Friday, November 04, 2011
Ink-Slinger Profiles: Russell Patterson
Who Was Who in America with World Notables (1981) named his parents, William Francis and Kathleen, and said he was a student at St. Patricks School in Montreal, Canada. In Comic Art in America (1959) Stephen D. Becker said Patterson's father:
…would not pay for art courses, but would support his son in the study of architecture. The result was one year at McGill University; Patterson had to leave and go out on his own when a hotel owned by his father burned to the ground. He got a job promptly, taking ads over the counter for the Montreal Star. A staff artist tipped him off to an opening in the sports department with a new weekly, The Standard. Patterson got the job, and was fired almost immediately for turning in too much material and managing to get it printed under the noses of the editors. Patterson took his work to one of the city's French newspapers, La Patrie. They liked it and offered him seventeen dollars a week. As a staffer he did a strip in French called Pierre et Pierrette….
In 1914 he moved to Chicago. Who Was Who said Patterson was a student at the Fine Arts Academy, and Art Institute. He signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. He was a self-employed artist at "1517 North American Building", and named his mother and an aunt as his nearest relatives. According to the card, he served in the Canadian military for three years with the rank of corporal in the artillery. His description was medium height and build with blue eyes and brown hair. Who Was Who said he "served in Royal Canadian Air Force." Comic Art in America said, "After an abortive attempt to join the Canadian Army in 1914—his father and brother went overseas with the first Canadian troops—Patterson went to Chicago, arriving with eight dollars…."
He married Constance Burke in 1918, according to Who Was Who. However, the Missouri Marriage Records at Ancestry.com recorded their marriage in Jackson County on June 28, 1919. On the application her name was "Mary C. Burke" and the same age, 26, as Patterson. (Actually, he was 25 at the time. A "Constance Burk" was found in the 1900 census and her birth date was recorded as "Oct 1891".)
Advertising Arts & Crafts (1926) had this address and telephone listing, "Patterson, Russell, 22 West 49th, Bry 5976". His Runaway Ruth was published in 1929.
The 1930 census recorded Patterson, his wife and daughter Elinor in Manhattan, New York City at 2 West 67 Street. His occupation was artist. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported his financial troubles on June 2, 1935.
Seventeen of the 129 creditors listed were doctors. The largest individual debt was a judgment for $3,532 held by Gates & Morand, Inc., 220 W. 42d St., Manhattan, on a note issued to Ballyhoo Productions, Inc. Patterson was one of five endorsers of the note.
Ballyhoo was a humor magazine -- apparently Patterson had a stake in it.
In the early 1930s Patterson offered advice to a young E. Simms Campbell. Patterson designed sets and costumes for Fox and Paramount Pictures, including "The Gang's All Here," 1931, "Hold Your Horses," 1933, and "Fools Rush In," 1934. He designed Shirley Temple's wardroom in her first picture, "Baby Takes a Bow". He also did sets and costumes for Florenz Ziegfeld's "Follies" and George White's 'Scandals". His work with marionettes was featured in Popular Science (October 1937), and Popular Mechanics (April 1938). Interest in Patterson's marionettes was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) on November 2, 1937.
The date of his divorce from Constance is not known. Who Was Who said his second marriage was to Ruth Cleary, a pianist, on August 13, 1938; later, they had a daughter, Russelle. He was one of ten cartoonists and illustrators featured in a Schlitz beer ad published in Life on March 27, 1939.
Comic Art in America said
In 1940 I.J. Fox asked him to design that season's coats; later Macy's called, and he did Christmas-toy windows for five years. Again, he had all the advertising work he could handle. Even the war was no deterrent to him: he designed the WAC [Women's Army Corps] uniforms. He did the interior work on fifteen trains for the Western Pacific; he designed hotel lobbies, decorated restaurants, and in his spare time did a few Sunday pages for metropolitan newspapers, a chore he dropped in 1956.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
The snipe mentions Macy's window work in 1939.
My name is Theresa and I have in my possession a framed napkin, original artwork done in watercolor by Russell Patterson to Actress/Singer/entertainer Lillian Roth stating" Thanks for the Notice at the Banshee Lunch...Russell Patterson"
I live in Florida