Monday, September 27, 2021


Selling It: Uncle Abner Says


At first blush you'd think Uncle Abner Says, a panel that ran from 1936-38, is just another one of those ubiquitous panels of cracker-barrel wisdom like Abe Martin, Ching Chow or their many copycats. When you look over the gags, though, you find that ol' Abner is a bit of a one-note local yokel. He's pretty gosh darn unhappy about the gov'ment, specially the way they pick his pocket with them goldurn taxes. And not just his pocket, by cracky, he's fuming over the way that Roosevelt feller is taxing big corporations, too!

Hey, wait a minute now. A bewhiskered rustic like Abner complaining about taxes? Well, sure. But concerned about corporations? Hmm, that seems a bit out of character. I hate to even suggest it of such a kindly old soul as Abner, but .... could he be on the take?

I hate to be the one to break the news, but it's true; Abner is a shill. He doesn't say a word that isn't bought and paid for by secret interests. Not surprisingly, those interests just happen to be big corporations. To lay all the cards on the table, Uncle Abner Says was a production of Six Star Service, a newspaper syndicate created by the National Association of Manufacturers*, a trade association and lobbying group of big businesses. They sent out propaganda material like this to newspapers free of charge: the newspaper filled some space with something mildly entertaining for free, and the manufacturers got their message out surreptiously, without running ads that few would bother to read. You might call it a win-win situation, except there were losers involved -- the newspaper readers who got a daily brainwashing session from what seems like an innocuous panel cartoon. 

This sort of hidden advertising material was usually sent out in small batches, but in the case of  Uncle Abner Says it was a full blown daily panel that ran for a very long time. I can track it from June 22 1936 to April 30 1938**, an unheard of almost three year run.

For almost the first year the feature was unsigned, but finally in March 1937 Nate Collier was allowed to start signing his work. I'm a big fan of Collier, but his talents, which skew to the goofy, are utterly wasted on this panel. But hey, it put food on the table at the Collier household, no foul there. I also feel sorry for Nate if he was tasked with creating all these gags, which get pretty darn monotonous in their one-note dirge for lower taxes. Not only did Nate have to write six gags a week on the same subject, but undoubtedly had to submit them for review to some corporate minister of propaganda who last smiled when Herbert Hoover was elected.  

* Source: reported in Pittsburgh Press, June 26 1936.

** Sources: start date from Belvidere Republican, end date from Edinburg Courier.


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Sunday, September 26, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from August Hutaf


This is another in August Hutaf's 1907 collection of apple cards produced for the A.B. Woodward Company. 

The Baldwin apple is practically forgotten today, but was once one of the most popular apples in North America. Baldwin apples tended to be on the smallish side, quite hard but delicious. They were prized also for shipping well, being very resistant to blemishes, and keeping for long periods. Not just a hand fruit, they were also standouts for baking and making cider.

According to Wikipedia, the Baldwin apple is lost mainly because of a bad New England winter in 1934 which wiped out most of the trees. Red Delicious and other apples took the Baldwins place in the market, and the New England Baldwin orchards were never replanted. Few Baldwin trees are left, but it could stage a comeback as an heirloom variety.


When Raymond Baldwin (successfully) ran for Governor of Connecticut in 1938, he issued campaign pins that featured his name on the background of an apple. It's highly likely that folks in Connecticut in that era got the joke.

The Great Hurricane of 1938 probably didn't do the apple orchards any favours, either.
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Saturday, September 25, 2021


Herriman Saturday: February 16 1910


February 16 1910 -- The big Johnson-Jeffries fight is still many months away, but Herriman accurately reflects the feverish anticipation.


Have you seen the word "jodie" anywhere else?
Not a clue here.
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Friday, September 24, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: The Marrying of Mary


Thornton Fisher had a long cartooning career, but his salad days were definitely the mid-1910s at the New York Evening World. One of his longest running strips there was The Marrying of Mary, featuring a couple of obnoxious parents and a beautiful young girl (well, as beautiful as Fisher's limited artistic ability could manage, anyway). Objective was the matrimony of young Mary, which would be as easy as falling off a rock if it weren't for all the 'help' inflicted by her parents.

This was a plot that Fisher beat to death in several strips over the years. Why he kept saddling himself with drawing supposedly gorgeous young gals when  his pen just refused to draw such things I dunno. He did have the sense to keep Mary off-stage an awful lot for a title character, thus saving himself the trouble on a frequent basis. In that he was a lot like Cliff Sterrett with Polly and her Pals, whose gorgeous young thing was similarly made into a supporting character in her own strip; Sterrett was one heck of an artist, but at cheesecake was just as much of a bust as Fisher. 

The Marrying of Mary debuted on June 11 1914, and ended on May 1 1915 with the surprise elopement of Mary. During a subsequent half-year honeymoon Fisher put a different strip through its paces, but then Mary and her new hubby returned in a new strip, Mary's Married Life, which we'll 'obscurify' as well one of these days.


Hello Allan-
You're right about the supposed beauty of Polly. If you see the earliest version of her in POSITIVE POLLY, it would seem Sterrett wasn't trying to make her attractive, she's an ordinary plain Jane.
But when it became Polly and Her Pals, then he goes wrong. He had a weak idea of what should pass for attractive; my brother Cole described her as a "foot-face."
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Wednesday, September 22, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Hap Hadley

Chalk Talk and Crayon Presentation

Alvan Cordell “Hap” Hadley was born on March 16, 1895, in Findlay, Illinois, according to his World War I and II draft cards and The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography (1980) which named his parents, Albert Russell and Ada May (Hedges) Hadley.  The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Hadley, his parents and two younger siblings in Findley. Hadley’s father was involved in life insurance. 

In the 1910 census, the Hadley family of eight resided in Muskogee, Oklahoma, at 221 South Cherokee Street. Hadley’s father was a real estate agent.  

The National Cyclopaedia said Hadley was a very young artist who took a correspondence course. He was sixteen years old when he ran away to enroll in an art school in Kalamazoo, Michigan. When Hadley returned home he got a job at an engraving company. The 1916 Muskogee city directory said Hadley was an artist at the Acme Engraving Company. When Hadley signed his World War I draft card, on June 5, 1917, he named the Acme Engraving Company, 214 Wall Street, where he was a manager. Hadley lived in Muskogee at 570 North 7th Street. 

A Marine Corps Muster Roll, at, said Hadley enlisted on July 28, 1917, and was stationed with Company “D”, Marine Barracks, Paris Island, South Carolina. In November he was stationed with the Marine Corps Recruiting Publicity Bureau, 117 East 24th Street in Manhattan, New York City. The National Cyclopaedia said Hadley produced special service posters for the Marine Corps. He was discharged on May 24, 1919. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Hadley created Marty the Marine for the New York Herald. The strip debuted November 18, 1918. On July 20, 1919 the series was retitled Marty Muggins and ended on May 16, 1920. For the New York Evening Telegram, Hadley produced Devil Dog Dave from January 1 to December 31, 1919. 

According to the 1920 census, Hadley was a newspaper cartoonist who lived in Manhattan with the Lowenfeld family at 103 West 80th Street. 

On April 28, 1920 Hadley married Dorothy Uttley in Manhattan. Their wedding was reported in the Fourth Estate, May 1, 1920 and Muskogee Daily Phoenix and Times-Democrat, May 9, 1920. 
Romance Enacted on Gotham Stage: Proved to Be the ‘Real Thing’
Mrs. Alvan C Hadley who before her marriage was Miss Dorothy Uttley a New York actress. Mr. Hadley, who formerly lived here, is a cartoonist on The Sun and New York Herald. What was only a postlude to an audience after the performance of “What’s in a Name?” at the Lyric Theatre, New York City, April 28, was in reality a prelude to a wedding which occurred on the stage immediately after the performance. 

All the beautiful scenic settings of the play, “What’s in a Nome?”, were put to practical use for the marriage of Miss Dorothy Uttley one of the members of the company and Mr. Alvin C. Hadley, a cartoonist on the staff of the Sun-Herald. The ceremony was performed by the Reverend C. N. Mollei of Trinity parish. The bride, who was one of the attendants on the Empire Bride in the musical production, wore for the ceremony the elaborate gown of the 1830 bride which she wore in the show. 

Miss Uttley’s maid of honor was Miss Corone Payhtor, another of the brides of the company. She was attended by her sister Miss Constance Barnes, Miss Beatrice Milner, Miss Muriel Manners and Miss Frances Tumulty all of whom are members of the “What’s in a Name?” company. The best man was Jack Vincent, the dancer of the company. Mr. and Mrs. Hadley had intended to be married very quietly but when the news of the event leaked out the fellow players of the bride insisted upon a stage wedding. They arranged the details with genuine enthusiasm at the idea of having a real bride in the scene which had only been make-believe. Mrs. Hadley was presented with a mesh bag containing 150 in gold. The company which produced the show served a wedding supper on the stage. 

Mrs. Hadley is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Uttley, 103 West 88th street, New York. She has an uncle and aunt Mr. and Mrs. Clinton Uttley who live in Muskogee at 608 North E. street. Mr Hadley is the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. A. R. Hadley, 627 North Seventh street and is a cartoonist with the Sun-Herald of New York.
Knickerbocker Press 8/5/1923

Their marriage ended in divorce on September 19, 1930. They had two children, Alvan Cordell Jr. and Diane. 

The 1930 census said commercial artist Hadley lived alone in Manhattan at 205 West 81st Street. 

According to the National Cyclopaedia, in 1920, Hadley did a chalk talk as part of the Greenwich Village Follies. After a year the Follies toured the country. Hadley’s illustrations for the Greenwich Village Follies appeared in the Seattle Star, May 3, 1922; Great Falls Tribune, May 14, 1922 and May 15, 1922. Hadley was an artist for D.W. Griffith during the 1923 production of America. Hadley did the cover art for four issues of Mystery Magazine. His newspaper work included the New York Sunday American where he drew a weekly theatre art review (1924) and the New York Daily Mirror (1925). For the next five years he worked for the Capehart-Carey Advertising Agency where he did theatre advertisements for New York publications. In 1930 he opened the Hap Hadley Studio which grew into a staff of twenty and made movie advertising and theatre art. Hadley did the movie series How They Started for Film Daily

The Connecticut Marriage Record, at, said Hadley married Nina Leahman on September 10, 1936 in Greenwich. She passed away in September 1937. Hadley’s third marriage was to Margaret Keegan in 1939 in New Jersey. 

The 1940 census said the couple lived in Manhattan at 230 East 48th Street. Hadley was a commercial artist who operated his own studio. His World War II draft card, signed on April 27, 1942, said his studio was at 165 West 46th Street; his home address was the same. Hadley’s description was five feet ten-and-a-half inches, 168 pounds, with brown eyes and gray hair. 

The 1951 International Motion Picture Almanac had a listing for Hadley. 
Hadley, Hap: Commercial Artist, b. Flndlay Ill., March 16, 1895; e. art schools. Acted on stage and screen; cartoonist and commercial artist. Proprietor, Hap Hadley Studio, motion picture adv., pictorial posters, designs. 
The National Cyclopaedia said he was a member of the Lambs, the American Motion Picture Association, and the Advertising Club. 

Hadley passed away on August 4, 1976, in New York City. He was laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery
Hap Hadley Fox Comedy ad art, courtesy of Mark Kausler



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Monday, September 20, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: Marty the Marine / Marty Muggins


Alvin* "Hap" Hadley joined the Marines in World War I, and his cartooning ability kept him safely behind a drawing board during the conflict, where he did publicity material for the Corps. While still in the service Hadley developed a valuable fan, an editor at the New York Herald. In early 1918 he began submitting cartoons about military life that were run occasionally in the Sunday feature section of the paper. 

While still in uniform Hadley graduated to penning a regular Sunday comics series for the Herald and a separate daily strip for their evening paper, the Telegram. To please his primary employers, both strips were about Marines and showed the service in a generally favourable light.

The Sunday series was Marty the Marine, and it began on November 10 1918. It originally began appearing in a special Sunday war section of the Herald. Recruit Marty was constantly in trouble with his superiors, but Hadley made sure to lay the blame squarely on him and not the service. On February 16 1919 the feature was moved into the regular comics section, upgrading it from a tabloid feature to full page. In July Marty was discharged (probably at the same time as Hadley was) and the strip was retitled Marty Muggins. The strip didn't miss a beat, showing that Marty could make just as much of a mess of things in civilian life. 

Hadley's style may not have been technically all that great, but the energy, panache and joie de vivre of his work practically leapt off the page. Hadley could no doubt have made a fine career as a newspaper cartoonist, but it was not to be. On May 16 1920 Marty Muggins took his final bow, a casualty of Hadley wanting to pursue other interests. He had found himself mesmerized by the stage and screen. He married an actress, and after a brief stint in acting himself, Hadley found his ideal niche in producing art for shows and movies. Eventually he became a noted movie poster artist, producing among many others some iconic images for Buster Keaton and Chaplin movies. Information about his movie poster career can be found here

* Apparently sometimes spelled 'Alvan.'


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Sunday, September 19, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from Fontaine Fox?


This card is the exact size and paper type as a postcard, but blank on the back. This product of the Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago is actually what is known as an arcade card. The arcade machines (here's a list of the many machines that were produced) would, on deposit of a coin, allow you to play a little game, or watch a mechanism do something, and in the end you'd get an arcade card or a piece of candy or whatever. 

This card is unsigned, but the style of those babies seem to be the work of Fontaine Fox. The widow is less 'Foxy', so I'm not going to claim to be sure. 

The card is undated, but I can't imagine Fox would have been looking for extra work like this much past the 1910s.


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Saturday, September 18, 2021


Herriman Saturday: February 15 1910


An old neighbourhood speed ordinance, long ignored, has now been revived. Trolley cars in certain Los Angeles neighbourhoods are now limited to speeds no greater than eight miles per hour. Commuters in good shape can keep up with the trolleys now if they keep a jaunty pace.


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Thursday, September 16, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Carl Zeisberg


Carl Francis Ludwig Zeisberg was born on September 25, 1891, in Lexington, Missouri, according to his World War II draft card and death certificate, which named his parents: Francis J. Zeisberg and Catherine Binder. 

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Zeisberg, his parents, older brother and younger sister in Bristol, Tennessee, at 1131 Windson Avenue. His father was a German emigrant and music teacher. His mother’s name listed as Clara. 

In the 1910 census the Zeiberg family resided on Valley Street in Abingdon, Virginia. 

Zeriberg attended Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. He contributed art to the school’s yearbook, The Kaleidoscope 1909 and 1911. He continued his education at the University of Virginia. Zeisberg drew around fifty illustrations for the 1912 yearbook, Corks and Curls. The Phi Gamma Delta, 1913, said he was a member of the Omicron Chapter

Soon after graduation, Zeisberg got a job at the Baltimore Sun. About a year later he was a reporter at the Philadelphia Evening Ledger. For the Evening Ledger, Zeisberg drew The Geometric Kids from May 31 to June 12, 1915. The writer was Collins. For about two month in 1916, Zeisberg filed reports on the First Brigade of Philadelphia (composed of the First, Second and Third Regiments) as it traveled south to Texas. 

Evening Ledger 7/14/1916

On June 5, 1917, Zeisberg signed his World War I draft card. An Army Transport Service List, at, said he was a private in Company “F”, 316th Infantry, which departed from Hoboken, New Jersey on July 9, 1918. In late May 1919, Zeisberg was headed home. The Evening Ledger published excerpts from Zeisberg’s diary on May 30, 1919; May 31; June 2; June 3; and June 4

Editor & Publisher, August 21, 1919, said Zeisberg joined the editorial staff of the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin

The 1920 census said newspaper writer Zeisberg was a Philadelphia resident at 119 South 52nd Street. After the census enumeration, Zeisberg married Frances C. Mitchell in Philadelphia. 

Zeisberg did the cover of The Virginia Reel, May 15, 1920. He also contributed articles to magazines such as the Atlantic Monthly

According to the 1930 census , the Zeisbergs lived in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania at 305 Paxson Avenue. Zeisberg’s occupation was newspaper cartoonist. 

An entry in the Directory of the Living Alumni of the University of Virginia, 1931, Volume 423, said Zeisberg was the class of 1913. 
Zeisberg, Carl F. L., 09-13, B.S. 305 Paxson Ave., Glenside, Pa. Feature Editor & Cartoonist, The Evening Bulletin, Philadelphia, Pa.
Zeisberg was a table tennis enthusiast who became president to the United States Table Tennis Association in the 1934–1935 season. His remarkable and controversial role in table tennis is explored in great detail at Team USA, USA Table Tennis

The 1940 census said Zeisberg was an assistant city editor. He and his wife lived at 430 Sylvania Avenue in Abington, Pennsylvania. 

Zeisberg passed away on June 7, 1950, in Philadelphia. An obituary appeared in the Baltimore Evening Sun, June 8, 1950. 
Carl F. L. Zeisberg, 58, former Baltimore newspaper man and an editorial staff member of the Evening Bulletin, died of a heart attack late yesterday in Pennsylvania Hospital. A native of Missouri, Mr. Zeisburg attended the University of Virginia, where he contributed to undergraduate and alumni publications then and later have become a university tradition. 

On Sun Staff in 1913 

He began his newspaper career with the Baltimore Sun in 1913 and a year later worked for the Evening Ledger here before serving with the Army in World War I. He joined the Bulletin staff in 1919. Mr. Zeisberg served on the Bulletin at various times as a rewriteman, copy reader, picture and city editor. An authority on table tennis, he contributed an article on the subject to the Encyclopedia Britannica. He made his home at Ambler. His wife, Mrs. Frances M, Zeisberg, survives. 
Zeisberg was laid to rest at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery


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Wednesday, September 15, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: The Geometric Kids


If Flatland had comic strips in their newspapers, The Geometric Kids might have been quite popular. Unfortunately for artist Carl Zeisberg and writer "Collins", their strip ran in the Philadelphia Evening Ledger, with an audience firmly entrenched in the third dimension. The novelty of a comic strip about characters made up only of circles, rectangles and lines wore out pretty darn quickly, and sputtered out after a mere two weeks. Birth, May 31 1915, unmourned death, June 12. 

Zeisberg had one other series published in the Evening Ledger which lasted a bit longer, but otherwise he never made any impact I know of as a cartoonist. "Collins", the one-named writer, is unknown to me.


Hello Allan-
Would this be considered a local, one paper series? The Ledger Syndicate would appear to begin about 1919 with Somebody's Stenog finding it's way into several papers, but the Evening Public Ledger had cartoons like this one before that.
As far as I know these early Ledger strips never appeared anywhere else. --Allan
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Monday, September 13, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: Dear Dad and his Daughter


When Winsor McCay defected to Hearst, his new duties included penning weekday strips in addition to his Sunday In the Land of Wonderful Dreams and editorial cartoons (not to mention moonlighting with animation). Perhaps due to overwork, the weekday strips tended to be, for McCay at least, relatively simple productions graphically. 

Dear Dad and His Daughter, also known as He Meant Well and (as can be seen above) episode-specific titles, ran from November 28 to December 27 1912, making it one of McCay's shorter-lived weekday strips. It concerns a father who constantly puts his foot in his mouth around daughter's beaus. Does he do it intentionally to chase them off, or is he just clueless? You be the judge.


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Sunday, September 12, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from Grace Drayton


A Reinthal & Newman card (coded #174) drawn by Grace Drayton under her married name of Weiderseim. Okay, so the cherub is supposed to be German, based on the cap and the beer stein. "Gesundheit" is German. But what does that have to do with the kid in the stein? What's the gag here?

Maybe I need to start a new blog: Postcards I Don't Understand. Hmmm, catchy!


A toast, as well as a blessing for a sneeze.
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Saturday, September 11, 2021


Herriman Saturday: February 14 1910


One of California's premier authors of her time, Gertrude Atherton is pretty well forgotten today outside History of American Literature courses. In February 1910 she made a pronouncement that men in the U.S. are so uninteresting from a psychological viewpoint that she would no longer use them as characters in her novels. Whether she actually stood by that resolution I leave as an exercise for readers. She wrote quite a few more novels after 1910, but the titles don't give them away as featuring American males, and that's as far as my research shall go.


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Thursday, September 09, 2021


Kelly's Kids: August 6 1899


Kelly's Kids comes to an end with no particular fanfare, just a scattering of kids running away from a mad dog. Outcault would take a long semi-vacation after this, penning only a miscellany of minor panels and strips for the section for months on end. The only other series for 1899 (and it may be stretching the definition to call it that) was Persimonville, a little panel series of considerably less ambition than Kelly's Kids starring black characters. Then almost a year after Kelly's Kids ended the short-lived Gallus Coon would be his World swan song. Outcault was moving again, this time to the Herald.

What a cacophony!
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Wednesday, September 08, 2021


Kelly's Kids: May 21 1899


A delightful episode of Kelly's Kids has them learning about the wonders of electricity. How novel was it in 1899? Broadway was first lit up experimentally in 1880, and Edison opened up a power plant in 1882 that could power a whopping 5000 electric lights. By the 1890s some homes were electrified, but probably none in the Kelly's tenement district.

Hello Allan-
In the nineteenth century, Electricity was not generally understood by the greater public, it's possibilities were mystifying, and possibly terrifying. In an 1889 PUCK magazine, a cover cartoon showed Electricity as a marauding monster, coming down a street, shooting out lightning bolts, killing people right and left.

Full electrification of our country took a bit longer than people think. My Great-grandfather lived in a large city in New England, but he didn't have electricity installed until 1934.
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Tuesday, September 07, 2021


Kelly's Kids: May 7 1899


Kelly's Kids have a May Day party in Central Park. Miraculously, the park survived.

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Monday, September 06, 2021


Kelly's Kids: April 30 1899


An almost full page extravaganza for the Kelly Kids, and now Li Kellie, who has been featured a few times, is paired with the Green Kid.

Hello Allan-
In this sample page we see a McDougall editorial cartoon mocking Boss Croker of Tammany Hall, whom I will assume meant little to St. Louis readers. But the Post-Dispatch got their section was from the parent paper, the New York World, unaltered save for the Masthead and the name cut from the pageheads.
As Pulitzer didn't have a newspaper chain, I've always wondered what their first client paper might've been, or, where the third Pulitzer comic section might've been.
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Sunday, September 05, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from Jim Davis


Another Garfield card published by Argus Communications, this one coded P3020.


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Saturday, September 04, 2021


Herriman Saturday: February 10 1910


Eagle-eyed readers will note that as of last Saturday, we were covering March 1910 on Herriman Saturday, and yet today we've receded by a month. Well, it turns out that my computer has been playing a practical joke on me, throwing some (but not all!) of my final batch of Herriman scan files into a sub-folder for no particular reason at all. I just now happened to notice its existence, and found the rest of the February 1910 scans there. So it turns out that Herriman was not on hiatus at all, it was just my computer playing hide-and-seek. 

So today we return to the auto show, on which Herriman reported and drew quite a bit. Today's contribution is a set of caricatures of the more colourful auto trade reps.


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Friday, September 03, 2021


Kelly's Kids: April 16 1899


Kelly's Kid is now officially the Green Kid; we are missing the April 9 installment, so that may have been the first in which the kid got that name. The Green Kid doesn't seem to be consciously self-referential, so is Outcault making fun of his old character or is he making an ill-advised attempt to create a knock-off of his own creation?

Hello Allan-
In those really early years, the Yellow Kid was the first superstar, and though he was tossed to and fro betwixt Hearst and Pulitzer, I think the Pulitzer guys just couldn't let it go. Recall that while Outcault was over at Hearst in 1897, they did the Yellow Kid one better; Two Yellow Kids, in the form of twin terrors George and Alek. Or was it Mike and Alek? Forget right now. They would go through various adventures,like heading out for the Klondike gold rush, all drawn by our friend George B. Luks.You could tell it was not a labor of love, they were so badly mis-shapen they had to have been created by committee.
At this point, I'd guess the YK was cooling down, or now tangled in publishing rights with Hearst or something. Maybe Outcault thought he could make lightning strike twice with his own "Green New Deal." ouch.
Is that someone else's signature just below the kid who's being tossed from the horse?
Hi Jon -- Looking at the higher resolution version, it seems like Outcault might have re-inked a few of those rocks and grass blades with a heavier line. Maybe the idea was to indicate the shadow of the kid on his way to the ground?

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Thursday, September 02, 2021


Kelly's Kids: April 2 1899


By April 1899 we've had some changes. First, the (unofficial) title of the feature is no longer Kelly's Kindergarten; it is now The Kelly Kids, or in some instances, Kelly's Kid. The Kelly Kid is the infant on stilts in the center of the panel; he is the first-born son of Michael Kelly, a big man in the neighbourhood. He'll gain a new name in the next installment...

Note also the addition of the 'name face kids', a really bizarre set of characters. When all together, they number four -- Anna, Ada,Otto and Bob. Maybe they should be called the Palindrome Kids.

Hello Allan-
Isn't the stilted kid aka "The Green Kid?"
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Wednesday, September 01, 2021


Kelly's Kindergarten: December 18 1898


The teacher has been banished! What a lovely Christmas present for the kindergartners. From now on in the series, school is no more than a cozy spot to rest in between outings.

The telegram delivering kid will become a new regular addition to the cast. Cole's samples take a long hiatus now, see you tomorrow four months later!

Pity he died about twenty years before, Charles Dickens would love this series.
Is the "4 11 44" on the clock an intentional joke? (See:
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Tuesday, August 31, 2021


Kelly's Kindergarten: December 11 1898



Outcault gets the jump on Christmas, and the kindergartners selflessly sacrifice their Sunday to visiting the teacher at home.

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Monday, August 30, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: August Hutaf

August William Hutaf was born on February 25, 1879, in Hoboken, New Jersey, according to his World War I and II draft cards and Social Security application. His parents were Herman A. Hutaf, a German emigrant, and Wilhelmina Poppe, a New York native. 

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census recorded Hutaf and his parents in Hoboken at 116 Bloomfield Street. His father was a porter.

According to the 1900 census, Hutaf, his parents and maternal grandmother resided in Jersey City, New Jersey at 213 Handcock Avenue. Hutaf was a letter painter or sign writer. Information about his art training has not been found. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Hutaf drew four series for the New York World. Superstitious Smith ran from November 22, 1903 to April 14, 1904. Hutaf drew Fun in the Zoo from November 13 to December 25, 1904. The series was continued by Charles W. Kahles, from February 26 to July 23, 1905. In 1908 Just Truck had a short run from August 14 to 29. For the New York World’s Press Publishing, Hutaf produced the panel Wild Life Limericks, in 1917. Also in the 1900s, Hutaf produced a large number of postcards here, here, here and here

The New Jersey Marriage Index, at, said Hutaf married Jennie Barnes in 1904. At some point they moved. 

Hutaf was a Mason

The 1910 census said the couple resided in Norwood, Ohio at 2219 Hudson Avenue. He was an artist at a lithography company. 

Printers’ Ink, December 10, 1914, said Hutaf was the art director at the A. M. Briggs Company, official poster solicitors. 

The 1915 New Jersey state census listed artist Hutaf and his wife in Weehawken, New Jersey at 785 Boulevard East. 

Hutaf was a member of the Society of Illustrators and the Dutch Treat Club

Hutaf was included in Judge’s Artistic Alphabet, September 1, 1917. 

Art by Hutaf

Hutaf signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. His address was 1 31st Street in North Bergen, New Jersey. He was a self-employed commercial and poster artist. Hutaf was described as tall, stout build, with blue eyes and light hair. 

The same address was in the 1920 census and advertising artist Hutaf owned the house. The 1930 census said it was valued at $20,000. 

Printers’ Ink, June 23, 1921, said 
August W. Hutaf is now associated with the Ivan B. Nordhem Company, of New York, outdoor advertising . Mr. Hutaf has bee vice-president of Einson Litho., Inc., and was formerly art director of the United States printing and Lithograph Company of the William H. Rankin Co.
The 1940 census said Hutaf had been a resident of Weehawken, New Jersey in 1935. Hutaf suffered some kind of breakdown and was a patient at the Hospital for Mental Diseases in Secaucus, New Jersey. The census said his highest level of education was the eighth grade. It’s not known when he was released. 

On April 27, 1942, Hutaf signed his World War II draft card. He was with his wife at 225 78th Street in North Bergen, New Jersey. His description was six feet one-and-a-half inches tall, 230 pounds, blue eyes and gray hair. 

Hutaf passed away on October 28, 1942, in Hoboken. 

Further Reading
The National Magazine, December 1916 
Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco


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Sunday, August 29, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from August Hutaf


Here's another entry in August Hutaf's "Apples" series, done for A.B. Woodward Company in 1907. I've never heard of a drunk being referred to as a ripe apple, but okay Mr. Hutaf, I'll play along. Were you running out of apple ideas? Getting to the bottom of the barrel, shall we say?


At the risk of being "Captain Obvious," the term "ripe" was a synonym for being drunk, so that's why the word is in quotes, here.
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Saturday, August 28, 2021


Herriman Saturday: March 30 1910


March 30 1910 -- A bizarre non-story with at best a tiny grain of truth behind it brings Herriman out of his semi-vacation period, in which his contributions to the paper disappear for days and weeks at a time. 

Lewis S. Stone, appearing in a local play, owns a bulldog. Said bulldog is accused of having killed a goat. Maybe that much is actually true, though I wouldn't lay odds. But the story then goes on to discuss a supposed oral deformity of the bulldog, a death wish on the part of the goat, and a major court battle in the offing. This story is obviously playing for laughs, and that's fine, but the whole thing seems to be a shaggy dog (and goat) story from the git-go, which is generally frowned upon in the journalistic profession. But then again, we're talking about Hearst...

Just to be fair, I searched the other LA papers that are available online, and none of them reported on this story. 


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Friday, August 27, 2021


Kelly's Kindergarten: December 4 1898


Teacher #3 looks like a real pushover to me. I predict a trip the emergency room is in his near future. 

By the way, surely yesterday someone identified the masthead cartoons as the work of George B. Luks?

Hello Allan-
The chilly reception the kids give their latest temporary teacher is characterized as a "Klondike greeting", because this was also the time of the Yukon gold rush. Klondike was a hot new word, or even a concept, and would be referenced constantly in popular media, quite a lot in comic sections, for instance.
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Thursday, August 26, 2021


Kelly's Kindergarten: November 27 1898


Notice those great little cartoons in the masthead, signed GBL? First person to identify the cartoonist gets 100 internet points.

George B. Luks?
100 points to "Right on the Mark" Johnson.
I notice this is a few months after the Spanish-American War. That explains shooting the ink at Spain, and the question on the blackboard.
Active fighting with Spain had pretty much stopped with the complete crushing of the Spanish fleet and the capture of Cuba in July, but when this comic section was published,the war technically was still on, actually ending with the Treaty of Paris on 10 December.
During the spring and summer, there had been some amazing anti-Spain cartoons in this same space, like a raging monster matador surrounded by "bubbles" that had various Spanish atrocities depicted within, or a MacDougal cartoon of 13 year-old King Alphonso kicking Admiral Segasta down the cobbled streets of Madrid!
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Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Kelly's Kindergarten: November 13, 1898


The new teacher has arrived, and he has smartly outfitted himself with a pistol and shotgun. Perhaps he will succeed in taming these wild animals.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021


Kelly's Kindergarten, October 30 1898


Teacher certainly didn't age well since last week, and who could blame her?

Kelly's Kindergarten was essentially a rehash of a series that Outcault had created for the Philadelphia Inquirer, called The Country School. Even a few of the characters are re-used, like the kid with the bandages on his head.

This is pretty timeless. Just add some cell phones, laptops and a TV on the wall and you've got a 21st c.entury classroom (Maybe minus the coal fired stove)
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Monday, August 23, 2021


Obscurity of a Fortnight or So: Kelly's Kindergarten


Pretty much anything R.F. Outcault produced is worth an extended look, even one of his more obscure series. With dozens of gags and bits of funny business shoehorned into each installment, Kelly's Kindergarten is definitely a series that rewards long and leisurely study. Luckily, Cole Johnson sent me a treasure trove of examples of this series, so we will depart in this case from our usual custom of running just a few samples. Over the next couple weeks we'll run Kelly's Kindergarten as a weekday feature of the blog. 

Outcault's stardom began in the Sunday funnies of the New York World in 1895 with the Hogan's Alley pages, but as most any comics fan knows, not much more than a year later he was was lured away by Hearst. What is less well known is that Outcault continued bouncing around from paper to paper, ending up back at the New York World in the period 1898-1900. Kelly's Kindergarten was produced during this second act at the World

The series brings Outcault back to the subject that brought him fame -- depicting the raucous lives of New York City tenement kids. The series began on October 16 1898 and was initially set in the classroom though that would eventually become too confining for Outcault. The first installment (above) introduces us to some of Outcault's new characters. He would add to the cast throughout the series, coming up with some truly bizarre ones along the way, like the kids whose faces spell out their names. There will also be a character who refers back to Outcault's original superstar.

Kelly's Kindergarten, later Kelly's Kids, would run until August 6 1899, and Cole has supplied us with the first and last episodes, and lots in between. So keep reading, and enjoy!


Thanks for the wonderful strips you have been publishing.
I read somewhere, I think Alfredo Castelli's Here We Are Again, that Oucault also had a strip entitled "Nonsense", do you know anything about it, any samples?
Marco --
Was not aware of this, but I checked Here We Are Again. Castelli mentions a panel called "A Nonsense Rhyme" running in September - December 1901 in the NY Herald by Outcault. He credits Bill Blackbeard's collection as his source for the info.

According to OSU's index of the Blackbeard NY Heralds, a panel by this name ran from September 15 to December 15 1901.

If anyone has a good quality scan of one of these, I'd love to see it.

Also a not-so-good run would be appreciated. I'd be happy to post it here:
Neat strip but just how old were kids in kindergarten in 1898?!
Thanks for sharing. Always a pleasure to read.
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