Monday, August 03, 2015


News of Yore 1925: Hugh Rankin Profiled

Who's Who in ZIFFS

(reprinted from Ziff's magazine, December 1925)

We take pleasure in announcing a new series of unusually brilliant drawings which will further brighten the already scintillating pages of ZIFFS, and hereby introduce to our readers "the man behind the pen" with the hope that you'll like each other!

Hugh Doak Rankin comes from Old American Pioneer Stock, dating back as far as 1641. Scotch-Irish, English and German ancestry. It was at the home of his great grandfather, Rev. John Rankin (a noted abolitionist) that Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote most of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." John Rankin had a station on the famous under-ground railroad at Ripley, Ohio, across from Kentucky. The house is standing today and is riddled with bullets, the result of raiders trying to reclaim runaway slaves. There Eliza crossed the ice, with the assistance of Cal Rankin, a son of the Rev. John. (He appears in the book under the guise of the Quaker.) The Rankins are blood relatives of General Sam Houston, the famous old Warrior-President of Texas, and Davy Crockett, of Alamo fame.

Hugh Rankin's middle name is Doak, after an ancestor who founded the first college west of the Alleghany mountains. He is also a descendant of General Dearborn, and of the Copps of Copp's Hill, historic in the Revolutionary War.

This background found its outlet when Hugh carried an oar in the Spanish War and a gun in the World War as a volunteer with the 50th Infantry.

Rankin says he served the shortest term in the American Navy on record, and the longest in the American Army (at least, he continues, it seemed the longest to him!). The 50th was a sister regiment of the 23rd and was practically annihilated at Chateau Thierry, being the first of the Allied Troops to stem the German drive.

He could scarce help being an artist as his mother was a sculptress of international renown, having modeled the largest figure ever completed by a woman, "Pele, The Goddess of Fire” thirty-three feet tall. Accounts of her work are to be found in the cornerstone of the Woman's Temple at Chicago.

His art training was rounded out with much time in Europe and a geographic range of eight countries. From Canada to Florida, Missouri to Austria, with Paris, Munich and Rome included, he covered before the age of twenty. Then a record in newspaper work, ten of the biggest dailies. Book and magazine illustrations by the score. His most notable work of recent years being a series of eighteen historic pictures "Through the Ages with Father Time," for the Elgin Watch Company, which appeared in every large magazine in the country, and were considered by the Company as their most successful advertising campaign.

Mr. Rankin's serious work is characterized by strong individuality and charm. The whimsicalities he is drawing for ZIFFS will be along the line of his best ability and will mark an epoch in the odd and unusual with a smile thrown in for good measure.

(also see Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profile of Mr. Rankin)


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