Monday, August 31, 2009


News of Yore 1905: Mad Cartoonist Succumbs

[I was planning an altogether different post today until I received an email from a reader asking for the date Louis Dalyrmple died. In finding that information I stumbled upon quite a story. Here it is. This first article was printed in the Washington Post on November 26 1905.]

Dalrymple Insane
Cartoonist Found Wandering in Street and Removed to Sanitarium

New York - Louis Dalrymple, the cartoonist, whose wife is a Baltimore woman, was removed from his home at 138 East Twenty-ninth Street this afternoon to a Long Island sanitarium. He is said to be violently insane, and small hope is given of his recovery. His condition had given much anxiety to his friends for several weeks. He brooded, they say, over the troubles caused by his divorce from his first wife, formerly Miss Letitia Carpenter, of Brooklyn. He became violent to-day, and was found wandering in the street near his home.

Dalrymple was married to Miss Carpenter about fifteen years ago, at the time when his work was making him well known to the public. Shortly after the marriage Mrs. Dalrymple obtained a divorce. The court denied Dalrymple the right to marry again in this State and awarded $75 a week alimony to his wife.

Seven years later Dalrymple married Miss Ann Good, of Baltimore. The wedding took place in New Jersey. He moved to Greenwich, Conn. In the years that followed he worked at different times for papers in Chicago, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Then he drifted back to New York. He had become prey to all kinds of hallucinations, and was so changed that his friends hardly knew him.

[The Cumberland Evening Times supplied a far more lurid account on January 1, 1906, accompanying Dalrymple's death notice, obviously drawing from the same source as the Post's November story. Notice, though, how many details differ. Not a good day for journalistic accuracy.]

A Cartoonist Gone Insane

Becomes Violent and is Taken to an Asylum
Little Hope of Recovery
Exiled from New York by Alimony Tangle -- Could Not Exist Away from Broadway -- Lost His Mind Through Worry Over Marital Troubles

Louis Dalrymple, one of the most famous cartoonists in America, has been taken to a sanitarium on Long Island. He is insane, probably hopelessly.

For weeks the noted artist's condition has been a source of grief to his friends. Early this week he became violent. Recently he was found in a frenzy, chasing children about the streets in the neighborhood.

Those who knew Louis Dalrymple's story are convinced that marital troubles affected his mind. Alimony demands were made upon his income through a divorce suit and he brooded over an enforced exile from New York and an ever-growing desire to return here.

About fifteen years ago Dalrymple, then forging to the front as a cartoonist for Puck, married Miss Letia Carpenter, a pretty brunette of Brooklyn. Their life together was not happy. The wife obtained a divorce on statutory grounds. By the terms of the decree she was awarded their handsome home on Madison street, Brooklyn, where she still lives.

The court denied the husband the right to marry again in this state, and ordered him to pay his wife $75 a month in weekly installments.

Seven years later Dalrymple met Miss Mary Ann Good, an exceedingly attractive young woman, belonging to a good Baltimore family, who had come to New York on a visit. He eloped with her to Jersey, and they were married there.

But Dalrymple was compelled to go on paying his former wife $75 a month as long as he lived within the jurisdiction of the state courts. He finally decided to leave New York.

Mr. and Mrs. Dalrymple moved to Greenwich, Conn. where he contributed to Judge and other comic publications, sending his copy in by mail. He used to slip into New York on Sunday, when process-servers were powerless and sheriff's officers could not nab him.

The Sunday visits only added to his desire to return to this city. He resolved to put a good stretch of continent between him and the temptation. In turn he was employed on the staff of the Philadelphia Press, the Baltimore News, the Pittsburg Dispatch and the Chicago Tribune. But a demon of unrest kept driving him on -- he couldn't get settled and be satisfied anywhere. It was a wander-lust which fed on his brain.

A few weeks ago the Dalrymples came back to town and took lodgings in Twenty-ninth street.

"Not even the fear of Ludlow street jail can keep me away," the big artist told his friends. "Good old Broadway kept calling me, and I had to come."

The friends noticed a change in him. Dalrymple, once one of the handsomest men in New York, was thin to emaciation. He was painfully nervous. He wandered in his speech.

These things kept growing worse. He imagined that Tammany workers had drugged him on the night before election, and he threatened to kill Mayor McClellan. He was found sketching himself while looking in a mirror in the lobby of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. His antics necessitated his forcible removal from the Waldorf-Astoria. Later he became violent.

The physicians hold out little hope of recovery for the talented cartoonist, who in his day had made millions laugh.

[...and finally the death notice, this one from the New York Times of December 29, 1905. Notice that we now have three different first names for his first wife! Paresis, a partial paralysis of the limbs, was in these days a common euphemism for syphilis.]

Death List Of A Day -- Louis Dalrymple

Louis Dalrymple, the cartoonist, died on Wednesday night in the Long Island Home, at Amityville, after having been in a stupor for nearly three weeks. Death was the result of acute paresis, the symptoms of which were unsuspected until three months ago.

About fifteen years ago Dalrymple's political cartoons were a feature of Puck. About that time he married Miss Lelia Carpenter of Brooklyn. She later sued for a divorce, which was granted. Afterward Dalrymple married Miss Ann Good of Baltimore and left the State. His cartoons were seen successively in Chicago, Philadelphia and Pittsburg papers. Last summer he returned to this city, and soon after that showed signs of nervous disorder. His wife had him removed to the sanitarium.

Mr. Dalrymple was 42 years aold. He was bron at Cambridge, Ill. and came to this city to study art when 16 years old. He will be buried in Baltimore.


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