Saturday, September 29, 2018

 

Herriman Saturday


September 24 1909 -- Young heavyweight Jack Sieberg was touted as a coming phenom, but he ended up being a bit of a fizzle. After two wins against other juniors, he was matched up with Salinas Jack Burns, who had a little more ring experience. Let's just say that Herriman was right to be a little skeptical of his chances.

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Friday, September 28, 2018

 

Wish You Were Here, from Nate Collier


This is the only postcard I've ever found from the very able pen of Nate Collier. Evidently it was very early in his career, since he is signing his first name as Nathan, which I've never seen him do. The card maker is not credited, and although it is postally used, the postmark has faded away, so the year is unknown. I'd take a guess that it is from the very early 'teens.

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Thursday, September 27, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Earle K. Bergey


Earle Kulp Bergey was born on August 26, 1901, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania according to his World War II draft card and death certificate, both viewed at Ancestry.com. Kulp was his mother’s maiden name.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Bergey was the seventh of eight children born to A. Frank, a musical director, and Ella C. The family resided in Philadelphia at 2348 North 12th Street.

The Doylestown Daily Intelligencer (Pennsylvania), October 1, 1952, said Bergey “graduated from Northeast High School in Philadelphia and attended the Academy of Fine Arts for four years in Phila.”

The 1920 census said Bergey’s mother was the head of the household of seven family members. Their home was 4312 Eighth Street in Philadelphia. Bergey was a newspaper artist.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 13, 1921, reported the Newspaper Artists’ Association’s annual exhibition and said “E. K. Bergey has a series of atmospheric scenes.” Other artists include Charles E. Bell, Hugh Doyle and C. H. Sykes.

The Evening Public Ledger (Pennsylvania), April 18, 1922, identified Bergey as an usher.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Bergey drew Deb Days from June 20 to November 19, 1927. The Ledger Syndicate strip began with Charles J. Coll, Jr., on April 18, and was written by Litta Mabie.

According to the 1930 census, Bergey was a magazine illustrator who lived in his mother’s household which included three siblings and a brother-in-law. Their residence was in Horsham, Pennsylvania on the township line.

The Doylestown Daily Intelligencer said “Bergey had the distinction of creating the design and banner for the Doayapo Clun, a Doylestown young men’s club in the early ’30s, which was most attractive and artistic.”

Bergey is best known for his pulp magazine and paperback book covers produced throughout the 1930s and 1940s.

Bergey lived in Horsham, at 2902 Easton Road, according to the 1940 census. The self-employed artist was married with three children.

During World War II, Bergey was a Doylestown, Pennsylvania resident who registered in 1942. His description was five feet eleven inches, 205 pounds with brown eyes and gray hair. Apparently Bergey did not serve. The reverse side of his death certificate about military service was blank. (A passenger list, at Ancestry.com, has a Staff Sergeant Earle Bergey with Army Serial Number 13098005 but he was born in 1920.) The Doylestown Intelligencer, February 16, 1976, wrote how the local people contributed during World War II and said “An active promoter of bond sales was Earl J. Frick, who was director of Doylestown High School band at the time. He said ‘bond concerts’ were held throughout the winters. Dramatist Oscar Hammerstein, who lived near Doylestown, helped sell bonds, and Earl Bergey, a local artist, did an oil painting of Gen. Douglas MacArthur that was auctioned to the buyer of the most bonds, Frick said.”

Bergey passed away September 30, 1952, in New Hope, Pennsylvania according to the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer. He had a heart attack at a physician’s office. The obituary said Bergey “was a member of the Doylestown Presbyterian Church and was a 32nd Degree Mason….The Doylestown commercial artist was popular and well-known in this section because the models he used in his creative magazine illustrations were Doylestown boys and girls who were just the types needed to delineate characters.” Bergey was laid to rest at Doylestown Cemetery.


Further Reading and Viewing
Dictionary of Art & Artists
Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists
Internet Science Fiction Database
Wikipedia


—Alex Jay

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Charles J. Coll, Jr.





Charles Joseph Coll Jr. was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on April 15, 1889, according to his World War I and II draft cards.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Coll was the oldest of six children born to Charles, a bookbinder, and Catherine. The family resided at 49 North 36 Street in Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 8, 1907, mentioned Coll’s marriage in Wilmington, Delaware, “Charles J. Coll, of 2021 Ellsworth street, and Miss Jennie D. Corr, of 2226 Manton street, were married here today by Mayor Horace Wilson.”

The 1910 census recorded studio artist Coll, now single, in his father’s household which was in Philadelphia at 4021 Powelton Avenue. Charles Sr. was a “dancing master” who wrote Dancing Made Easy (1919).

Coll signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. Coll, his wife and child made their home in Philadelphia at 5920 Osage Avenue. He was a newspaper artist with the North American. His description was five feet ten-and-a-half inches, 150 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair.

Coll’s address was the same in the 1920 census. The newspaper illustrator’s wife was Agatha and his son, Charles Earl.

American Newspaper Comics said Coll was involved in four series for the Ledger Syndicate. He was the first artist on Deb Days, from April 18 to June 18, 1927. He was followed by Earle K. Bergey on June 20. The series writer was Litta Mabie.




San Francisco Chronicle 4/13/1927

Next, Coll illustrated Flapper Fairy Tales, starting April 21 to May 26, 1929, which was written Ruth Plumly Thompson. Third, Coll was one of four artists on Roy Powers, Eagle Scout which began May 10, 1937. The others were Jimmy Thompson, Kemp Starrett and Frank Godwin. Coll started on the strip in 1938 and ended some time later. According to Coll’s obituaries, he created The Shadow strip which debuted June 17, 1940 and was by Vernon Greene, artist, and Walter B. Gibson, writer. Coll worked on The Shadow comic book which may have been confused with the strip.

McClure’s, March 1928, mentioned Coll’s uncle, Joseph Clement Coll, “…Charlie is a nephew of Joe Coll, recently deceased, one of the greatest pen-and-ink men of them all. His nephew received his early training under him….”

The 1930 census recorded Coll, Agatha and sons, Charles and Robert, in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania at 7117 Hazel Avenue. The same address was in the 1940 census which said Coll was in Cleveland, Ohio in 1935. The self-employed artist had completed one year of college.

For the NEA, Coll drew Myra North Special Nurse which began February 10, 1936. The series ended August 31, 1941. Ray Thompson was the writer. The Illinois State Journal (Springfield, Illinois), July 10, 1936, published a profile of Coll and said in part

…Coll grew up in Philadelphia. It was in that city that he came to the rescue of a fifth grade Christmas party with blackboard sketches of Santa Claus and his reindeer. The grateful teacher told Coll’s mother of the lad’s talent and young Charles was launched on an art career, although football, swimming, fishing and other sports were to claim most of his time for the next few years.

Coll's uncle, Joseph Clement Coll, was one of America’s best known illustrators. To his studio marched Charlie, there to spend long hours under the expert guidance of the famous uncle.

Later, on a Philadelphia paper’s art staff Coll’s pretty girl drawings in the Sunday edition won a big following. He drew “Flapper Fables” and “Campus Capers” and illustrated cover pages for the magazine section. From this job, Coll went to free lance advertising art workm and illustrating magazine short stories and serials and children’s books.

Coll joined N.E.A. service in Cleveland in 1934 as art director of Every Week Magazine. He did outstanding work illustrating serials for Every Week before conceiving Myra North last February.

…Coll lives in Cleveland, is married and has two sons—one in college and one in grammar school. His ambition is mural decoration. He likes golf but admits his stroke with a pen is much more useful than that with a mashie.
Myra North Special Nurse was reprinted in comic books.

On April 27, 1942 Coll signed his World War II draft card. The gray-haired artist was working for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Coll worked for comic book studios and publishers in the 1940s.

Coll passed away January 18, 1949, in Bywood, Pennsylvania, according to The New York Times. His passing was also noted in the Editor & Publisher, January 22, 1949, “Charles H. [sic] Coll, Jr., 58, creator of “The Shadow” and “Myra North, Nurse” comic strips and former art director of Philadelphia Ledger Syndicate and NEA Service, January 18 at Upper Darby, Pa.”


Further Reading
Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists


—Alex Jay

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Litta Mabie



Litta E Mabie was born on September 26, 1882, in Waterloo, Iowa. Her birth information was recorded in the Iowa, Births and Christenings Index at Ancestry.com. Similar birth results were found at the Maybee Society.

In the 1885 Iowa state census, Mabie was the only child of Charles, an insurance agent, and Almira. The trio lived in Waterloo on Lafayette Street near 8th street.

The 1898 Chicago Blue Book included Mabie and her father who resided at 368 49th Street.

Mabie has not yet been found in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. She was in New York state at the time. The Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle (New York), May 24, 1900, reported the recital at the Rhineland School.

A Delightful Recital by the Pupils in Vocal and Instrumental Music.

A most delightful musical event took place at Rhineland School, Hooker Avenue, on Wednesday evening. It was a recital by the pupils in music of Miss Kate S. Chittenden and Dr. John C. Griggs….The school is under the management of Prof. Fish, and the character of the entertainment points to undoubted success of the institution as a preparatory school….We cannot undertake to give to detail the many excellent things heard, but one of the features of the evening were the contralto solos of Miss Litta, Mabie….
An item in the Daily Times (Troy, New York), January 6, 1902, said “Miss Litta Mabie of New York is the guest of Miss Celeste Foote [of Plattsburgh].”

According to the Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index, at Ancestry.com, Mabie and Felix Mendelssohn married on December 22, 1903.

The 1910 census said Mabie had two children, Dorothea and Theodore. Her husband was a lithographic salesman. The family and two servants were in Chicago at 5529 Michigan Avenue.

The 1915 New York state census was enumerated June 1. Mabie and her daughter were Manhattan, New York City residents at 348 Central Park West. Mabie’s marital status was not indicated. Two months later, a marriage license was issued to Mabie and Clarence L Bach on August 3 as recorded in the New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes at Ancestry.com.

In 1917 Mabie sang in Chicago. One of her performances was advertised (below) in the Chicago Tribune, October 26. On December 2, the Tribune said “Litta Mabie Bach, who recently had a debut with Mr. Dunham’s, will sing with the Edison in its January concert.”



The Brooklyn Standard Union (New York), November 26, 1918, said Mabie was in the cast of “Upstairs and Down” at the Fifth Avenue Theatre.

Mabie performed on stage as Eva Goldschmidt in “The Gentile Wife” which was reviewed in Theatre Magazine, February 1919. The play opened in late December 1918.

Mabie, Clarence, Dorothea and servant were at 260 Riverside Drive in Manhattan as recorded in the 1920 census. Mabie’s husband was president of a film company.

On March 19, 1923, Mabie returned from Bermuda. The passenger list said her home address was 225 West 71st Street.

The 1925 New York state census had Mabie’s address as 170 West 74th Street. She and her daughter were unemployed. The status of Mabie’s husband is not known.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Mabie wrote the series Deb Days which was distributed by the Ledger Syndicate. The strip debuted with art by Charles J. Coll, Jr. on April 18, 1927. He was followed by Earle K. Bergey who drew the strip from June 20 to November 19, 1927.

San Francisco Chronicle 4/13/1927

At some point Mabie and her daughter sailed to Europe. On their way home they departed from Genoa and arrived in New York City on January 12, 1928. Their address was 17 East 82nd Street in Manhattan.

Mabie’s engagement to Percy C. Ludlam was announced in The New York Times, April 29, 1928. Their marriage was on September 26, 1929 in Manhattan according to a 1929 issue of Home Journal, “Bach—Ludlam. September 26. Mrs. Clarence L. Bach, of New York, the former Miss Litta Mabie, daughter of the late Charles E. Mabie, to Mr. Percy Clifford Ludlam, of New York, son of the late Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Ludlam; at the home of the bridegroom’s sister, Mrs. Charles Oakes.”

In the 1930 census, Mabie’s home was in Manhattan at 118 East 93 Street. Her husband was a publicity and advertising salesman and her daughter a saleslady at a retail hat store.

Mabie’s fourth marriage was to Henry C. M. Supplee. Their marriage license was issued in Manhattan on January 6, 1932.

According to the 1940 census, the couple were residents of Hawaii in 1935. Their home in 1940 was Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 1961 North Summit Avenue. Mabie’s husband was a U.S. Army colonel.

PM (New York, New York), January 15, 1942, profiled Supplee and at the end said “He is married to the former Litta Mabie, niece of the late Hamilton Wright Mabie, American critic. They have no children and live on Governors Island.” The New York Times, December 31, 1956, published Supplee’s obituary which said “in World War II [he served] as Commander of Special Services at Governors Island. He was assigned to Fort Niagara when he retired, in Aug. 1943.” Supplee died at his home in East Orange, New Jersey, 176 South Harrison Street. He was survived by Mabie and two step-children.

The Maybee Society said Mabie passed away around August 1964. A brief obituary was published in the Chicago Tribune, August 6, 1964, “Mrs. Litta M. Supplee, a soprano who performed with the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra in the 1920s and later wrote a syndicated column ‘Deb Days’ for the society pages of the Philadelphia Public Ledger; in East Orange, New Jersey.”


—Alex Jay

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Monday, September 24, 2018

 

Obscurity of the Day: Deb Days





As it is with many actual debs, Deb Days is lovely to look at, but that's where the attraction ends. The more time you spend, the more vapid the subject seems.

Deb Days debuted from Philadelphia's Public Ledger Syndicate on April 18 1927*, a product of writer Litta Mabie and cartoonist/illustrator Charles J. Coll. Coll's art on the strip is superb (see top two samples), but Mabie's writing spoils the fun. It becomes apparent very quickly that Mabie feels nothing but disdain for debutantes, which is fine unless you have contracted to write a freaking daily comic strip about them. She writes only about their faults and foibles, taking great joy out of unmasking their every inadequacy. What's more, Mabie's writing itself is grating. She feels the need to put "hashmarks" around every "dratted" "term" that she "fancies" could be considered "slang". It "drives one bonkers", "I guarantee".

After a few months Coll had evidently had enough of the torture of reading her scripts and begged off the assignment. Replacing him on June 20 1927 was Earle K. Bergey. Bergey was fresh out of art school, and this was his most high profile assignment to date. He would go on to become a highly respected and prolific painter of pulp and paperback covers in the 1930s and 40s.

The young Bergey's art was quite good, but he hadn't learned how to draw women with the sex appeal that he would display later in his career. Mabie's scripts kept up the same boring anti-deb drumbeat, but thankfully some editor was now somewhat curtailing her annoying use of double quotes. The series was cancelled with the release of November 19 1927, probably mourned by no one including the creators.

Ink-slinger profiles for all three creators are to follow this week, so stay tuned.


* Source for all dates: Philadelphia Evening Ledger.

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Allan, what a pleasure to find your research bearing on the overlap of artists, C.J. Coll and Earle K. Bergey. Deb Days presents an interesting moment in the earlier years of Earle K. Bergey's career, though I'd suggest it is a bit more interesting in content than you concede, having reviewed all of the panels beyond what you reproduce here. The language is certainly dated, as is the humor, but there's a clear attempt at modernity to the women protagonists and situations of this strip—smart, savvy women who determine their own paths with a sense of freedom that is in keeping with the times of the early to mid 1920s. No great ground is broken, but Mabie was being politely subversive in an enjoyable way that recalls an early Anita Loos. However, the main reason I am writing is to straighten the narrative regarding this period of Earle K. Bergey's career. Young indeed, Bergey was already quite accomplished by this time in terms of his published art, including but not limited to his confident depictions of women that anticipate his work to come through the early 1950s. Your readers would benefit to see the paintings he was producing at the Academy in the early 1920s, his many newspaper illustrations and naughty interiors of magazines like Laughter if we're talking "sex appeal." An entire year before this strip even hit the presses, Bergey was producing cover paintings for the influential pin-up title, Paris Nights, where he overlapped with Enoch Bolles and Charles Hargens. This strip is a happy aberration in the course of Earle K. Bergey's career, but rather like a swansong to his work in newspapers than some "high profile" project, especially in the artist's own assessment of his trajectory. It doesn't make sense to judge his depictions of women, what he may or may not have learned, or the vitality of his greater career at this time period, in the mid to late 1920s, by several dozen wonderfully accomplished panels of a pen and ink strip that serves a specific audience (and author) with paid-for illustrations of society people dressed in tuxes and gowns. Sex appeal wasn't the point. Again it's exciting to see these rare images coming to light again; so thank you for giving Bergey attention!
 
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