John Francis Hart was born in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 30, 1867 according to The International Blue Book (Who's Who in the World, 1938). Peter Hastings Falk, in his book Who Was Who in American Art (1985) has the birth year as 1868. Hart was the fourth of six children born to John and Thurza, according to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. The family lived at 163 Queen Street. Hart's father was the great grandson of John Hart, signer of the Declaration of independence, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer obituary published on January 17, 1904.
In 1900 Hart and wife Caroline resided in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania on Woodland Avenue. He was 25 years old when they married, around 1892, according to the 1930 census. His occupation was artist. His father passed away on January 15, 1904; the Philadelphia Inquirer obituary said he was a portrait painter, and department store accountant.
The International Blue Book said Hart "began his professional career as a wood engraver" and "served as a political cartoonist and puzzle editor for many years on the newspapers of Philadelphia and other cities." He contributed cartoons to the newspaper, The Socialist (Caldwell, Idaho). The Labor Press Project website has a Hart cartoon from the July 28, 1906 issue. He did seven drawings for a socialist pamphlet titled U, which was published in Philadelphia around 1909. It can be viewed at the American Left Ephemera Collection; click on "List of all pages" link.
Hart and his wife lived in Philadelphia as recorded in the 1910 census. He was a newspaper illustrator. Who Was Who in American Art said he was an illustrator at the Boston Globe, Philadelphia Record, and other papers. The International Blue Book said he was "ten years cartoonist on Philadelphia North American, five years on Philadelphia Daily Press." For the Record he produced the comic strips Cousin Sammy Green, Chilly Cholly's Ice Cream Dream and Andy and Agnes, among others.
In 1920 the couple and his mother-in-law lived in Philadelphia at 169 Hansberry Street. His occupation was commercial artist at home. According to Who Was Who in American Art, he produced a puzzle cartoon for the Bell Syndicate.
In the 1930 census the couple remained at the same address. He was a newspaper cartoonist. Apparently retired, widower Hart was recorded at the same address in the 1940 census. His nephew, Herbert Hart, was head of the household, and a clerk in the radio industry. He was married with two children. Hart passed away on October 26, 1948. The Lebanon Daily News (Pennsylvania) published the Associated Press story on October 28, 1948.
Well Known Artist Dies in Philadelphia
John Francis Hart, well known artist and newspaper cartoonist, died in Germantown Hospital Tuesday at the age of 81.
A native of Philadelphia, Hart was a cartoonist for the old North American, the Philadelphia Press and other newspapers in the state. He specialized in pastels, watercolors and wood cuts.
Many of his paintings were displayed in one-man exhibitions at Palm Beach, Fla., San Juan, Puerto Rico and Port Au Prince, Haiti.
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