Friday, March 07, 2008
Obscurity of the Day: The Country School
1898 was a busy year for Richard Outcault. After spending 1897 at the New York Journal he spent the new year jumping back and forth between Hearst and Pulitzer no less than four times. Somehow in the midst of all this paper-hopping Outcault found time to strike out in a completely different direction, having two series printed in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The samples above are from the first series, originally titled The Country School but later renamed for the sometime main character, Johnny Jones. Later in the year another series, titled The Barnyard Club, also ran in the Inquirer. The Country School ran from January 2 to February 20 1898.
Although the only paper known to have printed these series is the Inquirer, Outcault may have been trying to syndicate them to other papers -- there's a rumor that a Pittsburgh paper also ran the series. Also interesting is the copyright on the feature, to "Connor & Outcault". Who is this Connor? No one seems to know. I checked my newspaper histories and can't find a likely Connor that might fit the bill.
Thanks very much to Cole Johnson who supplied me with a beautiful sharp set of photocopies of this series (twice since the first set got lost in the mail!).
Sometimes i have also a look to auction galleries. Resntly id found a rare treasure, that sold for $25.300.00 by Heritage. It shows a beatiful hand-colored comic strip from Outcault,with the Kid and Buster Brown together in one strip. Do you know this?
Id wrote a small article about it.
By clicking the picture on my blog you go to this page.
In the description is a hint of collectively four strips with this crossover. Do you know something about the other three onepager?
And (with a look on the clock :) another question. Do you know something about a recommendable biography about Outcault? In germany its very hart to find something about this theme. Perhaps you can give me a tip.
As for a bio of Outcault, I think the closest thing we have is Bill Blackbeard's "R.F. Outcault's The Yellow Kid".
Sara W. Duke
Curator, Popular & Applied Graphic Art
Prints & Photographs Division
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-4730