Tuesday, October 09, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey may have been a common name but, as it turned out, there were very few artists with the Bailey name. Usually I use the keywords cartoonist or artist plus the surname in a search of census records. Bailey plus cartoonist produced Bill's brother Henry/Harry in 1930 and 1940. Bailey plus artist resulted in a William Bailey who decorated tin objects and another William who was born in 1903, too young to have drawn Kiddie Kapers. So there was just one William/Bill Bailey who was a commercial artist and worked in animation. The other possibility is "Bill" was a nickname for a name other than William.—AJ

William Owen “Bill” Bailey Jr. was born on December 9, 1887, in Woods Hole (village), Falmouth (town), Massachusetts. The birth date is from two Massachusetts birth records at Ancestry.com, The American Descendants of Chrétien Du Bois of Wicres, France, Parts 13–16 (1977) and his gravesite. However, Bailey’s World War I and II draft cards have the year 1888. The birth records said Bailey’s father was a signal observer.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Bailey, age 12, was the oldest of three sons born to William, a lieutenant in the Signal Corps, and Mary. Bailey’s brothers were Eugene, 10, and Henry, 8. The family lived in St. Paul, Minnesota at 694 Edmund Street.

According to the 1910 census, Bailey, Eugene and their retired father were Brooklyn, New York residents at 12 Lafayette Avenue. Bailey was an engraver in the jewelry trade.

The 1915 New York state census said Bailey, his parents and siblings, Henry and Dorothy were living in Mount Vernon, New York at 315 North 7th Avenue. Bailey and his brother were artists.

On June 5, 1917, Bailey and Henry signed their World War I draft cards. Bailey resided in Mount Vernon at 317 North 7th Avenue and was an artist in New York City at 20 East 42nd Street; his employer was not named. Henry was married and made his home in Mount Vernon at 406 Union Avenue. Henry aka Harry was employed as an artist at the animation shop, Bray Studio. He passed away in 1958.

The Daily Argus (Mount Vernon, New York), June 25, 1917, reported Bailey’s enlistment, “William O. Bailey, Jr., of 317 North Seventh avenue, a promising young artist and winner of a scholarship at the Art Students’ League in New York, has enlisted in the Ambulance corps and is in training at Allentown, Pa.”

Bailey’s service record, at the New York State Archives’ World War I Veterans' Service Data and Photographs, had his birth information (birth year 1889), parents names and home address. The artist was inducted at Governor’s Island in New York City on June 16, 1917. Bailey was a private in Army Ambulance Corps, Company 567 which was attached to the 40th Division of the French Army. He was stationed at Camp Crane in Allentown, Pennsylvania. On January 8, 1918 Bailey was sent overseas. He was in the battles at Champagne, Marne (July 1918) and Meuse, Argonne (November 1918). Bailey was wounded July 15, 1918 at Champagne Epreuay. He received the Croix de Guerre twice: first at Champagne, Marne, July 15, 1918, and second at Meuse, Argonne, November 11, 918. Bailey was discharged April 23, 1919 at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

The Daily Argus, November 23, 1918, explained how Bailey was wounded.

...From a hospital on July 19, young Bailey wrote home that he was stasioned [sic] just back of the front lines when a terrific fight was commenced. He did not specify the exact sector, but from information subsequently obtained his parents are of the impression that it was at Chateau Thierry, or somewhere between the Marne and the Aisne rivers. It was July 15 and word came for the corps to go forward and get the wounded. For six hours they had been under a terrific gas attack from the Germans, but unmindful of that the ambulance drivers, doctors and stretcher bearers went on. Back and forth went the ambulances, one of which, it is reported, was driven by the Mount Vernon man. While these ambulances proceeded in their humane duty, German aircraft followed them, dropping bombs here and there.

Private Bailey was driving over the shell torn field with some wounded men when he was struck in the chin by a bullet from a machine gun which was attached to one of the Huns’ aircraft. The wound was not of a serious nature, but extremely painful. Howeevr [sic], the Mount Vernonite could not stop there. He continued to the lines and was later taken to a base hospital. He had the satisfaction, it is reported, to see the Hun craft from which the bullet that struck him was fired, brought to the earth, enveloped in flames....
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Bailey produced the Kiddie Kapers panel in 1918 for the National Cartoon Service. It ran into the 1920s through two other syndicates, U.S. Feature Service, and Columbia Newspaper Service.

The 1920 census recorded Bailey, his parents and sister at 317 North 7th Avenue in Mount Vernon. Bailey was a motion pictures artist.

Bailey’s marriage was reported in the Daily Argus, October 4, 1922.

The Bronx, New York City was Bailey’s home in the 1925 New York state census. His address was 3279 Hull Avenue. Bailey and his wife had a one-year-old daughter, Ruth.

Bailey won the Women and Missions’ cover contest; a 1926 issue said

Our “Permanent” Cover
With this first magazine in our third volume, we use for the first time the cover selected in the cover contest held last fall. The artist is William O. Bailey, Jr., of New York. Mr. Bailey’s entry in the competition was chosen by the cover contest committee, first for its suitability—the main essential; second, for its ecclesiastical conception and dignity, and third, for excellence of workmanship and flexibility of use. It is not our plan to use this cover regularly—we shall continue our picture covers, which have proved so popular the past two years. There are times, however, when suitable pictures are not readily available and it is well to have a “permanent” cover to fall back upon. Also, some of our readers have had a bit of regretful fondness for the uniform covers of the “old” magazines, Woman’s Work and Home Mission Monthly, and they have written us of their desire to “see the same cover” occasionally. Again, this new cover will allow us a little more opportunity in the use of color, for not all colors are satisfactory on our paper in connection with all-over pictures. The space occupied on this cover by the picture of the Mount of Olives—a truly Easter view—will occasionally be taken by announcements of articles or verse. A brief account of Mr. Bailey is printed elsewhere in this magazine.
In the same issue was a profile of Bailey.
Mr. William O. Bailey, a professional artist in New York City, was the successful winner of the $50 prize offered in the cover contest held by Women and Missions last fall. Mr. Bailey says that his attention was first directed to the announcement of this competition in the July 1925, Women and Missions by his mother-in-law, Mrs. W. A. Miles of Mt. Vernon, N. Y., a member of the Presbyterian missionary society. Mr. Bailey was baptized a Presbyterian by Dr. Nichols, in St. Louis, and in response to a request for a brief biography, he says emphatically: “I believe in the church and all it represents.”

He was horn in Woods Hole, Mass., in 1889 [sic], and at the early age of thirteen set out to earn his living. His desire for art led him to become apprentice to an engraver but while learning and working here, he went at night to study art in the Art Students’ League of New York. There he won a scholarship, and soon began to “get experience” in the art department of an advertising agency During the World War. Mr. Bailey served overseas, being wounded at the Battle of the Marne. He later returned to the front, and finally went with the Army of Occupation into Germany. He was decorated with two citations for the Croix-de-Guerre.
The 1930 census said advertising artist Bailey, his artist wife and two daughters, were in the household of Walter A. Miles, his father-in-law. Also in the household were Miles’ wife, daughter and two sons. They lived in Mount Vernon at 37 South Eleventh Avenue.

The Bailey family of four made their home in Eastchester, New York at 67 Archer Drive, as recorded in the 1940 census. In 1939 Bailey worked 52 weeks and earned $2,600 as an artist in the theater industry.

Bailey signed his World War II draft card on April 25, 1942. His home address was 305 Sixth Avenue in Pelham, New York. His employer was Paul Terry, located at 271 North Avenue, in New Rochelle, New York. Bailey’s description was five feet ten inches, 145 pounds with blue eyes and gray hair, and “gun shot wound right lower jaw”.

A photograph of Bailey, from a Christmas card, is here.

Bailey’s watercolor paintings were mentioned 
frequently in the Daily Argus. The November 11, 1948 edition reported the exhibition at the Westchester Woman’s Club and said
One is almost immediately in a world of fantasy when viewing a watercolor done by William O. Bailey, showing a steep bluff reaching into the sky with a narrow peak. Overhanging this peak on both sides is a crumbling frame house. Grotesque arms of naked trees are thrust out from either side of the bluff. An unusual sensation of “waiting” for a catastrophe is created by the painting.

Daily Argus 6/1/1949

The Daily Argus, March 14, 1951, said Bailey won a blue ribbon, first prize for his watercolor, “Light Snow”, at the annual Westchester Woman’s Club exhibition.

Bailey passed away May 27, 1964. He was laid to rest at the National Cemetery in Beverly, New Jersey.

—Alex Jay


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