Wednesday, March 07, 2012

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Frank Godwin



Francis Wood "Frank" Godwin was born in Washington, D.C. on October 20, 1889, according to his World War I and II draft cards. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the third of four children born to Harry and Annie. His father, who had passed away before the census, was an editor at the Washington Star, according to a New York Times obituary, August 6, 1959. Harry's brother, Thomas, a photographer, lived with the family. They lived in Hackensack, New Jersey on Maple Avenue.
The New York Times said, "…As a young man he became an art apprentice for The Star and attended the Art Students League of New York. He became a friend of James Montgomery Flagg, the artist, with whom he shared a studio at one time. Mr. Godwin did cartoons for Judge magazine." On November 25, 1909, Godwin married Grace Congleton in Hackensack, as reported in the New York Times on the same day.

In the 1910 census, the couple lived in Washington, D.C. at 3138 Q Street. His occupation was newspaper artist. Godwin signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. He lived in Philadelphia at 620 Washington Square, and was an artist at N.W. Ayer & Sons. His description was tall height, medium build with blue eyes and black hair. The Washington Post, August 29, 1918, noted his progress in the army, "…Fourteen more Washington men have been commissioned in the army as follows:…Francis W. Godwin, 1466 Chaplin street northwest, second lieutenant, sanitary corps…" The Milwaukee Journal (Wisconsin), August 30, 1931, published a profile of Godwin that said, "…When the World War came he went in as a motion picture camera man, but was soon assigned to the air service, where he became a pilot."


Times-Picayune, 6/22/1924


He has not been found in the 1920 census; perhaps he was still serving in the army. His wife, four children and mother-in-law lived in Manhattan, New York City at 107 Waverly Place. His wife was the proprietor of a tea room. The New York Times said, "…Godwin had done illustrations for Collier's, Liberty and Cosmopolitan magazine…" In 1924 he started Vignettes of Life, which was taken over by J. Norman Lynd in 1927. In the mid-1920s he divorced his wife. His strip Connie began in 1929 (not 1927 as widely reported -- Allan).

His illustrated books include The Blue Fairy Book (1921), Uncle Henry (1922), Robin Hood (1923), The Black Arrow (1923), Tales From Shakespere (1924), Treasure Island (1924), Kidnapped: The Adventures of David Balfour (1925), Robinson Crusoe (1925), King Arthur and His Knights (1927), The Ten Dreams of Zach Peters (1927), The Swiss Family Robinson (1929), and The Book of Courage (1929).

The 1930 census recorded him, his wife Sylvia and two children in Greenwich, Connecticut on Hendrie Avenue. Oddly, his occupation was "lawyer". His first wife, who had remarried, and children had moved to San Diego, California. In 1938 he drew a portion of the Roy Powers, Boy Scout series. On two occasions, March 1938 and September 1939, he and his wife sailed to Havana, Cuba. Their home address was 230 East 73rd Street, New York City.

On April 27, 1942, he signed his World War II draft card. He lived in New York City at 153 East 45 Street. He was self-employed, and his description was six feet two inches, 300 pounds, with blue eyes and black hair. His strip Rusty Riley started in 1948. The New York Times said, "…His brother, Harold P. of New Hope, does the continuity for the weekly version of 'Rusty Riley.' The daily continuity is done by Rod Reed…."

He married a third time. The American National Biography: Gilbert-Hand (1999) said, "...He married Georgiana Brown Harbeson shortly after the end of World War II." The New York Times said, "…Godwin was vice president of the Society of Illustrators, a member of the Salmagundi and Dutch Treat Clubs in New York and a former member of the National Press Club in Washington." A profile of him was published in the Portsmouth Times (Ohio) on May 17, 1952.

Godwin passed away, at home, August 5, 1959, in New Hope, Pennsylvania. The cause was a heart attack. The New York Times published his obituary the following day.

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Comments:
CONNIE daily strips started in May 13 1929.
CONNIE Sunday page is reported starting in Novermber 13 1927.

If this is not true, what's the real start date of CONNIE Sundays?
 
The Connie strip numbered 97 ran in The Day of New London on July 1, 1929.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=SrsqWtBqNIQC&dat=19290701&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

This is the earliest issue on Google News. You can't actually see the number there, but you can several days later. Assuming they didn't run that one early, the daily strip must have started at least by March 10, 1929.

But I can't be of any help for the Sundays.

Jon
 
The Connie Sunday began 4/28/29.

--Allan
 
March 10, 1929 was a Sunday (Sorry I was counting back in 7/6ths time to determine weeks and forgot to move one day later for the Monday) So my claim should read the first Connie daily strip is no later than 3/11/29
 
The daily began 3/11/29.

--Allan
 
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