Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Henry Landgren

Nels Henry Landgren was born in Malmo, Sweden, on November 22, 1907, according to his Iowa World War II service file and Iowa Artists of the First Hundred Years (1939). A passenger list recorded Landgren aboard the S.S. Lusitania which arrived in New York harbor August 24, 1912. Landgren’s final destination was Mason City, Iowa.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census recorded Landgren as the oldest of three children born to Nels, a carpenter, and Hilda. They resided in Mason City at 114 129th Street SW. Landgren graduated from Mason City High School in 1925. The 1928 Mason City city directory listing said Landgren was a student at the same address.

Landgren’s address did not change in the 1930 census. According to Iowa Artists of the First Hundred Years, Landgren studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, where he was a pupil of Ruth Van Sickle Ford and Arthur Johnson. He exhibited at North Iowa Fair and public library in Mason City. Landgren won ten first prizes at the Fair. sometime after the census, Landgren found work at a local newspaper.

A 1933 Des Moines city directory said Landgren was a staff artist at the Register & Tribune. He resided at 675 18th Street.

Henry Landgren's debut on Iowa Oddities, 12/27/1942

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Landgren was the fourth of five artists to draw Iowa Oddities for the Register & Tribune. Preceding him were Bud Sauers, Ken Eaton and Gene Cannoy. Landgren’s run lasted from December 27, 1942 to June 13, 1943. He followed by Tom Swaja.

The Mason City Globe-Gazette, January 22, 1940, reported Landgren’s marriage.

Former Mason Cityan Wedded in Des Moines to Betty Lou Miller
Announcement is made of the marriage of Nels Henry Landgren, son of Mr. and Mrs. Nels Landgren, 524 Twentieth street. Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Sauers attended the couple. The parents of the bride and bridegroom and a few close friends attended the ceremony. Immediately after the wedding, a reception was held at the home of the bride’s parents. The couple left on a short trip to Chicago and returning will be at home at 1422 Twenty-eighth street, Des Moines. Mr. Landgren is employed by a Des Moines newspaper.
The 1940 census recorded the newlyweds at the Des Moines address. The following year the couple was at 2304 39th Street.

Landgren was divorced when he enlisted in the army during World War II. He served from August 10, 1943 to November 12, 1945. Landgren was with the 169th Combat Engineers, Camp Beal, California; 5th Replacement Depot, New Guinea A.P.T.; and 5th Replacement Depot, Philippines, Luzon.

After the war, Landgren returned to the Register & Tribune and remarried to Barbara.

Landgren passed away September 21, 1989. He was laid to rest at the Masonic Cemetery.

—Alex Jay


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