Saturday, December 17, 2011

 

Herriman Saturday

Monday, February 24 1908 -- Herriman takes a day off from boxing coverage on the sports page to shine the light on the many beach cities near L.A. offering excellent angling opportunities.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

 

Ink-Slinger Profile: Eddie Eksergian


Self-portrait, 1902

Edward "Eddie" Eksergian was born in Turkey in February 1873, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. The census said he emigrated to America in the year of his birth, however, his mother's passport application said the year was 1883.

Vahan Altiparmak profiled Edward's uncle, Carnig (also spelled Karnig) Eksergian here. Altiparmak's profile has some information about Edward's father, Telemaque, who was a portrait painter. Altiparmak said Carnig learned portrait painting from his older brother. In 1870 when he was 12, Carnig sailed to America, and landed in Boston, Massachusetts where he continued painting. However, a New York Herald article, dated July 8, 1915, said he arrived in the U.S. when he was fourteen. Telemaque and his oldest son, Edward, arrived in Boston four years later, according to Altiparmak. I believe that time frame is incorrect.


Telemaque and Carnig have not been found in the 1880 census. Altiparmak said, "…they worked together for many years painting famous and rich people, portraits that made them famous…." According to a passenger list at Ancestry.com, Telemaque and Edward (listed as Master Eksergian) sailed from Liverpool, England to Boston and landed on July 23, 1883. Edward's age was listed as 11, which made his birth year 1872. The Eksergian brothers advertised their "Studio Days" in the Boston Herald and Boston Daily Advertiser in May 1884.


Boston Herald, 5/15/1884

On June 14, 1884, Telemaque's wife, Agavnie, arrived with their sons Leon, 10, and Joseph, 3, according to a passenger list. In the mid-1880s, Telemaque moved his family to New York City. On November 21, 1886, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported the fall exhibition at the Academy of Design and said, "Of portraits there are several that show advance on the flat and conventional in treatment, Telemaque Eksergian's portrait of a gentleman, for example..." Other notable artists in the show were R.A. Blakelock and Winslow Homer. Ancestry.com has some New York City directories. Telemaque is not in the 1884 directory; the years 1885, 1886 and 1887 are not in the collection. He was listed in the 1888 and 1890 Trow's New York City Directory: "Eksergian Telemaque, artist, 3 E. 14th". On October 21, 1890, both Telemaque and Edward became naturalized citizens, according to the U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 at Ancestry.com. The documents recorded their occupation as artist.

The Trow's New York City Directory 1891 included Telemaque's son: "Eksergian Edw'd, photographs, 67 Park pl. h 3 E. 14th". Around the age of 18, Edward began his career as a photographer. On August 6, 1891, The New York Herald published this death notice:

Eksergian.—August 5, after a long sickness, Telemaque Eksergian, beloved father of Edward Eksergian. Funeral will take place two P.M. Friday. [August 7]


On March 30, 1892, Edward's mother, who was living in Constantinople, applied for a passport to the U.S. Her son Lee (Leon) was to accompany her. On the application it said:

…my husband emigrated to the United States, sailing aboard a Cunard steamer, from Liverpool…[in] 1883; that he resided 9 years, uninterrupted, in the United States, from 1883 to 1891, at Boston & New York; that he was naturalized as a citizen of the United States before the Superior Court of New York City at New York on the 21 day of October 1890 as shown by the accompanying Certificate of Naturalization;…that I am the identical person referred to in said passport; that I have resided in the United States, uninterrupted, for 4 years, from 1884 to 1888, at New York…


She returned to Constantinople in 1888. Written on the application was this note, "The husband died in New York in 1891 (August 5) his eldest son [Edward] was with him and is now there; a younger son [Joseph], 15 years old, went to New York last year, where the mother and this son [Leon] propose to join them." The length of their stay in the U.S. is not known. According to Altiparmak, Leon was an architect in Constantinople. She visited the U.S. again in 1896.

After the death of their father, the whereabouts and doings of Edward and Joseph were not known until the 1900 census. They were boarding in Brooklyn, New York at a house on Cropsey Avenue near Bay 11th Street, about three miles northwest of Coney Island. They were artists. In 1901, Edward produced comics for the McClure Syndicate, such as A Bunch of Umbrella Jokes. The date of his move to St. Louis, Missouri is not known. In 1902 he was working for World Color Printing and continued there to 1904. One of his strips was Mrs. Knitt.


He was active in the St. Louis Newspaper Artists' Society as reported in The Republic (St. Louis, Missouri) on March 29, 1902.


Newspaper Artists' Exhibit.
Will Be Held at Planters Hotel in May.

The St. Louis Newspaper Artists' Society will give an exhibition at the Planters Hotel in the week beginning May 13, showing cartoons, portrait and humorous sketches and drawings as they appear from the artists' hands for reproduction in the newspapers. The exhibit will be managed by George Munson and Mr. Max Orthwein, who is treasurer of the society.

The exhibition promises to be of much interest, and extensive preparations are being made for the entertainment of a heavy patronage. Artists whose work will be on exhibit are:

Messrs. Carlisle Martin, H.B. Martin, George Walters, Benjamin Devine, Edward Marrs, Paul Gregg, Ed Eksergian, A. Block, George McManus Jr., Berthold Widmann, Edward Grinham, C.L. Cadwallander, Henry F. Thode, Dick Wood and T.K Hedrick.


The Republic covered another show on October 5, 1902. (A follow-up article, dated October 19, included portraits of four cartoonists.)


…The Newspaper Artists' Society was organized with the primary object of the general betterment of the art of newspaper illustration, for an increased fraternal and feeling of good fellowship among the cartoonists, and with the hope of ultimately effecting a permanent institution. To this end this first exhibition will be given. The following artists form the Committee of Arrangements:

H.B. Martin, Dick Wood, George McManus, Ed Eksergian, S. Carlisle Martin, Berthold Widmann, Paul Fred Berdanier, Edward Grinham, J. Gay Martin, Miss Lina Barclay, Henry Thode, George Walters, Louis E. Donahoe, A. Briscoe, A. Block, George Stick, Miss Anita Moore, F.F. Porter, Max Orthwein, treasurer.


Lambiek Comiclopedia said he did the following comics: Holiday Shopping in Kit-Kat Town(1904), Mr. Tom (1904-1905), Mr. O-Heeza-Knocker (1904), Dreamy Mary (1904), Raphels the Awful Cat (1905) and Vacation News (1905). On some strips, he signed his name as "Ed Eks". In late 1904 he left World Color for employment at St. Louis newspapers. His 1904 St. Louis Dispatch hockey cartoon was reprinted in the book Before the Stars (2004).



He may have returned to New York. In the publication Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York (1906) there is a "Brother Edward Eksergian, Crescent Lodge, No. 402 [$]1.00 [contribution]." In 1906, Aesop in Rhyme was published; the location was not stated. It was adapted by Mary Leone Gilliam Thummel, a St. Louis resident, and illustrated by "Edward Eksergian, 'Ed. Eks' ". (A free download is here.)

In the 1910 census, he was in St. Louis where he resided at the Buckingham Hotel, on North Kings Highway and West Pine Boulevard. He was a newspaper cartoonist. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, on March 4, 1913, that his Uncle Carnig "...has come to live in Manhattan after several years sojourn in Boston..." In the book A History of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat (1961), Jim Allee Hart said, "…Edward Exsergian [sic] (Eddie Eks) drew cartoons for the sport pages…." In 1915 his marriage was referred to in the New York Times on July 20:


Their Engagement Broken

St. Louis, July 19.—Mrs. Alexander Finney of the Sherwood Apartments, today announced that the engagement of her daughter, Miss Olga Jane Finney, to S. Elwood Hunt of New York, had been broken. The couple became engaged about six months ago and planned to be married in June.

Miss Finney was maid of honor at the wedding of Miss Clara Langan to Edward Eksergian, an artist, June 30...


A World War I draft card has not been found for him. The Editor & Publisher mentioned him on January 13, 1917, "…Among the staff artists and cartoonists at the inauguration of Governor Gardner, Monday were A.B. Chapin, Republic; Edward Eksergian, Globe-Democrat; Carlye S. Martin, Post-Dispatch; Otto Hartsman, Times."; and on March 24, 1917, "Eddie Eks, cartoonist of the Globe-Democrat, entertained the members of the St. Louis Millers' Club at their banquet Tuesday evening with drawings and chalk talks."


The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4: Works of Art, Etc. 1918 New Series, Volume 13, Number 3 had this entry, "Eksergian (Edward) St. Louis. [9819 On and off the trolley. © June 20, 1918; 2 c. June 27, 1918; K 121461." He contributed art to the June 15, 1918 issue of War Saver. Building Age, February 1919, published his cartoon "Reach Out for Big Business!"




In 1920, Edward, his wife and three-and-a-half year old son Edward lived in St. Louis at 5522 Waterman Avenue. He continued as a newspaper cartoonist. The household included his mother-in-law and two brother-in-laws. Samples of his work in this decade have not been found. His name was on a 1924 patent for a cigarette holder.

The 1930 census recorded him in St. Louis at 6678 Washington Avenue. His surname was spelled "Eksergen" (this spelling was used in his obituary). In the occupation column it read, "Advertising and Artist Studio", and in the industry column was "Magazine". Samples of his work in this decade have not been found.



Edward passed away January 28, 1943 in St. Louis. His obituary was published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the same day; a copy is at the St. Louis Public Library. He was survived by his wife Clara, son Edward and brother Joseph; the status of brother Leon is not known. Copies of his and Clara's death certificates are here (scroll down to Eksergen).


Clara passed away November 6, 1945 in St. Louis. Joseph, also a Mason, passed away July 14, 1950, in West Englewood, New Jersey, according to a New York Times obituary. He was an employee at the Times photoengraving department from 1925 to 1947. His surname was also spelled "Eksergen". Edward Langan Eksergen passed away April 9, 1964 in St. Louis.

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I was fascinated by Eddie Eksergian's work in the early St.Louis papers, and wanted to find out more about him and just why he never got much further, outside of once in the Pulitzer Funny Side section and a few cartoons in Judge around 1901.

I searched for living relatives and finally, after much work, located his nephew, Walker Langen, in 1979. He had retired to Florida. He wrote back to an inquiry, saying, yes he knew his uncle well, having grown up with him (he was fighting in the Aleutians at the time of Eksergian's demise) and just exactly what did I want to know?
Well, I sent him a bunch of questions, including a request for a phone conversation. Then I waited and waited, and waited. So I sent another letter, and more waiting. Finally his wife sent me a terse letter saying that just after his response, he became incapacitated and would never recover. That was that.
 
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

 

Obscurity of the Day: McNutt



While I regularly sing the praises of my man Walter Bradford here as one of the great unsung wacky cartoonists, Cole Johnson has a decided preference for Eddie Eksergian. And I can certainly see where Cole has a point that his man is the summa cum wacky of the early funnies. I guess where I have trouble is that I get the distinct feeling that with Eddie the wackiness wasn't so much a matter of craftsmanship as a bit of a wiring problem in Eddie's noggin. I mean, if nothing else, Eddie's constant fascination with umbrellas does have to give you a moment's pause. 

Well, Eddie's long dead so I guess ruminations regarding his mental stability or lack thereof are purely academic. So let's just enjoy the product of Eddie's dementia, shall we? Today we have a strip that I index as simply McNutt, although the main character sometimes went by Bug McNutt, Nat McNutt and Fool McNutt (consistency being the hobgoblin of small sane minds). Cole Johnson tells me some of these were actually different characters -- Cole cites an escaped lunatic, a political candidate and a racetrack tout.

The ones I've seen, though, all feature the same fellow, and quite a character he is. Apparently Eddie saw strips like the Katzenjammer Kids, Buster Brown and all their ilk and decided enough's enough with these rotten smartass kids who play tricks on adults. How about an adult who plays tricks on kids? And nix! Not that cutesy-pie crap Foxy Grandpa pulls. No, Eddie wanted serious mayhem -- grievous bodily and mental injury, with torture for flavor. McNutt is on a mission. We don't know why, but he's definitely dead set on making life hell for the rugrats. I can just imagine mom making one of those McNutt dolls in the top sample to scare the bejeezus out of junior. "Hey kid, any more trouble outta you and I'm gonna get McNutt after ya!"

An odd feature of McNutt is that the rhymes beneath the panels are sometimes credited  to others (see final panels). I find it hard to believe Eks was paying or otherwise recruiting people to do the bulk of the writing on this strip for him, and for that matter, I don't think others could maintain the Eks-level looniness exhibited. Bit of a mystery, that.

McNutt ran in the proto-World Color Printing section of the St. Louis Star starting on October 19 1902, and ran there until at least January 31 1904 (there are a lot of sections missing from the microfilm). It did not run in the 'official' World Color Printing section that began in the New York Daily News in January 1904.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples!

Tomorrow: an Ink-Slinger Profile of Eddie Eksergian

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What is the name of this syndicate-did the Star produce it? I've seen it run in Grand Rapids, Mich., Ogdensburg, NY, and Mansfield, Ohio. Gordon Campbell had it in a Nashville paper.
Eksergian reminds me of the early Herriman, with a dash of Edvard Munch thrown in.
He often liked to depict his characters tied up or boxed in, to go along with the umbrella business. Nothing like a little cheerful S & M on a Sunday morning!
 
Hi Mark --
The syndicate? Well, there's a question your brother and I debate ad nauseum. I'm of the opinion that World Color was producing this section for the St Louis Star and also a few other pigeons. When the Star got a Hearst page in late 1903 I think WCP saw the writing on the wall, and started looking for a new major client. They found that in the New York Daily News. For reasons unknown, they produced a different section for them (perhaps a rights issue?), a section that eventually usurped the 'St. Louis section'.

What evidence do I have to back up this scenario? All circumstantial I'm afraid. I have yet to find any really solid evidence for what was going on there in terms of who owned what, what was produced where and for whom it was produced. One semi-solid/gelatinous piece of evidence for one portion of the scenario is that World Color Press says in their company history that they grew out of World Color Printing, which was originally a subsidiary of the St. Louis Star.

--Allan
 
But if i might add, Munsey's NY Daily News was not the same entity as the current one, in fact I think adopting a comic section was a desperation move to keep the paper afloat, which didn't work out, as it went belly up only months later.
I don't know how far we can trust the World Color history.
It's true that the St. Louis Star had the WCP section, but only after the old section with Eksergian & co., stopped. The SLS had one page of Hearst and one page of this section, but when it took the WCP in 1904, it was all four pages. I guess the WCP offered a ready-print even then. But if the SLS had anything to do with the section, other than being an early client, why diddn't they share things like artists and type fonts? And why didn't they keep on running WCP sundays for years to come? There was a brief period in about 1913 when the Star took one page of WCP once more, but then afterward, no other St.Louis paper bothered with WCP again.
 
Hi Mark --
According to the World Color Press corporate history, the two guys who started World Color Printing for the Star 'broke away' and made the company a self-sufficient entity. So it isn't too surprising that the Star was a bit soured on using their material and eventually switched.

The most intriguing question, I think, is the start of the second section. Why? Was WCP trying to follow the lead of McClure and have two sections available so they could supply two different papers in one area? Or was it a rights issue with the St. Louis Star? Or did Munsey ask then to develop an entirely new section for him? Even this explanation, seemingly a bad one since Munsey was a tightwad, has merit. The 'new' section was a lot classier or upscale than the Eks/Bloch one, what with having some cartoonists involved who were actually well-known in NYC (Anderson, Herriman, Mayer). Wouldn't a struggling and desperate NYC paper looking for circulation seek out some well-known but relatively cheap cartoonists familiar from other NY papers?

--Allan
 
Maybe, but why would the Star, if it was their own, at least initially, play out a few last months of what would be considered inferior stuff? Again, the Herriman lineup looks nothing like the Eks lineup, not even the type, though they exist in the same time period. We know the Star started taking the new stuff in the Spring of 1904. What happened to other clients of the Eks syndicate? Do they start taking the Herriman lineup In January like the NY News? In the Spring like the Star? Not at all?
I never got to monitor any of the other Eks clients- The Ogdensburg paper for instance, had every comic section greedily swiped before they were microfilmed. I think the Mansfield News is available from Proquest or newspaper archive. If we could see what they were doing in 1904, we'll find out if a connection existed.
For a few weeks in December 1903, The New York Daily News announced that the wonderful new comic section was coming. I don't know if Munsey had an interest in any other papers as I've never seen another paper taking the Herriman & co. stuff so early. Do you suppose it might be that Munsey was in fact launching his own section with well known pros like Herriman, in an effort to compete with the all the other NY sunday comics? Obviously it diddn't change the fortunes of the News, but maybe this section and his contracted artists was valuable enough to sell after the News folded. A small time syndicate like the one offering the Eksergian page might acquire it at a fire sale price from Munsey. Notice that no new New York paper picked up any of it, and Major Ozone etc. would be mainly seen in the hinterlands, just as the Eks & Co. stuff had been. That would explain how they could be around at the same time,and obviously created in different places.
 
Regarding Munsey, he also bought the Boston Journal and Washington Times in 1901-02. According to his bio, around January 1904 he "stopped the Sunday Journal and started instead an enlarged 50-page Saturday Evening News with comics and magazine". So the new section was probably used there as well.

Unfortunately I have not yet been lucky enough to index a paper that made the Eks - WCP transition.

--Allan
 
Cole says now a Knoxville paper that ran the Eks section in late 1903 shows that there were at least two pages, a front and back cover, offered.
In the case of the St. Louis Star, they only used one page in the last months of this section. If they were producing it, then they showed little faith in it to go outside for their other Sunday color page.
 
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

 

Obscurity of the Day: The Gee Whiz Brothers

Sometimes I'd swear cartoonists from the days of yore liked to play tricks directed at future historians. Case in point -- look at the two strips above and decide if they constitute a series or not.

The two episodes you see here constitute the entire 'run' of the Gee Whiz Brothers in the Chicago Daily News. The first, by George Frink, ran on August 29 1903. The second, by someone who drew a flower in a flowerpot as their signature, ran three weeks later, on September 17.

So we have just two episodes featuring the same characters, run the better part of a month apart, and by two different creators, one of which obviously prefers anonymity.

Is it a series? When compiling the Chicago Daily News information for Stripper's Guide, I, perhaps a little grumpily, decided it didn't merit listing. What do you think?

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I think not a series. This has the look of someone at the Chicago Daily News having an idea, asking Frink and someone else draw it up as a sample, everyone agreeing it was not worth pursuing, but then later using the samples to plug some holes. More like a pilot for a series.
 
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles: R.E. Schad



Ross Earle Schad was born in San Francisco, California on March 4, 1884, according to his World War I and II draft cards. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the oldest of three children born to William and Annie. They lived in San Francisco at 51 Elgin Park. His father was a jeweler. Information about his education and art training has not been found. News of his thirteenth birthday was reported in the San Francisco Call on March 21, 1897. The Call reported his seventeenth birthday on March 17, 1901. The San Francisco Bulletin published his strips, Miss Gushe in the Country and The Adventures of Miss Touryste, in 1904. On June 1, 1904 the Call reported the upcoming Newspaper Artist's League exhibition, which included cartoonists Schad, G.A. Bronstrup, Ralph O. Yardley and Bert Igoe. According to The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), April 27, 1905 edition, he married Claudia White. Almost a year later, April 22, 1906, The Sun reported news of the San Francisco earthquake.


Mrs. E.R. [sic] Schad Escaped
Daughter of Rockville Minister Was in Frisco Horror.
[Special Dispatch to the Baltimore Sun.]

Mrs. E.R. White, of this place, have received word from their daughter, Mrs. R. Earl [sic] Schad, formerly Claudia White, who was for a number of years prominent in Baptist missionary work here, informing them that she escaped injury from the San Francisco earthquake.

Mrs. Schad lives in San Francisco, and the house she occupied was destroyed. She is now comfortably quartered several miles outside the city.



The San Francisco-Oakland Directory1907 has this listing, "Schad R Earle, commercial artist, 876 Brdy, Oak". The Overland Monthly published Schad's illustrations (left) in its October 1907 issue.

In 1910 the couple lived in San Francisco at 912 Pine Street. His occupation was artist in the illustration industry. The date of his move to New York City is not known. The New York Herald (New York) printed his classified ad on November 23, 1915, "Artist, all around, wants work; advertising or art service. Earle Schad, 21 East 14th st." His World War I draft has his Manhattan address as 216 West 34th Street. He was a self-employed artist.

Schad has not been found in the 1920 census. In 1930 he and second wife Louise lived in Middletown, New Jersey on Monmouth Avenue. His occupation was artist. He signed his World War II draft card on April 25, 1942. He was a free-lance artist who lived in New York City at 401 1st Avenue. According to a family tree at Ancestry.com, Schad passed away on April 20, 1949 in New York City.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

 

A Pair of Mysteries

The Stripper would like some Christmas presents from his readers.As always, the stocking stuffers I crave are answers to my newspaper comics questions. Here are two that have me stumped right now. Can you help?

MYSTERY #1
I have three weeks of 1966 proof sheets for a panel cartoon titled Washington Razzle-Dazzle. It was distributed by Nonpariel Features out of Canton Ohio and the panel creators were Erlyn L. Smith and C. Winebrenner.

The feature sports 'gags' that are more like the fumings of a spittin' mad Tea Partier than anything resembling actual jokes -- these guys were way ahead of their time!

Can you shed light on any aspect of this? I know nothing of Nonpariel Features, or the creators, or the panel itself. Have you seen it running anywhere?

MYSTERY #2
This gaggle of gags is from the Fort Gibson (OK) Times, December 4 1991. They are all copyrighted to The Comic Factory, which I'm guessing was run by Ed Gillum. Gillum signed Winston and The Jones Sisters, and both Punchline by Chris Johnson and Gaggles by Francis sure look like they are by Gillum working under pseudonyms. Outer Limits, signed Ron Wilson, is a little harder to tell because the figures are so small I can't really get a sense of the art style.

A photocopy of this page from the Fort Gibson Times was sent to me by a correspondent, but I've asked him several times for more information (like -- did these run more than once?) and I get no answer. I've also sent an email to an artist named Ed Gillum in California asking if he's the same guy who ran the Comic Factory, but have heard nothing back. So, does anyone have any information to break this conspiracy of silence??

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A quick Google search shows a Nonpareil Features to be active in Southwest Iowa news. Incredibly, their name might have been misspelled on these strips!
 
My Google searches of "nonpareil features", "nonpariel features", "nonpariel iowa", etc etc comes up with nothing. Docnad, could you supply a link to your search results?

Thanks, Allan
 
Here's the first search result: http://swiowanews.mycapture.com/mycapture/category.asp?CategoryID=46914
 
Thanks, but that's a link to a newspaper named the Daily Nonpareil. Nothing to do with this syndicate as far as I know.

--Allan
 
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Sunday, December 11, 2011

 

Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics

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Hey! Isn't it a breath of fresh air to hear something positive about the government? Of course, I'm just an observer...
 
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