate. The Syndicate furnished the comic pages to the paper.

“I had a chance to stay,” says Mr. Eager, ”but I had no interest in doing the straight stuff.” His salary with the Chronicle was $15 weekly. After leaving the Chronicle, Mr. Eager decided to travel. He first took a job as a draftsman with the old U. S. surveyor general’s office in St. Paul, Minn., at $900 a year…

Eager was recorded at St. Paul in the 1905 Minnesota state census.

The Gazette-Journal said Eager moved to Reno in November 1906 and became the Gazette’s first cartoonist. Gradually, Eager did less cartooning because of his work for the Bureau of Land Management, traveling to Portland, San Francisco and Burlingame.

In 1907 Eager’s father passed away January 27 and his brother William on July 19.

The San Jose Evening News (California), June 29, 1908, noted Eager’s marriage, “Miss Gertrude Grey of this city and Charles P. Eager of Reno, Nevada, were married at the home of the bride’s mother on Wednesday evening.” They married on June 24.

Eager and his wife were Reno residents as recorded in the 1910 census. The draftsman owned his home at 742 Plumas Street.

Eager was a member of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He was secretary at the Reno branch.

Eager’s mother passed away June 13, 1911.

The Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, January 28, 1913, published Eager’s patent of a parallel protractor.

Eager was the exalted ruler of the Reno Elks.

In 1917 Eager moved to San Francisco.

Eager signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He lived at 796 Pine Street, San Francisco. His occupation was topographical draftsman for the U.S. government. His description was tall and slender with blue eyes and blonde hair.

In the 1920 census, Eager, his wife and five-year-old daughter, Margaret, were in San Francisco at 244 21st Avenue. His occupation was “computer” draftsman.

The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, 1920, New Series, Volume 15, Number 1 included Eager’s work “Alas, the Dooserdoo”.


The 1930 census said Eager’s home was 744 Paloma Avenue in Burlingame, California. He was an engineer with the federal government.

Before 1935, Eager moved to Glendale, California. The 1940 census had his address as 410 1/2 North Jackson Street. The government engineer finished four years of high school and earned $2,800 in 1939.

On April 26, 1942, Eager signed his World War II draft card. His address was unchanged.


In 1949 Eager and Robert Lenon presented a paper to the American Society of Civil Engineers. 

Reno Gazette-Journal, 11/8/1956

The Official Register of the United States 1950 said Eager was at the Bureau of Land Management survey office in Glendale.

The Gazette-Journal said Eager retired in 1950; his wife passed away in 1952; and their daughter was head of the psychology and sociology department at San Diego Junior college.

Eager passed away April 12, 1965, in Los Angeles, California. He was laid to rest at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.



—Alex Jay

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Jug Jugs


The Jug Jugs are a group of animals who leave the Central Park Zoo to see the world. Some are bona fide zoo animals, while others, like the mosquito, maybe not so much. The species of the animals are no means obvious since the art is wretchedly awful. The text stories that accompany the art, though, are really quite glorious.

The Jug Jugs appeared in the New York Herald in 1899. I don't have complete information on their run. The earliest one I've found (above) is from the August 6 issue, and the text makes it obvious that it is not the first in the series. OSU's Bill Blackbeard collection documents three additional episodes, on September 3, September 10 and October 8. Based on the title of that last episode it appears to be the end of the series.

The author of The Jug Jugs signs him or herself Lazy Locket. This signature was all over the Herald's children's section from August to October 1899, and then disappears. I haven't a clue who this person really is. At first blush that seems small loss since the artwork is something that should be tacked up on a refrigerator by a doting parent, not published in a major newspaper. But the text story is another matter entirely. Although The Jug Jugs is certainly inspired by the work of Lewis Carroll, it is not just derivative hackwork. Based just upon this single episode, the only one I've seen, I say it is Literature with a capital L. I'd love to see more to find out if Mr. or Ms. Locket was able to sustain this level of writing, or if this episode was merely a flash of brilliance.


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The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art apparently has two Lazy Locket items in its collection. "Amusing Animalities Artful Artic [sic?] Aptly Illustrated" It's listed as a one-shot. They also have "The Jug Jugs Entertained by Santa Claus." Sounds to me like you might have a shot at a comparison. Website here: http://ead.ohiolink.edu/xtf-ead/view?docId=ead/xOhCoUCR0001.xml;chunk.id=new_york_herald;brand=default;query=editorial and look for Series II, comic sections, New York Herald.
 
EOCostello -- Not sure I understand your comment. The post states that I found three Jug Jugs installments in the Blackbeard collection and gives their dates. I did not count "Amusing Animalities..." because there is no definite tie to this series based on the title alone. --Allan
 
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Charles Plumb




1920

Charles Parsons Plumb was born on November 13, 1899, in Gardiner, New Mexico according to his World War II draft card. Plumb’s World War I draft card had the same date and full name.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Plumb was the only child of Carl and Mary. His father was a mining engineer. The trio lived in Gardiner.

The Plumb family numbered six in the 1910 census and were residents in Joplin, Missouri at 319 North Pearl Street.

In the 1918 University of Missouri yearbook, Savitar, Plumb was a freshman yearbook assistant and Kappa Sigma pledge.

On September 6, 1918, Plumb signed his World War I draft card. His home address was the Miners Bank Building in Joplin. He was described as medium height and build with brown eyes and hair. Plumb said he was a student. Sometime later he dropped out of school.

According to the 1920 census, cartoonist Plumb lived with his parents, siblings and maternal grandmother, Lucina Parsons, in Joplin at 1131 Florida Street.

Plumb was featured in the two-page Federal School advertisement in Cartoons Magazine, February 1921. Plumb was included in Chalk Talk and Crayon Presentation: A Handbook of Practice and Performance in Pictorial Expression of Ideas (1922).

Plumb’s marriage was reported in the Joplin Globe, November 16, 1921. 

Joplin friends of Charles Parsons Plumb of Chicago, formerly of this city, will be Interested to learn of his marriage Monday afternoon, November 15, at 4:30 o’clock in Hyde Park Methodist church, Chicago, to Miss Rachel Griffith of Vincennes, Ind. The bride was a house guest of Mrs. C. H. Plumb in Joplin some time ago.
Mr. Plumb is the son of Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Plumb of Chicago, former residents of Joplin, and who are well known here. He is cartoonist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, with headquarters in Chicago. After the wedding ceremony, which was witnessed by the immediate families and a few intimate friends, the bride’s father, Dr. Griffith of Vincennes, Ind., was host at a wedding dinner at a hotel. The couple left Tuesday morning for a wedding trip to Atlanta, Ga., where Mr. Plumb will attend the annual convention of the farm bureau federation. They will be at home to their friends on their return to Chicago.
The Galena Evening Times (Kansas), November 24, 1921, published this item. 
Announcement has been received here of the marriage of Charles Parsons Plumb and Miss Rachel Grace Griffith in Chicago, November 14. Mr. Plumb is a former resident of Baxter [Kansas] and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Plumb. They will reside in Chicago.
The Buffalo Evening News (New York), September 10, 1926, printed a profile of Plumb.
Charles P. Plumb, the artist, was born in Gardner [sic], New Mexico, reared in Colorado and Missouri, and when he grew to college man’s estate went to the University of Missouri. Later he attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He traveled and swung a pencil before audiences in the Chautauqua circuits, and later drew front page cartoons for a Chicago dally newspaper. He also produced syndicated cartoons for a national farm organization.

From these he went to animated cartoons, after moving to Pasadena, California, in 1923; then spent two years as a cartoonist on the Los Angeles Times and art editor of the Times Preview magazine. In Mr. Plumb’s own words, also, it is divulged: “Married. Two. One of each. Specially admires work of N. Y. Wyeth, Bateman, Arthur Rackham, and Edmund Dulac. Hobbies, fishing and rocking the baby, but too busy drawing Ella [Cinders] to do either. Ambition, to invent blotless ink and a three-speed-roller-bearing drawing pen. Favorite nightmare, the dead-line.”
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Plumb drew the Ella Cinders daily from June 1, 1925 to May 13, 1950, and the Sunday from September 19, 1926 to May 9, 1943. Plumb had assistants including Roger Armstrong, Jack McGuire, Hardie Gramatky and Joe Messerli. Bill Conselman was the initial writer followed by Fred Fox and Conselman’s son. Plumb also wrote the Tarzan Sunday pages from February 10, 1946 to August 3, 1947.

San Gabriel, California was Plumb’s home in the 1930 census. His house, at 132 Live Oak Avenue, was valued at $40,000. The newspaper cartoonist had two children and a servant. The following year, a third child was born.

The whole family vacationed in Hawaii. They departed Los Angeles on January 12, 1934 and arrived in Honolulu on February 17. They started their journey home on March 10 and landed on the mainland the seventeenth.

Plumb and Charles Stuart Ramsay collaborated on the book, Tin Can Island: A Story of Tonga and the Swimming Mail Man of the South Seas. It was published in 1938.

The 1940 census said syndicate cartoonist Plumb had remarried. He and wife Josephine had a two-year-old son named Peter. Plumb’s household included his mother-in-law, sister-in-law and a servant. They lived in San Antonio, Texas at 1202 West Mulberry. Plumb was a San Antonio resident when he signed his World War II draft card on September 15, 1942.

A 1945 issue of Caduceus, published by the Kappa Sigma fraternity, noted Plumb’s whereabouts and activities, “Cartoonist Charles P. Plumb (Missouri) of Progresso, Texas, is remembered as co-creator of the comic strip ‘Ella Cinders,’ done when he was a correspondent for United Press. He is in Hawaii as a Red Cross assistant field director. Mrs. Plumb lives at 1010 W. Craig, San Antonio, while their son, Charles C, is in the navy in the Pacific.”

A military manifest card said Plumb was a Red Cross worker whose home address was 251 Cornell Street in San Antonio. Plumb flew on a B-29 from Hawaii on August 22, 1945, bound for San Francisco.

Plumb’s third marriage was to Martha Louise Wright. News of the event appeared in the Ogden Standard-Examiner (Utah), September 6, 1970. 

Sep 6, 1970—Announcement is made of the marriage on Aug. 7th of the former Mrs. Martha Robeson Wright, formerly of Ft. Myers, Fla., to Charles Parsons Plumb, also of Ft. Myers. The couple exchanged vows in the presence of immediate family members, and after a trip to St. Augustine Beach, Silver Springs and Clearwater, Fla., the couple is at home at 1925 Virginia Ave., Ft. Myers. Mr. Plumb was creator of the cartoon Ella Cinders, for 30 years, and is the author of short stories of adventure.
The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 31, Part 1, Number 1, Section 2, Books and Pamphlets, January–June 1977 included this entry for Plumb. “The Tattooed gun hand. By Charles P. Plumb. 176 p. © Charles P. Plumb; 8 Feb 77: A840993”.

Artists in California, 1786–1940 said Plumb retired to Ashland, Oregon.


Plumb passed away January 19, 1982 according to the Huntsville Times (Alabama), January 21, 1982, which published the Associated Press article.

‘Ella Cinders’ Creator Is Dead
Ashland, Ore. (AP)—Charles P. Plumb, creator of the comic strip “Ella Cinders” which was popular during the 1930s, has died in a rest home at the age of 82.

His strip ran for 27 years, ending in 1951. A popular newspaper and comic book feature which hit its peak of popularity in the 1930s, it was the first comic strip to be made into a full-length motion picture.

Plumb, who died Tuesday [January 19], also was the author of three books: “Tin Can Island,” {The Tattooed Gun Hand,” and “The Murderous Move.”

His wife, Martha Wright Plumb, said he had been ill for the last several weeks.
The Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio), January 21, 1982, said Plumb died in Fort Myers, Fla. Plumb was laid to rest at Restlawn Memorial Gardens.


—Alex Jay

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Monday, March 18, 2019

 

Toppers: Chris Crusty


The long-running and popular strip Ella Cinders was quite economical about toppers. Through the entire long lifespan of the strip, it used only one --- Chris Crusty.

Ella Cinders combined comedy, melodrama and adventure in a strip that did all three quite well. Although mostly forgotten today, in its heyday it was very popular, on a par with many blockbuster strips of the day. In later years the strip's reputation was tarnished by second-rate writers and artists, some credited, some not. However, when writer Bill Conselman and artist Charlie Plumb were at the helm it was a delight to read and very well-drawn to boot.

The strip sold very well as a daily and so a Sunday was added after fifteen months, on September 19 1926.  The syndicate, Metropolitan Newspapers, had never syndicated a Sunday page and so Ella Cinders became their first foray into that arena. Such was the reader response to Ella, though, that the Sunday sold well right out of the gate. The Sunday didn't in my opinion have nearly the same magic as the daily, but I must be in the minority, because the Sunday sales were very strong and stayed that way.

Being new to the Sunday game, Metropolitan didn't clue into the topper craze. It took half a decade before Ella Cinders would gain her one and only topper on July 5 1931. Chris Crusty got a rousing introduction onto the Sunday page:


but that was the highlight of the entire run of the strip. After this intro strip, the feature consistently used the star as a mannequin on which to hang the week's jokebook gag. There was no continuity to his character or surroundings. Eventually the strip was demoted from two tiers to one tier, then to two panels vying for room alongside Ella Cinders' logo. Finally on July 6 1941*, exactly a decade after its debut, Chris Crusty's swan song was sung and Ella graced the Sunday funnies all by her lonesome for the rest of the long run of the strip.

* Source: New York Mirror

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1926 was also the year Colleen Moore -- then a major star -- starred in a movie version of Ella Cinders, which is probably better known that the strip at this point. Harry Langdon, briefly a rival to Chaplin and Keaton, has a cameo.

The story has Ella winning a contest and going to Hollywood, which evidently mirrors the early days of the strip itself. It's still entertaining, although a few period bits date badly.

The film, one of the few Moore features to survive tragic mishandling, is public domain and there are various DVD releases as well as online videos. All seem to run about 52 minutes -- perhaps copied from a condensed version for Kodak's Kodascope lending library, which offered silent films for home projector owners.
 
Ella Cinders was probably the first strip launched the way (more) modern ones were, with a big promotional campaign beforehand, with`licensing arrangements made in advance. She had a song, dolls,and the movie appearing a few weeks to months after the strip began. According to IMDb, the film rights were secured by First National in January 1926,,and this one hit movie screens just short of a year from the strip's debut. I liked the strip, at least in it's early years. It was nicely drawn and had humourous, slangy dialogue, though given to the always-annoying PUNS. It became bad, or at least undistinguished when they made it into a dreary, verbose soap opera about Ella and her boring husband, "Patches", (who appeared to be a caricature of Antonio Moreno) and how events always kept them apart, from their unconsumated marriage in 1937 on. The film didn't strictly adhere to the strip's first story, though it seems like the two were created together. in the film, she makes it in Hollywood, and hometown iceman/sweetie "Waite Lifter" (the level of punmanship Conselman could reach) comes out there and marries her. He's played by the handsome he-man Lloyd Hughes. In the strip, Mr. Lifter was a thick, cypher-eyed grotesque that is left behind long ago. And obviously, Ella doesn't become a film star either. Fritzi Ritz went out there to be in the movies too, and I'm still waiting for her movie to come out. Fun Fact: one 1927 Ella Sunday was drawn by Clifford McBride.
 
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Saturday, March 16, 2019

 

Herriman Saturday


December 14 1909 -- The justice of the peace for Elizabeth Lake, an area primarily known for its duck hunting, has begged to be unburdened of his job. It seems he is caught between a rock and a hard place -- he wants to stay on the good side of the duck hunters, many of whom are persons of civic stature, and yet he must do his duty.

Faced with having to impose major fines or jail on a group of duck hunters who began shooting before sunrise, and knowing these defendants to be VIPs from L.A., he quickly dashed off a letter of resignation and refused to pass judgment. The judge receiving the letter has refused to accept the resignation, and told him to grow a spine and do his duty.

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Friday, March 15, 2019

 

Wish You Were Here, from Dwig



Here's another card from Dwig's School Days series, aka Ophelia's Slate, aka Tuck Series #170. Although this is a divided back card, the user couldn't quite get all her thoughts on the back unfortunately. It was postally used in 1910.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Coon Hollow Folks, with a side dish of Bear Creek Folks



For the longest time I couldn't understand why Bear Creek Folks, the long-running Philadelphia Inquirer strip, was sometimes referred to as Coon Hollow Folks in references. Never once had I seen a Bear Creek strip use that title or location. Eventually I just shrugged, listed it as an alternate title to Bear Creek Folks, and went on with my other research. Well, it turns out that Coon Hollow Folks does really exist, and it is an entirely separate (though identical -- get your head around that) comic strip to Bear Creek Folks.

It took a lot of searching around to figure out this messy little story, but I think I've finally unravelled the  most of it. The first clue came from good ol' Cole Johnson, who sent me the above two sample strips quite a long time ago. He made no mention of the fact that these strips bore that fabled name, because he was much more interested at the time in the fact that the Newark Advertiser was running a second set of color comics in their Wednesday papers of 1906 as a circulation stunt.

At the time I assumed that these were Bear Creek strips that for some reason were renamed for syndication by the Inquirer. It wasn't until many moons later, and unfortunately long after Cole could help to shed light on the mystery, that I finally did some due diligence on these strips. I searched through the online archives of the Philadelphia Inquirer just to see when these strips ran there, and if in fact the names had been changed. To my surprise, I found no Bear Creek strips that matched these, and in fact I realized when looking for the matches that the Inky never ran Bear Creek as a full, only a half. So where the heck did these full page strips originate? Did the Inquirer commission them separately?

Turns out the answer is no. My next clue came from a Pittsburgh newspaper of the 1950s that ran a puff piece on Charles M. Payne. They mention that he originated the Coon Hollow Folks strip in a Pittsburgh newspaper in 1903. Hmm. Could it be so? I knew that tracking any Sunday strip down in a Pittsburgh paper is a tough order. Whoever microfilmed Pittsburgh newspapers seemed to so hate Sunday comics that they rarely bothered to waste microfilm space on them.

However, I must have rubbed my rabbit's foot just right because I was in luck. In the period 1906-1908, many Sunday sections of the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times were filmed, and glory be but what did I find there but C.M. Payne's Coon Hollow Folks! The microfilmer stopped filming the Sunday comics on November 15 1908 when the strip was still running, but my guess is that it didn't run much longer after that. Payne by that time had actually stopped taking credit on the strip, signing himself "Coon" (complete with quotation marks) starting on February 2 1908, and in years hence he would say that he stopped doing the strip in 1907. Evidently he was moonlighting from some other job to continue this series. I know that in 1909 he had work appearing in the Philadelphia Inquirer and New York World, so presumably Coon Hollow Folks was very close to ending by then.

That leaves a big question. Why did the Philadelphia Inquirer start running a strip late in 1904 that was an outright copy of Coon Hollow Folks, complete to the characters and their names?  One could say that both strips are outright rip-offs of the Uncle Remus Stories of Joel Chandler Harris, right down to the use of the term Br'er, often used in reference to each of the animals. While that's true, why use the exact same animals, the exact same names, and the exact same art style?

The answer may well be that Payne himself managed to sell the Inquirer on the idea of running a doppelganger strip, because it is commonly said that Payne was the artist on the Inquirer strip at the beginning (late 1904). The Inquirer wasn't above being a copycat, because they already had Harold Knerr penning a copy of Katzenjammer Kids (as Fineheimer Twins).

The problem is that the early Bear Creek Folks strips are unsigned, and in a style that could be produced by any number of Inquirer cartoonists -- R. Edward Shellcope, William F. Marriner, Sidney Smith and Jack Gallagher could all handle that style with -- at least to my eyes -- darn little difference to discern who is who. In fact, as part of readying this post, I made a close study of the Inquirer strip of 1904-05, and I actually did find a few signed with a single initial -- K. Was it Knerr who produced both the Katzies rip-off and the Coon Hollow ripoff? Did it have nothing to do with Payne at all?

I'm not nearly good enough as an art spotter to tell, but just in case you, dear reader, are gifted in that respect, here's a couple early Bear Creek Folks, one signed K, to consider. Sorry for the low quality but these are from online microfilm sources:

First Bear Creek Folks, Oct 9 1904

First Bear Creek Folks signed 'K', Oct 30 1904


PS: To make an already long post even longer, I wish to commemorate a small landmark in my research. When American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide was published, my count of newspaper comic series documented therein was 7012. With the addition of Coon Hollow Folks added to the ranks of documented series, my meter clicked over to 7500, the first real nice round number I've hit since then. Congratulations to me!






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Hello Allan-
Are you saying you think the Coon Hollow strips were syndicated by the Pittsburg Gazette Times? Or Payne self-syndicated?
It might be that Payne owned the characters and Bear Creek Folks was the same strip with a new name so that the Inky could have something they could own and control.
The Newark Advertiser ran a WCP section on Sunday, and the Wednesday one was McClure, so is this a McClure series, or maybe they were doing a syndication arrangement with Payne, or the Pittsburg G-T who might own it.
 
Looks like a different artist to me. Might well be Knerr. Do you have any zoo-illogical snapshots we can compare against?
 
Hi Mark --
There is good evidence that Payne was working for the Pittsburgh G-T at the time the feature debuted -- there are several write-ups in the paper about him being a staff member. Now as far as actually syndicating the material, it could be that the G-T or Payne sold the strip to McClure for syndication, or they could have syndicated it themselves. Since McClure sections are in plentiful supply, yet this strip is rarely seen, I'm going with the G-T as my best guess. One thing I can say for sure is that the Coon Hollow and Bear Creek material, though so very similar, does not overlap as I was lucky enough to be able to compare both series in the early years. All the strips I reviewed were different between the two series.

--Allan
 
Daniel --
FZor your art-comparing pleasure I'd suggest looking at this post:

http://strippersguide.blogspot.com/2008/09/obscurity-of-day-hard-luck-bill.html

Where you'll find signed Knerr work from very close to the time when the Inky strip debuted.

--Allan
 
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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

 

World Color Printing's Invisible Color Book (Part 2)

Yesterday we left you on a cliffhanger. What could possibly save the Invisible Color Book, a World Color Printing production that was crashing and burning. Newspapers were cancelling it right and left. What .... would ..... they  ..... DO!!!!!!

Well, the answer is not a whole hell of a lot.

But they did make an effort, and some of the material they introduced is kind of interesting. Not necessarily entertaining, mind you, but kind of interesting.

Okay, to remind you of what was in the earlier sections (or ya could just scroll down to look at yesterday's post) it was all fairy tale illustrations, a few paper dolls, and a text story (what a great use for invisible color that is!). With the installment of September 24 1922, however, they inaugurated a new line-up. That included:

* a revival of the old Annabelle paper doll feature from the WCP Sunday sections. This paper doll series had last seen print in 1916, but the character was dusted off and put under the leadership of Garde, aka Gordie, aka Gardie. He did a perfectly creditable job, but recall my previously voiced concerns over making paper dolls out of damp wrinkled newspaper.

* Ladd F. Morse started a series about some little munchkins called The Danny Dees. The poetry was bad, but the pictures were well done.

* an untitled series of full-page comic strips would tell a fairy tale or fable each week. Reducing Alice in Wonderland and Robinson Crusoe to a six panel comic strip may seem just a tad overreaching, but at least they tried. Art on this feature was often unsigned, but Bob H. and Peggie did own up to quite a few of the episodes.

* the next two additions were both from the Boston Globe. Why WCP couldn't dip into their own vast inventory I can't imagine, but considering that the Globe was a subscribing paper, maybe they got these on the cheapsie. They added large four panel comic strips of Billy the Boy Artist by Ed Payne and Fatty Spilliker by George H. Blair (the latter was a latecomer, starting in the October 15 issue).

* the final addition was an activity page, also loosely based on a Boston Globe feature. The Globe had a Sunday feature titled The Bingville Bugle, a spoof newspaper that reported the goings-on in a rusticated podunk town. "Marshall Ladd" offered very well-drawn views of various venues in that town (the general store, the sheriff's office, and so on), and each picture held mysteries to be solved, like hidden pictures or 25 items that begin with the letter G. I've not encountered this feature in the Boston Globe itself, so why the Invisible Color Book used it as a backdrop for the feature is a bit of a mystery in itself.

Here's the complete first issue after the big revamp:










With the revamp I'm still flabbergasted that it never seemed to occur to these folks to make some really creative use of the invisible color process. Howzabout a feature where the text is all hidden, and you have to wet it to find out what the characters say? How about a puzzle feature that depends on the locations of colored objects? This isn't that hard fellas!

Well, for them evidently it was too hard. But at least they'd revamped the section to offer some semblance of entertainment, some small payoff to linger after the joy of wetting newsprint has worn off.

The Danny Dees lasted only three weeks and was replaced by Fatty Spilliker. The rest of the features ran through to what seems to be the end of the secton on April 1 1923. Online I can only find one paper, the Buffalo Times, that soldiered on to the end. Even the Boston Globe, sire of three features in the section, only ran two pages of the section at the end -- their two strips.

That was the end of the Invisible Color Book. The Invisible Color Print Corporation went back to using the invention primarily for store promotions and contests, like the one below, but these mentions peter out in newspapers after about 1926.


Unsolved Mysteries:

* Who is this Bob H. who did a lot of work for the section? Only cartoonist fitting that name I can come up with is Robert (Bob) Hines, and he's too young. There's also Robert N. Holcomb, but I have no biographical data on him to make this even guess-worthy.

* Is Garde / Gardie / Gordie really Chester I. Garde? I have my doubts. Although this  cartoonist does pop up in unusual places, he never seemed modest about giving his name, and never used a signature anything like the one used in this section.

* "Marshall Ladd" has a lovely style, and you'd think the artist would be proud enough of his work in the section to offer his real name. But I can't find anything written about him, and there's also this "Ladd F. Morse" person in the section, making me think we've got one guy who's just throwing around nonsense names. Anyone heard of him? Before anyone throws out the name "Wesley Morse", I have to put in my art-spotting two cents that I don't think Mr. Morse could have created those lovely Bingville pages.



Comments:
I am burning with curiosity to know what a colored page using this system looked like. The results on the water-activated coloring books we bought the kids 20 years ago were pretty bad...plus the colored spots were visible as large dots on the page before water was applied.
 
Young Harry Lillis Crosby in Spokane was a fan of THE BINGVILLE BUGLE, so much so that his nickname soon became Bing!
 
Hi Smurfswacker -- Try searching for "invisible color" under Collectibles on eBay. Several of the bread promo cards are there right now, some have evidently been 'painted'. The color looks pretty good. Harder to find would be ones that definitely were not painted. Even those on eBay that don't have vibrant colors do still seem to be tinted.

--Allan
 
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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

 

World Color Printing's Invisible Color Book (Part 1)

On an old blog post about World Color Printing a new comment recently showed up from Bob Harris. Harris mentions that WCP did a short-lived special section called the Invisible Color Book. I vaguely recalled seeing a few of those and thinking that I needed to look into their story a little farther. This message gave me the kick in the pants to get that done. 

Here's the Invisible Color Book idea: you open your Sunday paper to find a seemingly black and white tabloid section filled with drawings. According to the instructions, if you apply water to the paper it will bloom forth in four color splendor. Is it the most earth-shattering idea to come around the pike? No. Inks that require activation to appear had been used for newspaper stunt pieces before this. What's new here, I think, is that the concept works with the full four color palette (I think earlier versions were a single color of 'invisible ink') and the idea of doing a weekly kid's section composed this way was something new.

A description of the process makes it just seem like it is making the reader work to get what could just as well have been printed in normal inks. But kids don't think like adults. Imagine a kid wetting a brush and pretending that they are a great artist, beautifully and masterfully coloring those black and white pictures. Okay, maybe it's not going to replace Nintendo, but in the 1920s kids were a little easier to please. I can definitely see them getting a kick out of it.

According to the ubiquitous notifications all over the Invisible Color Books, the special process was patented on July 12 1921. Bob Harris used that date to find it was patent #1384663, issued to Joseph A. Imhof of the Invisible Color Print Corporation.

Before the Invisible Color Book debuted in 1922, Imhof had already marketed his innovation in a different venue. Very shortly after the patent date, various bread companies began advertising that they were including an Invisible Color print in each loaf of their bread. It seems like a nice promo, and quite a few local bread companies bit on it, but they also seemed to tire of it quickly. By 1922 the ads for this promo were already petering out.

Maybe World Color Printing had done the production work on those bread promos, maybe not. But they were evidently interested in exploiting the technology. On March 26 1922, WCP in association with Invisible Color Print Corp. debuted the Invisible Color Book in a very healthy number of prominent newspapers following a blizzard of promos the week before.

Invisible Color Book full page promo, Buffalo Times


Unfortunately, the material chosen for the new section was a collection of mostly storybook-type illustrations, none of them drawn particularly well, and there really wasn't anything innovative at all done with the invisible ink process. Look at picture in black ink, give it a watering, look at it in color. Kinda ho hum. Here's all eight pages of the first issue:









It seems very odd to me that World Color Printing didn't call on any of their regular cartoonists to jazz this thing up. Imagine what fun it would be to have a Slim Jim strip in which revealing the colors is an integral part of the story!

The artists used by the Invisible Color Book mostly seemed embarrassed to be there for some reason. Many illustrations were unsigned, and many others offer inscrutable monikers --- Bob H., Win, Tan and Peggie for instance would do quite a bit of the work. Then there is this interesting pair of contributor names: Marshall Ladd and Ladd F. Morse. Who knows what that pair of pseudonyms was trying to hide. The only likely non-pseudonym I find is Garde, who I assume is Chester I. Garde. Even he started trying to hide after a few months, changing his signature to look like 'Gordie'.

As the weeks went by, the section only looked more slipshod and dashed off. No innovations, just more fairytale scenes and paper doll cutouts. (By the way, paper dolls seem like a very odd choice for an activity considering that kids have to get the paper wet -- you want them to cut out those damp wrinkly things?) In less that six months most of those big newspaper clients had soured on the Invisible Color Book and cancelled it. Obviously the section needed to be revamped to save it. We'll cover that tomorrow. See you then!

Comments:
A promo for the book, when it ran in Utica, NY (Utica Observer-Dispatch, 1 August 1922) has a drawing of a boy and girl watchiing a mob of clowns and funny animals approaching them, drawn, and signed by Lyman Young. Can we assume he might have been one of the contributors to the book itself?
 
I haven't seen that promo, but I've looked through all issues of the Invisible Color Book and did not find his signature. --Allan
 
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Monday, March 11, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Brandford


Edward Joscelyn Brandford was born on August 17, 1905 in Richmond, Saint Mary, Jamaica according to the Jamaica Civil Registration Birth Record at Ancestry.com. His parents were Luther Brandford and Edith Young. Brandford filed a Petition for Naturalization, on May 14, 1940, and said he was born at Highgate.

On April 10, 1924, Brandford was a passenger on the steamship Tivives when it departed Kingston, Jamaica. He arrived in the port of New York City on April 15. The passenger list said his occupation was clerk. His final destination was New Rochelle, New York where his aunt, Miss E. Milbourne, resided at 170 Elm Street.

Brandford was profiled in the April–June 1947 issue of Opportunity which said “In Jamaica he had been apprenticed to a British academician, with whom he studied painting. He had also taken a correspondence course from an American art school…..”

Brandford was also profiled in The Crisis, January 1947.

After completing the course, he felt he was ready to apply for a job, so he approached the firm that was then Doubleday, Doran & Co., in the hope of getting employment as a commercial artist. “As I look back now,” he said, “I still can’t understand why they didn’t throw me out bodily along with my very amateurish drawings. Instead, they were most kind and told me I should study some more and work very hard.”
On January 31, 1929, Brandford and “Thelma O'Conahan” obtained a marriage license in Manhattan, New York City as recorded at the New York, New York, Marriage License Index at Ancestry.com. The New York, New York, Extracted Marriage Index said Brandford and “Thelma L Conohan” married on February 3, 1929 in Manhattan.

The 1930 census said the couple lived in Manhattan at 258 West 117th Street. Brandford was employed as a shipping clerk.

Opportunity said Brandford worked as an elevator operator, messenger and factory hand to earn enough money for tuition at Cooper Union where he graduated in 1930.

Brandford’s work was included in the Harmon Foundation’s An Exhibition of Work by Negro Artists, at the Art Center, February 20 to March 4, 1933.

Edward Joscelyn Brandford, New York—Born 1905 in Jamaica, B. W. I., and came here in 1924. Worked in lampshade factory; financed his study at the Barile School and Cooper Union as elevator operator. Had one man show at 135th Street Branch of New York Public Library. Work shown in Harmon Exhibit of 1931.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (New York), February 15, 1931, said the judges for the Harmon Award and exhibition, at the Art Center, awarded an honorable mention to Brandford, 1031 E. 217th St., New York, for his “Broken Toys” painting. This painting, according to the Pittsburgh Courier, December 18, 1931, was included in the Harmon Foundation’s traveling exhibition of Black artists at the Spooner-Thayer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas. The next stop was the Milwaukee Art Institute as reported by the Milwaukee Journal, January 10, 1932.

In 1932 Brandford wrote about the Black artists for the newspaper, New York Age. On June 25, 1932 the paper announced the following.

The New York Age is pleased to announce the addition of Edward J. Brandford to its staff as cartoonist and artist, and will present in the near future an original comic strip by Mr. Brandford. Mr. Brandford will head the newly established art department.
A graduate of Cooper Union, Mr. Brandford has also studied under Xavier J. Barile, well known artist. Last year, this rising young artist presented an independent showing of his works at the West 135th Street Public Library and received favorable comment by critics.

Competing for the Harmon Award, his exhibition at the Art Center, 65 East 56th Street, won honorable mention for him with his study of “Broken Toys” and his work has been on tour since with the exhibition for the past year.
Versatile in his work, Mr. Brandford has done commercial work—in label designs, layouts and advertising—and his work in color is just as fascinating as his black and white illustrations and cartoons.
Brandford drew editorial cartoons from July 9, 1932 to May 5, 1934. On July 16, 1932 Brandford’s comic strip Sam debuted and ended on May 19, 1934.





Brandford was included in the Harmon Foundation publication Negro Artists: An Illustrated Review of Their Achievements (1935).

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Brandford created two series for the International Negro Press. With writer Rosie Nelson, Brandford drew Food for Thought from June 30 to August 26, 1936. His second feature was The Jones Family which ran from August 4 to 26, 1936.

In The Crisis, Brandford said “Since the city was full of unemployed artists I thought I’d try my hand as a freelance cartoonist. I soon discovered that being a cartoonist involves more than originating a funny situation and thinking up a gag line to go with it. Besides, every other artist out of a job was tryig [sic] the same thing. So, I had to give up that idea.”

Brandford was hired at the Burland Printing Company which handled the printing and advertising accounts of several New York business firms. The exposure to commercial art influenced his decision to pursue a career in this field. Brandford went on to learn lithography at Lutz and Sheinkman Corporation.

The 1940 census recorded commercial artist Brandford, his wife, nine-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son in the Bronx, New York at 2700 Bronx Park East. 


On May 5, 1941 Brandford became a naturalized citizen.

Brandford’s freelance work grew steadily which included brochures, posters, publication design, book jacket, illustration and packaging design.

Brandford’s most well-known achievement was co-founding a Black modeling agency on July 30, 1946. A 1946 issue of Printers’ Ink published the following.

New Negro Model Agency to Appeal to All Markets
New York:—An all-Negro modeling agency that aims to appeal to both the Negro and the White markets has been formed here. Known as Brandford Models, Inc., the agency’s first step will be to supply models for products going solely to the Negro trade but will “eventually lead to the use of them in all markets,” according to Barbara Watson, one of the founders of the company.

The agency claims to have the first all-inclusive modeling school for Negroes Edward Brandford, commercial artist and president of the group, says, “All models are students, artists and writers, many of them working their way through school. I have been dreaming for years of a project like this where national advertisers can get copy befitting the Negro trade. Negroes represent vast spending power in America (according to latest figures, population-wise, the Negro market represents 10% of the entire American market) and yet never have had their wants or tastes consulted. Negro women, in their buying, never have had proper guidance, always have been neglected.”

Miss Watson explains that in the past famous Negro personalities and sketches have been used to illustrate ads with a Negro appeal. “But now our advertising can be brought to greater advantage by a full-time use of live models,” she stated.

Before the models can be used in a white market, “a subtle and non-flambuoyant [sic] promotion campaign must be pursued to point up the marketing advantages of a Negro model to sell merchandise to all color groups,” Miss Watson believes.

The third incorporator of the new modeling agency, which expects to get underway in “three or four weeks,” is Mary Louise Yabro, fashion editor of Our World. Offices are temporarily located at 55 W. 42 St.

A 1948 issue of Advertising & Selling noted Brandford’s agency expansion.
An outgrowth of his Negro model service, “Brandford Models,” Edward Brandford has established a new advertising agency at 107 West 43 St., New York, specializing in the $16 billion Negro market. The new agency offers complete facilities, including merchandising and public relations, art and production and model services.
New York Age, May 13, 1950, reported changes at Brandford Models, Inc.
Miss Barbara Watson, executive director of the Brandford Models, Inc., last week announced extensive plans for the well known agency following completion, of its reorganization. A stepped-up program of activities will include concentration on developing wider opportunity for Negro models in photographic and fashion work, she said.

Some consideration is also being given to changing the name of the agency in view of the withdrawal from the concern of Edward Brandford who, with Miss Watson, founded the corporation in 1946.

Fashioning Models: Image, Text and Industry (2012) said “By 1953, Brandford Models changed ownership and name to Barbara Watson Models, although the nomenclature 'Brandford Girls' continued to be used for pioneering African American models….”
 

New York Age, June 2, 1951, published an advertisement for “The Ed Brandford Mannequins”, “distinctively styled Negro Mannequins”.

The New York Amsterdam News, September 21, 1963, said Brandford was treasurer of the newly formed Kingston Technical Alumni Association in New York City.

The New York Amsterdam News, August 30, 1969, said Brandford conceived the production “Colorama USA”, a musical and fashion narrative “about the experiences of a young black girl in her quest for identity.” The goal was to raise funds for West Indian scholars. “Colorama USA” premiered September 6 at Town Hall, in New York City, and was scheduled to tour the Caribbean and Latin America.

Brandford passed away May 1980 in New York City.


Further Reading
Afro-American Artists: A Bio-bibliographical Directory
Madison Avenue and the Color Line: African Americans in the Advertising Industry



—Alex Jay

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Saturday, March 09, 2019

 

Herriman Saturday



December 11 1909 -- British suffragettes are rejoicing when Prime Minister Asquith makes a promise to take up their cause. Over the next few years cheers will turn to jeers, and violent confrontations in the street, when Asquith fails to deliver anything more than lip service to his pledge.

Unfortunately I can't make out what the women have written on the pavement, in spite of the newspaper's retoucher trying to make it more legible.

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Friday, March 08, 2019

 

Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson


Here's the very first card from the Detroit Publishing Gibson series, #14,000. As usual with the Gibsons in my collection, the card is unused but nonetheless quite rough around the edges. Veyr nice image, though, as befits the first in the series.

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Thursday, March 07, 2019

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bob Addams


1919 Passport

Robert Neff “Bob” Addams was born on November 14, 1874 in Woodbury, New Jersey according to the New Jersey Birth Index at Ancestry.com. His full name was on his World War I draft card. Addams’ parents were Wellington I. Addams and Sallie. Addams’ middle name was his mother’s maiden name.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Addams was the oldest of two sons. The family resided in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 33 Chelton Avenue. Addams’ father was a merchant. According to the Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, Volume 1 (1909), Addams’ father “went into business for himself as ‘W. I. Addams & Co., foreign and domestic woolens on commission,’ at No. 611 Chestnut street, Philadelphia.”

The Palm Beach Social Directory (1924) said Addams studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Club Men of Philadelphia (1894) said Addams was a member of the Germantown Cricket Club.

The 1896 Philadelphia city directory listed Addams as a student living with his parents at 60 Chelten Avenue in Germantown. The following year, Addams was an artist at the same address.

During the Spanish-American War, Addams was in the military service from April 27 to November 19, 1898 at Mount Gretna, Pennsylvania, followed by Newport News, Virginia and Puerto Rico. He was with the Pennsylvania Light Battery A and promoted to Gun Corporal in July.

The 1899 Philadelphia city directory said Addams had a studio at 904 Walnut.

In Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress (2014), Sara Duke said Addams worked for the Philadelphia Press in 1899.

In the 1900 directory Addams’ studio was at 1017 Chestnut and he continued to live with his parents. Addams was in the 1900 Social Register, Philadelphia.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Addams produced two series for the North American Syndicate. The first was New Zoology (March 16 to 30, 1902) then Zoo Animal Trip to the Moon (April 6 to 20, 1902). Wild Animals You've Never Met ran from August 18, 1907 to February 16, 1908 for the Philadelphia Press.

Addams’ fascination with animals, in this case reptiles, was noted in the Philadelphia Inquirer, August 13, 1905.

Speaking of python parties, “Bob” Addams, the illustrator, well-known in club and social circles in this city, once had two young pythons for models and they lived with him in his studio on Walnut street. They crawled in bed and slept with him on cold winter nights and festooned about the studio in various artistic serpentine attitudes for Mr. Addams to draw and study. The studio afternoon teas were quite popular until the advent of the young pythons. One morning one of them fell out of the window and a couple, of roisterers homeward bound in the glad dawn were nearly startled out of their wits when his snakeship hit the pavement in front of them. The fall did not seem to hurt the serpent. In African wilds his ancestors had dropped out of trees on to their prey, and probably it was this instinct that caused the python to drop on Walnut street.
Addams was a member of the Philadelphia Sketch Club. At a Sketch Club exhibition, the Inquirer, February 11, 1906, said “On the wall downstairs still riot the weird but well drawn and cleverly conceived animal drawings by Bob Addams, the well-known comic artist.”

In the late 1900s Addams was in New York City. Historical and Biographical Annals said “Robert N. Addams, better known as ‘Bob Addams,’ the caricature artist for ‘Life,’ ‘ Judge,’ and ‘Puck,’ made his home in New York and is well known both here and abroad.” The New York Tribune, January 19, 1910, said Addams lived at the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club.

For the New York World Addams drew Listen to the Birds from May 22 to August 17, 1908. Life Publishing Company syndicated Funny Birds which started with Walt Kuhn on April 22, 1912. When Addams took over the series, on December 28, 1912, it was retitled Feathers Family.

Addams marriage was noted in the  Inquirer, February 15, 1914.

Mrs. Fell’s Brother Weds
Mr. and Mrs. Francis M. King, of Boston, announce the marriage of Mrs. Anna King Rogers to Mr Robert Addams on January 13, Mr. Addams was formerly a Philadelphian and is a brother of Mrs. Robert Gratz Fell, of this city. He served in Battery A, during the Spanish War, and is an artist of distinction. Nr. and Mrs. Addams are spending the winter at Miami.

The Miami Herald, (Florida), March 13, 1914, detailed the marriage.
Queer Matrimonial Experience of a Brookline, Mass.’ Couple
Brookline, Mass., March 12.—The divorce of Mrs. H. Ernest Rogers, on January 12, her marriage two days later to Robert Addams, the well-known New York cartoonist, and the marriage two weeks after, of her former husband to a 17-year-old girl, of Calais, Maine, are the queer matrimonial experiences of one of Brookline’s best known couples, which became known yesterday, when letters were received in this city from Mrs. Addams, at Miami, Fla.

Mr. and Mrs. Rogers were divorced at Miami, Fla. Mr. and Mrs. Addams are spending their honeymoon at Miami on a houseboat, and not the least strange feature of the peculiar tangle of events, is that Rogers and his girl bride are now speeding by motor to Florida on their honeymoon to meet the others.

Rogers and Miss King, as was his first wife’s maiden name, were married about 15 years ago. They separated last April; Mrs. Rogers went to Miami, Fla, established a residence there and applied for a divorce, which was granted on January 12.

On January 13, a license was issued authorizing here marriage to Robert Addams, the cartoonist. On January 15 they were married by the same judge, who granted the divorce. Mr. and Mrs. Addams immediately started upon their honeymoon, upon an elaborate houseboat, which Addams had decorated with numerous drawings of roosters, his best known subject.

Rogers was in Calais, Maine, when the divorce was granted. Last summer he was at Bar Harbor, where he met Agnes Gertrude Dixon, the 17-year-old daughter of Walter L. Dixon, a Calais upholsterer. The girl’s mother maintains a millinery establishment at her home.

Upon receipt of news of his wife’s divorce Rogers applied for a license to marry Miss Dixon. They were married on February 5th by the Rev. George W. Dawson, pastor of the Methodist church of St. Stephens, New Brunswick.

After the ceremony they started on [illegible] to Florida.

The 1918 Palm Beach, Florida city directory listed Addams’ address as “Houseboat Ubadamn & Philadelphia Pa”. He and his wife had an artists studio.

On September 12, 1918 Addams signed his World War I draft card. His address was houseboat “Ubadam” in Miami. The cartoonist was employed by “County[?] Public Information” in Washington, DC.

Addams applied for a passport on September 27, 1919 to visit the Bahamas and Cuba. The application included a notarized letter from his mother attesting to his birth, and Addams’ letter stating that he and his wife were “artists making a specialty of designs & paintings [illegible] fish.”

The Miami Herald, February 1, 1920, noted the sale of Addams’ houseboat.

Mr. and Mrs. Radclyffe Roberts of Villa Nova have taken their houseboat Cashalot from the Hotel Plaza dock to Palm Beach. The houseboat was formerly the Ubadamn and was purchased recently by the Roberts from Bob Addams.
On March 15, 1920, the couple arrived in Miami from the British West Indies.

Palm Beach city directories for 1924 and 1925 list Addams at Lake Trail North.

In the second half of the 1920s, Addams lived at 212 Worth Avenue which was his address into the early 1940s. Addams became a salesman and, at some point, moved to 160 Chilean Avenue.

A History of the Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida, 1936 to 1996, said Addams attended the first meeting of the Civic Arts Association.

Details of Addams’ passing have not been found. The Palm Beach Post, November 22, 1951, published an estate notice, apparently the last of four notices, that named his wife, Anna King Addams, as the executrix.

When Anna passed away the Post, August 12, 1967, said, in part, “Mrs. Anna King Addams, 83, of 160 Chilean Ave., Palm Beach, and Boothbay Harbor, Me., died Tuesday in Harkness Pavilion, New York City. A long time resident of Palm Beach, she was the widow of Robert Neff Addams who died in Maine in 1951….” 



—Alex Jay

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Wednesday, March 06, 2019

 

Obscurity of the Day: Unnatural History Lessons for Young People and Prize Fighters


Cole Johnson sent me the scan* above many moons ago, and it has languished in my "to be researched" pile for years. Obviously being an alphabet it should have had additional appearances past this first one in the New York Journal on January 30 1898, but neither Cole nor I were in possession of other samples.

When I finally decided to tackle it today, I was delighted to find that the information for Unnatural History Lessons for Young People and Prize Fighters was right here on the interwebs, patiently awaiting me! First I checked the Ohio State University Bill Blackbeard collection, which offers very thorough lists of the features to be found in his many 19th century comic sections. I found that they had a complete run of Journals from this part of 1898, and that there was a second installment of the series that ran on February 6, but no additional ones in subsequent issues. That second installment was like the first in that it was uncredited.

Next I followed a Google search that amazingly allowed me to see that second installment, which had been shared on A Blog of Bosh - Edward Lear and Nonsense Literature. That showed me that the alphabet only made it to L in that second installment. I wonder what happened to the rest of it? How very odd that it was either not produced or the Journal didn't bother running it.

That leaves only one missing piece of data. Who penned this delightful comicus interruptus? Cole Johnson offers the very likely answer. He said that the cartoonist almost had to be Bob Addams, who not only drew like this, but also specialized in these sorts of fanciful animal series. You can see two of them here on the blog: The New Zoology and Wild Animals You've Never Met. A quick look at those samples will convince even the most skeptical that Bob Addams is our guy. QED!


* actually it was two scans as the alphabet extended across two pages in a single-row spread - I have taken the liberty to rearrange it as one scan, stacked in two rows.

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Comments:
Bob Adams described himself as a "Nature Faker", a term originally used for those who ascribed human concepts such as love, reason, and pity to the animal kingdom. The term became more loosly applied, even to Teddy Roosevelt, whose critics called him a Nature Faker because they regarded him as a bloodthirsty killer of animals on his famous safaris, rather than the lover of wildlife he presented himself as.
Adams took the title with his literal faking of nature. Of course, make-believe animals for entertainment goes back to P.T. Barnum, and more seriously, ancient mythologies.
I recollect a one-panel daily cartoon of about 1919 vintage where a new faux critter was seen, by himself, with a caption explaining what he was. I haven't seen it in many years, I think it had a title like "Whotzit" or Whoozit". Don't remember author or syndicate. Ring any bells?
 
Only thing that springs to mind is "Who's Zoo" from the 20's (and a former obscurity of the day) but I'm sure you have something else in mind.

--Allan
 
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