Friday, September 14, 2012


Ink-Slinger Profiles: R.W. Maxwell

Ralph Wing Maxwell was born in Esperance, New York on February 3, 1896, according to his World War I draft card. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the youngest of four children born to Eugene and Mary. His father was a farmer in Esperance.

The family remained in Esperance in the 1910 census. Maxwell worked in a grocery store. The 1915 New York State Census said he was a college student. According to his draft card, signed May 29, 1917, he was a student at Pratt Institute and described as medium height and slender build with blue eyes and brown hair.

He has not been found in the 1920 census. The 1930 census said Maxwell was 26 years old, around 1922, when he married Doris E. Drawbridge. Her book, Poems, was published by Boston publisher R.G. Badger in 1925. The couple produced a four-week educational comic strip, The Story of Aviation, which was published in the Queens Daily Star, (New York) in July and August 1927. They may have lived in Queens at the time. I believe both of them were employed as teachers at a public school, based on their occupations in the following census. Because of their employment, they used their first and middle name initials to disguise their identities.


#24, 8/15/1927

The 1930 census recorded the couple, both teachers, in Paterson, New Jersey at 288 Graham Avenue, their address into the mid-1940s. His name was recorded as Ray. In 1940, Maxwell was a high school teacher and his wife a grade school principal. He signed his World War II draft card on April 25, 1942, and taught at Central High School in Patterson, New Jersey. Presumably they remained in public school education in the following decades.

Maxwell passed away March 9, 1984, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Death File. His wife had passed away in November 1980. The Social Security Death Index said their last residence was Maywood, New Jersey.


They must have ran them out of sequence. That might sound hard to do, with only twenty-four numbered strips, but the Star was up to the challenge.

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