Thursday, June 12, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ray Hoppman

Raymond Irving “Ray” Hoppman was born in New Haven, Connecticut on April 6, 1887, according to his World War I and II draft cards. Information about his education and art training has not been found. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the youngest of four children born to Frederick and Katharine. His father was a preacher. The family lived in Dunkirk, New York at 57 East 4th Street. Hoppman was listed in the 1904 Dunkirk city directory.

At some point, the Hoppman family moved to New Jersey. The 1908 and 1909 Newark city directories listed them at 253 Bergen; Hoppman’s occupation was artist.

The 1910 census recorded the Hoppmans in Irvington, New Jersey at 16 Howard Street. Hoppman was a commercial artist. His father was a widower. The 1914 and 1916 city directories said the Hoppmans’ address was 19 Park Avenue. Their address changed again, in 1918, to 614 Nye Avenue. The 1920 directory said they had moved to Nutley, New Jersey.

Hoppman was employed at the New York Evening Telegram as early as 1914, when his cartoons were copyrighted by the newspaper in the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2: Pamphlets, etc. 1914, New Series, Volume 11, Numbers 7 and 8.

In addition to using his pen for drawing, Hoppman showed he wasn’t at a loss for words when it came to writing. Samples were found in Our Dumb Animals, September 1913, “The Firefly”, and Motion Picture, November 1915.

Hoppman was art director for an in-house publication, Hyatt Quiet Type, as reported in the Automobile Trade Journal, March 1, 1916.

The Judge, July 21, 1917, reported the fifteenth annual convention of the American Press Humorists at the McAlpin Hotel in New York City. Among the new members elected to the group were Hoppman, Irvin S. Cobb, H.T. Webster and E.A. Bushnell.

Hoppman shared his love of birds in The Guide to Nature, June 1917.

Hoppman was a contributor to the book, “Long Live the Kaiser”—! (1917).

Hoppman signed his undated World War I draft card. He lived at 614 Nye Avenue in Irvington, New Jersey. His occupation was cartoonist at the New York Evening Telegram. His description was 5 feet 10 inches, slender, gray eyes, and light brown hair.

In 1919, he married Harriet, according to the 1930 census, and his Famous Fans 
panel began. Hoppman was a mason at the St. Cecile Lodge in Newark.

Aberdeen American (South Dakota) 2/7/1923

Hoppman and his wife lived in West Hoboken, New Jersey at 447 Clinton Avenue, as recorded in the 1920 census. He was a newspaper cartoonist who produced a number of comics in this decade including Hank and Pete, Make-A-Comic, and Assorted Nuts.

Aberdeen American (South Dakota) 6/2/1923

The Medical Pickwick, November 1921, featured verse and art by Hoppman.

In 1930 Hoppman lived in Dumont, New Jersey at 100 Randolph Avenue. He was a cartoonist for a trade publication. He produced the strip, Don’t Be Like That! (1935–1937), for the Van Tine Features Syndicate, who held the copyright according to the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2: Pamphlets, etc. 1935 New Series, Volume 32, Number 9.

Hoppman (R.I.) Don’t Be Like That! v. 1. © July 16, 1935; AA 184148; Van Tine Features Syndicate, Inc., New York. 28172

The Van Tine Features comics were announced, with much fanfare, in the West Seattle Herald, (Washington), June 18, 1936, and the Hastings News (New York), January 10, 1936 (below).

His address and occupation was the same in the 1940 census which showed that he had two years of high school education. (The census enumerator mistakenly recorded Hoppman’s first name as Morton, which was his neighbor’s name.) A 1941 trade publication, The Progressive Grocer, had this snippet of news: “Illustrations for these advertisements are drawn by Ray Hoppman whose work appears regularly in the editorial pages of The Progressive Grocer.”

Hoppman signed his World War II draft card on April 25, 1942. According to the card he was self-employed and remained at the same address.

Apparently he retired in Florida. Hoppman passed away on May 3, 1974 in Winter Park, Florida, according to the Social Security and Florida Death Indexes.

—Alex Jay


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