Wednesday, August 02, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: F.C. Collinge

Frederick Channon Collinge was born in Salterhebble, Yorkshire, England, on July 4, 1867. Collinge’s birth year was on his headstone, and the month and day were mentioned in the Jersey Journal, July 14, 1933: “Channon Collinge is English, but he was born on the Fourth of July”; and the Times-Union, January 30, 1934: “Channon Collinge, who was born an Englishman, blows out candles on July 4, American Independence Day.” Radio Personalities (1935) said he was “native of Salterhebble, England”. However, a 1904 passenger list and the 1915 New York state census said he was born in Ireland. The 1920 and 1930 U.S. Federal Censuses and the 1925 New York state census recorded his birthplace as England.

According to the passenger list, at, Collinge departed aboard the S.S. Oceanic from Queenstown [Cobh], Ireland, on May 19, 1904. This was his first trip to the U.S. He arrived at the port of New York City on May 26. Collinge was a musician and resident of Dublin.

Collinge has not yet been found in the 1905 New York state census and the 1910 federal census.

The New York Times, January 16, 1936, said Collinge toured, in 1907, the U.S., South America, the West Indies, Cuba and Bermuda.

Collinge was profiled in the Charlotte Observer (North Carolina), July 24, 1932.

Channon Collinge…is well endowed with background, although he is unusually phlegmatic about an unusually exciting youth which included such events as childhood in India, months at sea with a sea-captain uncle, his return to his Yorkshire birthplace at 21 to take over textile mills which ha had inherited, and broken bones sustained in the Irish riots because of his love of a fight.

Fondness of toy instruments as a boy led to proficiency at real ones. At 10 he organized a child orchestra which came to such favorable notice that a fund was raised for its tutelage by a famous teacher and it eventually became the noted Dean Clough Orchestra of Halifax, England. At 12 he composed school operettas and at 20 was a professional musician.

He has been an orphan as long as he can remember and was educated at Dublin University and the Royal Academy of Music. He has been choir-boy, solo violinist, choirmaster, organist, professor and lecturer, writer and cartoonist on American newspapers, and theatrical conductor. In radio he has been continuity writer, producer, program originator, musical coach, and conductor. He has written one grand opera and several operettas….
In the 1915 New York state census, music publisher Collinge was married to Emmie and had three children, Patricia, an actress, Norbert, a student, and Frederick Jr. Also in the household was his mother-in-law, Cecelia Russell. Everyone was Irish and resided in Manhattan, New York City at 406 Central Park West.

Many of Collinge’s compositions were published in newspapers. He was known as “F. Channon” and “F.C. Collinge”.

Collinge’s address in the 1920 census was 98 Central Park West and the household number was unchanged. Collinge’s occupation was newspaper writer.

The New York Tribune’s new comic section was mentioned in The Fourth Estate, March 20, 1920. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Collinge produced Dinny Doodles for the Tribune which began promoting it on March 28, 1920. The series ran from April 4 to August 8, 1920. Information about Collinge’s art training has not been found.

The 1925 New York state census said Collinge’s home was 247 West 104 Street in Manhattan. The 1930 census said Collinge remained on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at 596 Riverside Drive. He was associated with an orchestra and had begun naturalization.

Regarding Collinge’s music career, Radio Personalities said:

Following a tour throughout the United States with an opera company, he joined CBS. For the past six years he has conducted the Cathedral hour, a series of oratorios and classical church music in which he pioneered by introducing choral singing on the air. The Conclave of Nations, which he also conducted, featured the music of a different country at each broadcast. Mr. Collinge has been musical director of the American School of the Air and many other programs. He is an associate member of the Royal Academy of Music in London.
Collinge passed away January 15, 1936. The New York Times said he died after an operation in the Manhattan General Hospital. He was laid to rest at Saint Mary’s Cemetery.

—Alex Jay


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