Saturday, March 19, 2011
Labels: Herriman's LA Examiner Cartoons
Friday, March 18, 2011
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: R. Edward Shellcope
|Possibly Shellcope's first Inquirer appearance, 9/1/1901|
Shellcope's first strip might be The First Silk Tie in Umboolaland, published in the Philadelphia Inquirer on September 1, 1901; it was signed, "R. Edw. Shellcope". Two more 1901 strips, November 10 and December 15, were signed the same way. In 1902 his signature changed to "Redw. Shellcope". His first series was The Interfering Idiot, published in 1902-03. It was soon followed by the series Jimmie the Messenger Boy, which began on May 3, 1903 and ended on July 6, 1913.
|The Interfering Idiot, 3/1/1903|
For a few years Shellcope was active in the National Guard. On September 26, 1909, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on one of the Guard's activities:
The members of Company D, First Infantry, have organized a minstrel troupe and are having a portable stage constructed, on which to give several performances in the company rooms during the winter. The personnel of the troupe is as follows: …interlocutor, Private R.E. Shellcope...
His name was recorded in the book, History of the First Regiment Infantry, National Guard of Pennsylvania (Grey Reserves) 1861-1911 (J.P. Lippincott, 1912). In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census he was a boarder in Philadelphia at 2540 Twenty-Ninth Street; his occupation was artist as a newspaper illustrator. In addition to his Guard duty, Shellcope was an oarsman who participated in many boat races as reported in the Philadelphia Inquirer and New York Times.
Shellcope signed his draft card on September 12, 1918. He resided in Philadelphia at 6932 Tulip Road, and gave his occupation as "machine gum" at Henry Disston & Sons, a saw mill. On the line "Nearest Relative" he wrote, "Alas None." His description was tall, medium build with blue eyes and gray hair.
|First Jimmie the Messenger Boy, 5/3/1903|
In the 1920 census Shellcope was at the same address as above; his name was recorded as Redwood and occupation as artist at the saw mill. Around 1922 Shellcope married Marie Carter, who was a graduate (date unknown) of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. A close examination of the census record finds a "Marie Carter" who lived at 6950 Tulip Road, a few houses from Shellcope. She, too, worked at the saw mill, as a bookkeeper. Of particular interest is her father's sister, Elmira, an artist and art teacher, who was part of the Carter household for over 20 years. Undoubtably, Elmira's presence influenced Marie. Years later Shellcope and Marie's names were listed in the Ocean City Directory 1928 (New Jersey); they lived and worked, handling art goods, at 1230 Boardwalk.
In 1930 the couple lived in Ocean City at 369 Ocean Avenue. He remained an artist. Marie was 12 years his junior. In Polk's Ocean City Directory 1937-38, the couple was listed on page 159; they lived at 305 Ocean Avenue.
The date of Shellcope's passing is not known. In Polk's Ocean City Directory 1948 on page 226, Marie was listed as the widow of Raymond E. Shellcope; she lived at 309 Ocean Avenue. Based on newspaper articles that mentioned Marie, Shellcope's passing can be narrowed either to late 1946 or early 1947.
Two 1946 Ocean City Sentinel-Ledger articles dated August 12 and November 1 referred to Marie as Mrs. R.E. Shellcope. The use of her husband's name indicated he was probably alive at that time.
A few months later in 1947, a Sentinel-Ledger article, dated March 14, gave her name as Mrs. Marie Shellcope. On May 17, the New York Times reported on the New Jersey Women's Clubs convention in Atlantic City, and identified her as Mrs. M.C. Shellcope. These changes of her name, in the papers, suggest that Shellcope had passed away between November 1946 and March 1947.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Joe Doyle
|Gag cartoon, 1912|
|Doyle strips from March 9 1913 Boys and Girls Magazine of Philadelphia Inquirer|
|Jersey Journal, 3/24/15|
|Jersey Journal, 3/27/15|
|Jersey Journal, 3/30/15|
|Jersey Journal, 3/31/15|
At the time of the 1920 census Doyle was married to Sophie and they had a daughter, Dorothy. They lived in Philadelphia at 5527 North Marshall Street. According to the census Doyle had been naturalized in 1908. His occupation was listed as cartoonist for a newspaper.
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Reddy - Also Caruso
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: Professor Bughunter
Nevertheless, it was fun work, one reason being that there were some great cartoonists working at the Daily News, including the all but forgotten Roy W. Taylor, penman of today's obscurity, Professor Bughunter. I just love his early style, which straddled the old world of woodcut engraving and more modern bigfoot cartooning. This series, which ran a grand total of five times over the period from February 3 to March 19 1902, concerns that old-timey favorite, the wacky scientist. The gags were simple, as they had to be to work at a printed size that rivals today's strips for miniaturization, but the excellent drawing and pithy subtitles keep you from feeling that you've wasted your time.
Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans!
Taylor illustrated Strickland W. Gillilan's "Finnigin to Flannigan: An Irish Dialect Story in Verse" (Richmond, Ind., Nicholson Printing and Mfg. Co., 1898).
Taylor lived in Chicago, Illinois at 242 West 66th Street when the 1900 census was taken. His occupation was newspaper artist. Many of his comics are mentioned at Hoosier Cartoonists, www.hoosiercartoonists.com/Cartoonist_of_the_Month.html, and Lambiek, lambiek.net/artists/t/taylor_rw.htm.
Taylor passed away on October 21, 1914, in Washington, D.C. The Washington Herald reported his death on October 22.
Comes Home to Die
Funeral Services for Roy W. Taylor Will Be Held Today
Roy W. Taylor, cartoonist, who died of Bright's disease yesterday at the
home of his mother, Mrs. A.L. Marshall, 723 Third street northwest, will
be buried in Richmond, Ind. The body will be sent to that place following
funeral services here this afternoon at 5 o'clock.
Mr. Taylor was employed on the Philadelphia North American at the time
of his death, and previously had been on the staff of the New York World
and of the Chicago Sunday Tribune, drawing for the Sunday comic sections
which give pleasure to thousands of children. He came to Washington
some weeks ago feeling that he was growing weaker gradually and had not
much longer to live. He was thirty-six years old.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Obscurity of the Day: The Sunbonnet Babies
Bertha Corbett created a short-lived Sunbonnet Babies Sunday comic strip series which first appeared on December 8 1907. Her sometimes partner Ms. Grover doesn't seem to have been involved, or at least wasn't credited. In the Boston Globe the series ended on October 18 1908. The syndicate responsible for distributing the series is uncredited and unknown, and the strip appeared in papers that took varying syndicate offerings. If I had to guess, I would say the feature was syndicated by a publisher (maybe Rand McNally?) as publicity for the book series.
Alfredo Castelli in Here We Are Again adds credit to Grover on the strip, but I've never seen that credit actually included.
Here's a website with more Sunbonnet Babies history.
Bertha L. Corbett was born in Colorado on February 8, 1872, according to the California Death Index. The Corbetts lived in Denver, Colorado; her father, Waldo, was listed in the "Corbett, Hoye and Co.'s Annual City Directory City of Denver" from 1876 to 1879. In the book "History of Arkansas Valley Colorado 1881", Mr. Corbett was mentioned as a member of the Knights of Honor in Leadville, Colorado. Sometime later, the family moved to Minnesota.
In the 1895 Minnesota State Census, Corbett was the oldest of three children born to Waldo and C.E. They lived in Minneapolis. On July 19, 1896, the Saint Paul Globe (Minnesota) reported the results of an art contest for the cover to the Big Store Fall Fashion catalogue: "The third prize, an English fob seal watch chain, was awarded Miss Bertha L. Corbett. Her design represented autumn and winter by two sweet faces appropriately arrayed."
According to the 1900 United States Federal Census, the family lived in Minneapolis at 3404 Chicago Avenue. Her mother had died between the state and federal censuses; her father was a sign painter. The Minneapolis Journal (Minnesota) published an New England Bazaar ad, on February 6, 1901, which featured "Valentine Novelties By Bertha L. Corbett; the cutest things ever seen. 'Sunbonnet Baby' Valentines, absolutely unique, artistic and dainty."
The Kansas City Star picked up a story from the Minneapolis Tribune about Corbett; excerpts, from March 26, 1902, on the Sunbonnet Babies.
...The Sunbonnet Babies really grew out of a group of children I saw
playing in the sand. I drew a picture, the original Sunbonnet Baby, as it
afterward proved. My fellow artists examined it critically and professed
to like it. I fell quite in love with it myself and at once set to work to
…They came out in a book bearing their names in June 189[illegible]
accompanied by little verses of explanation. Then the dainty maidens
began to appear on blotters, valentines, Christmas cards and calendars,
and now they are coming out in a primer, which Rand & McNally will
A different account of her Sunbonnet Babies origin was given in the Kalamazoo Gazette-News (Michigan) on June 29, 1902.
…[Corbett] told of a visit to the theatre with a friend who, after watching
her sketch this and that actor's face, remarked: "It is all in the face,
isn't it? There would be no expression or meaning in a picture if you
left out the face?" Miss Corbett after a moment's thought sketched for
her a little child tugging his wagon loaded with autumn leaves in which
no face appeared and yet the picture told its story.
From that time the idea grew and the little sunbonnet people have grown
and developed as healthy children will, until the oldest are 4 years of age.
Miss Corbett has collected a number of her earlier children late a little
volume which has been published. She is now working on a Sunbonnet
Baby Primer for Rand & McNally of Chicago, the text for which is being
written by Miss Eulalie Grover….
A book which won the heart of all was the Sunbonnet Children with four
leaved cloves over their shoulders, which Miss Corbett got out about
Christmas time, four years ago….
Corbett's Chicago studio was mentioned in the Minneapolis Journal on October 22, 1905.
MIss Corbett has an attractive studio in the Fine Arts building with
some other young women in art crafts, but she uses the place now
rather as business headquarters than as a workshop, for her work has
taken an entirely new turn and now the babies and boys are being
exhibited in chalk talks by their creator.
On September 20, 1906 the Minneapolis Journal reported her venture into advertising.
At present she is associated with R.F. Outcault of "Buster Brown"
fame, and together they evolve ideas which are to be set afloat in the
The Evening World (New York) published an ad, on May 31, 1907, touting the success of its Sunday art supplements.
The Sunbonnet Babies made a great hit when the Sunday World gave
them as illustrations of a series of art lessons to New York City readers.
It has now been decided to give the set to out-of-town readers.
Each picture in colors. Just the thing for framing or passepartouting.
Get the set. Order from newsdealer in advance. The Lovers Next
Sunday. [illustration of sunbonnet baby and overall boy kissing]
Perhaps the Evening World's sunbonnet series prompted Corbett to develop her comic strip, "The Sunbonnet Babies", which debuted in the Boston Globe on December 8, 1907.
Corbett was counted twice in the 1910 census. She was a roomer in Chicago at 4541 Prairie Avenue; her occupation was artist in a studio. And she was counted as a member of her father's household in Minneapolis at 203 14th Street. Later in 1910 she married George H. Melcher, who was an artist and 10 years younger.
In 1920 the Melchers and two daughters lived in Calabasas, California. The husband and wife were artists at a studio. The Melchers remained in Calabasas in the 1930 census; George was an artist and Bertha was an illustrator, both independent. According to the California Death Index Bertha C. Melcher passed away on June 8, 1950.
And to Alex, thank you as always for the biographical research. The word 'passepartouting' sent me scrambling for my dictionary. Turns out it is "a picture simply mounted between a piece of glass and a sheet of cardboard stuck together at the edges with tape." There really is a word for EVERYTHING, isn't there!
Moira F. Harris
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics
Labels: Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics