Friday, January 20, 2012


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Harris Brown

Harris Harper Brown was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 26, 1884, according to his World War I and II draft cards. Information on his childhood and art training has not been found. Apparently he was the second child of Henry and Elizabeth who were recorded in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census; the first child was his sister, Jennie. The family lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Sharwood Street.

Brown's parents were counted in the 1900 census but he was not. They were farmers in Bristol, Pennsylvania. The local newspaper, The Bucks County Gazette, reported on several events involving Brown. On September 14, 1905, he and Mrs. Stackhouse had organized a lawn party on his father's property. On November 30, 1905, "a freedom party was given to Harris H. Brown at his uncle's residence, by Mrs. Frank P. Warrington, Mrs. William K. Stackhouse and Mrs. Henry C. Brown." Another party honoring his twenty-first birthday was reported on December 8, 1905. The Gazette noted the start of his cartooning career, at the Philadelphia Record, on November 30, 1906:

Harris H. Brown, formerly of this section, has associated himself with the Philadelphia Daily Record and is running a series of comic drawings in the Sunday issue of that paper.

For the Record he created the comic strip, The Adventures of Willie Green, which ran from 1906 to 1928 (with several long gaps).

The 1910 census recorded Brown in Philadelphia, boarding at 733 North 20th Street. He was an artist doing newspaper work. His parents were still farming in Bristol. He copyrighted Adventures of Willie Green, Book No. 1 on March 26, 1915, according to the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2: Pamphlets, Leaflets, etc. 1915, New Series, Volume 12, Number 4. He signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. His occupation was farm laborer; his description was medium height and build with gray eyes and red hair. He has not been found in the 1920 census; his father, a widower, was retired and staying with the Stackhouse family.

In 1930, Brown was married and lived in Morrisville, Pennsylvania at 456 Stockham Avenue. According to the census, his wife, Alice, was 17 years his junior; they had a five-year-old daughter. He worked as an insurance agent. He signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. He lived at 615 North Pennsylvania Avenue, in Morrisville, and worked for the Prudential Insurance Company in Princeton, New Jersey. His description on the card was "5 ft 10 in, 170 lbs, blue eyes, sandy hair."

Brown passed away on November 11, 1962 in Trenton, New Jersey. The Trenton Evening Times
reported his death the following day.

Harris Brown Dies Following Short Illness

Harris H. Brown died last night at his home, 26 South Westfield Avenue, following a short illness.

Mr. Harris was a retired Prudential Insurance Company agent, and also was retired as a guide at the State Museum.

He was well known as a cartoonist, having created the "Willie Green" comics, and was a cartoonist with the former Philadelphia Record for 30 years. He also had done commercial art work.

Born in Philadelphia, he resided in Trenton for the past 25 years, and previously made his home in the Emilie-Fallsington [Pennsylvania] area for many years. He was a graduate of Williamson College [a vocational school], Media, Pa.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Alice Kellett Brown; two daughters, Mrs. Nancianne B. Parrella and Mrs. Sally Jane Bergner, both of Trenton, and five grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Friday at 11 a.m. in the First Presbyterian Church. The Rev. Dr. Andrew Sebben, pastor, will officiate. Burial will be in Fountain Lawn Memorial Park.


This is my great grandfather!
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