Herbert Morton Stoops was born in Parowan, Utah on May 28, 1887. His place of birth was recorded on his World War I draft card and on two passenger ship lists at Ancestry.com. The year of his birth was recorded as 1887 in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census and his World War II draft card. His first World War draft card had the year 1888. The Presbyterian Ministerial Directory, 1898 recorded the Stoops family living in Salina, Utah as late as 1892. The date of their move to Idaho is not known.
In the 1900 census, Stoops was the oldest of five children born to Philip Dexter Stoops and Eliza (Lila G. Morton). His father, a ranch employee, was doing home missionary work in Utah since 1881, according to the Biographical Record of the Alumni of Amherst College, 1821- (1901). The family lived in Kilgore, Idaho. Some time after the census, his mother moved the children to Logan, Utah. The Salt Lake Herald (Utah) reported, on May 12, 1903, that Stoops had graduated from the New Jersey academy of Logan. The budding cartoonist was noted in the Deseret Evening News (Utah) on November 28, 1903, "Prof. Stutterd…is…developing a cartoonist in the person of Herbert Stoops. Some very credible work from the pen of Mr. Stoops appeared in the last issue of Student Life."
On June 9, 1906, the Logan Republican said, "…Stoops, who has been one of The Republican force between college hours, left for the Stoops ranch in Idaho yesterday." The Ogden Standard Examiner (Utah) reported in its October 15, 1922 edition, "Herbert Stoops received his early art training at the Utah Agriculture college where he showed marked ability while still a boy. At this time his talent was so noticeable that he daily attracted groups of students to the studios to watch him work." (The college was renamed Utah State University in 1957.) The Republican edition of November 27, 1907 reported:
Herbert M. Stoops leaves today for San Francisco, where he will probably be employed by the Pacific Construction Co., with which Mark Pendleton, formerly of Logan, is now associated. Young Stoops, who undoubtably has marked ability as a cartoonist, goes to San Francisco that he may have opportunity to attend an art school there at spare times. He is a fine young fellow with many friends here who wish him well.
An update was published on December 7, "Herbert Stoops is located at Berkeley, Cal., rather than San Francisco as originally intended. He is employed in a book store, attends a night school for art students, and is living with the Stovers, formerly of this city." It continued to chart his progress in this March 14, 1908 report.
Herbert M. Stoops, formerly of Logan and the "Student Life" staff, is doing things out in San Francisco, where he spent last fall. In recent issues of The Bulletin, one of the Golden Gate city's big papers, he has had two cartoons, and just other day came near winning a big prize offered for the best cartoon welcoming the fleet of battleships soon to arrive there [you've read about this event in our Herriman Saturdays as well -- Allan]. Out of ninety cartoons submitted, twelve were considered very satisfactory and of these one was by our own Herbert M. Stoops. A closer grading than this is sufficient to show that the confidence and expectations of Herbert's friends is not misplaced. Some day Logan will be glad to say that she know Stoops.
His first newspaper staff job, in California, was with The Call (San Francisco), beginning sometime in 1908. The front page, of the September 2, 1908 issue, of The Call published his photographs; the caption credit said, "Photos by Artist H.M. Stoops of The Call staff." On November 21, 1909, The Call's art reviewer wrote:
Too much can not be said in praise of the annual newspaper artist's exhibition now going on in the red room of the St. Francis. In many respects it is the most interesting of the year not only because of the divers talent displayed, but also because of the wide range and scope of subject and of style done in pencil and brush, in water color or oils, in pastel or charcoal as the fancy of the artist suggested. Nearly all of the local newspaper artists are included in the list of exhibitors, among them being T. Langguth, Walter Francis, S.C. Armstrong, M. Lustig, M. Del Mue, Lafayette Houchin, G.C. Stanton, J.A. Cahill, Leroy Ripley [Robert "Believe It or Not" Ripley], A.L Scherzer, Herbert M. Stoops, Ray C. Schulmann, Randal William Borough, John C. Terry, Paul Terry, V. Nahl, J.H. Litchfield, Stanley F. McNeill, Dan Sweeney, Percy Gray, M. Spero, W.R. de Lappe, Sylvan Schuhl, L.J. Rogers, H.R. Chapin, G.A. Bronstrup, R.C. Westover [Russ "Tillie the Toiler" Westover] and F.O. Fleming.
Stoops was counted twice in the 1910 census. He "lived" with his mother and siblings in Logan, Utah at 126 South Second East. He was an artist at a newspaper. The whereabouts of his father has not been determined. In San Francisco, California Stoops was a lodger at 428 Broderick Street; he worked as a newspaper artist. The Arts Magazine (Volume 22, 1947) obituary said, "…he worked as feature artist on the Morning Call and later joined the Examiner, along with Maynard Dixon and Harry Raleigh." The Society of illustrators named the San Francisco Chronicle as one of his employers in 1910, but that seems unlikely, in my opinion.
Stoops provided art for a Valentine's Day card produced by the Paul Elder & Company. The Call, January 29, 1911 said, "Cupid will be featured in a biplane…One of the prettiest designs…depicts the winged messenger of love as an aviator bearing a captivating young miss as a passenger…." Later that year on June 20, The Call published his cartoon on law breaking at beach resorts. He was one of several artists to do the local strip Alonzo; his stint was in 1912 from June to September. When Stoops worked at the San Francisco Examiner has not been determined.
There are two different dates for his move to Chicago. He moved in 1914, according to the Society of Illustrators, "where he took classes at the Art Institute while working as a staff artist for the Chicago Tribune." Arts Magazine said, "In 1916 he became part of that great Chicago group that included, among others, McClelland Barclay, Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur." In American Art Analog: 1874-1930, Michael David Zellman said 1916 was the year Stoops moved. He signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. He lived at 4950 Kenmore Avenue and worked as an artist for the Daily Tribune. His description was medium height and build with blue eyes and light brown hair. The Society of Illustrators said, "…the…artist enlisted in the Army, serving in France as First Lieutenant in the Sixth Field Artillery of the First Division. Stoops sent drawings from his sketchbook back to the home front…."
Seattle Daily Times 7/3/1918
Rocky Mountain Weekly News 7/18/1918
[Stoops caption] "To two of the three musketeers of the western front—the Englishman and the Frenchman (to whom the war is familiar)—the landscape is flat and the sky uninteresting save when dotted with aircraft; but to the third—the Yank‚every battered landmark spells history, and the heavens above France sing of the romance of the sky."
Seattle Daily Times 10/7/1918
[caption] The doughboys, in their event rushes "over the top," shouted this slogan, singularly free from cant or hypocrisy. Mr. Stoops, who drew this vivid sketch, is a Chicago newspaper artist who went to the front. He was wounded in action.
Stoops also contributed a patch design as reported in The Progress (Clearfield, Pennsylvania) on September 29, 1955:
Brash Young Man Gave 'Big Red One' Its Patch
Fort Riley, Kan.—A brash young lieutenant of World War I artillery is responsible for the present shoulder patch of the First Infantry Division, rotated here from Germany under Operation Gyroscope—the "BIG RED ONE" on the olive-drab background.
The World War I version of this patch has the same color combination but the numeral, worn on the left sleeve, extended from the shoulder almost to the elbow.
Lieutenant Herbert Stoops of Battery C, Sixth Field Artillery, saw the oversized numeral on his commanding officer's shoulder and remarked that it looked like the colonel's red underwear showing through a wire-rip.
The colonel had a sense of humor and gave his junior officer no rebuke other than to tell him to come with a better design—or shut up. The lieutenant did.
Clipping a piece of red piping from a German infantry officer's cap, he fashioned a "one" and placed it against the gray mass of the cap. The design was approved with the substitution of olive drab for the German gray. The only source of the gray cloth would be German uniforms and no one imagined that Germans were going to surrender just to provide First Division patches.
The division's distinctive emblem was officially recognized on October 28, 1918. However, the first "members" of the outfit to wear the "BIG RED ONE" were the trucks, not the men. In February, 1918, some unknown doughboy put the numerals there to distinguish U.S. Army from British vehicles in the same area.
The Society of Illustrators said, "After the war, Stoops moved to New York City and married Elise Borough. Under the tutelage of Harvey Dunn, Stoops applied his early experiences to canvas and paper, becoming one of the most sought-after illustrators of his day. By the early '20s, oils by Stoops were featured in Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping alongside the works of illustration giants. He began painting covers for The American Legion Magazine, a publication for which he would work constantly in the years to come." Stoops has not been found in the 1920 census. In January 1925 Stoops and his wife returned from Bermuda. The passenger list recorded their New York City address as 10 East 9th Street. His mother passed away on September 23, 1925. On the same day, a death notice was published in the Oakland Tribune. She was survived by her husband and five children. The Amherst Graduates' Quarterly (Volume 16, 1926) noted the whereabouts of his father, "Philip Dexter Stoops, whose name has for some years been unaccountably omitted from the Address List, is living at Mason's Island, Mystic, Conn." The date of his death is not known.
In the 1930 census, Stoops and his wife lived in Manhattan, New York City at 42 Barrow Street, in Greenwich Village. He was a freelance illustrator. In The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000 (2001), Walt Reed wrote:
After the [first world] war, Stoops began his illustration career and his association with Blue Book. He did not confine himself to those pages alone; he illustrated for Collier's, This Week, Cosmopolitan, and many others, as well as painting for exhibition. His picture. "Anno Domini." won the Isador Medal at the National Academy Exhibition in 1940.
Stoops served as president of the Artists Guild in New York, was a member of the Salmagundi Club, the Society of Illustrators, The American Artists Professional League, and highly prized his honorary membership in the New York Association of Veterans of the French Foreign Legion.
Stoops' drawings and paintings were exhibited in the Society of Mystic Artists exhibitions in Mystic, Connecticut, where his father once lived. The Springfield Republican (Massachusetts), on August 31, 1941, wrote, "Herbert M. Stoops presents a powerful portrayal of human misery in war called 'Current History.' " On August 2, 1942, the Republican said, " 'Chalk Cliffs,' by Herbert M. Stoops, is a dignified and decorative record of watchers against a searchlight-sprayed night sky." He signed his World War II draft card on April 25, 1942. The self-employed artist lived at 42 Barrow Street in New York City. His description was "5'9", 160 [lbs]" with blue eyes and gray hair. "During World War II he did several posters for the office of War Information," according to the Society of Illustrators. Stoops passed away at his Greenwich Village home on May 19, 1948. The New York Times reported his death the next day.
More profiles can be read at AskArt.com, Pulp Artists (photo of Stoops), and Arts Magazine. In American Illustration, 1890-1925: Romance, Adventure & Suspense (1986), Judy L. Larson wrote, "He signed his work either 'Raymond Sisley' or 'Jeremy Cannon.' "
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