Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Ink-Slinger Profiles: F.R. Morgan

Fred Royal Morgan was born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on February 8, 1885, according to Wisconsin Births, 1820-1907 at Ancestry.com. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the oldest of two sons born to Joseph and Jennie; the family lived in Chippewa Falls at 426 Chippewa Street. In the Wisconsin State Census 1905, Morgan was a newspaper artist, presumably for one of the Wisconsin papers. His father's name was recorded as Vesper.

A selection of strips from, top to bottom, April 12 and 13, and May 8 and 10, 1913.

The 1910 census recorded Morgan in Chicago, Illinois at 6059 Ellis Avenue. He was a newspaper artist. His comic strip, The Nut Club was distributed in 1913 by the Western Newspaper Union. The Trenton Evening Times (New Jersey) published the strip beginning on April 12 and ending on May 11; it was published daily except Fridays but included Sundays. The Nut Club replaced O.U. Chump by "Gosh". (O.U. Chump has been attributed to Pete Llanuza, but I believe Myer Marcus was the artist.) The strip was also published weekly in Kentucky newspapers Mt. Sterling Advocate and Breckenridge News; both papers can be found at Chronicling America.

He signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He was employed as a mechanical draftsman at the Chicago Northwestern Railroad. His description was short height, medium build, brown eyes and black hair. He and his brother, Robert, resided at 1321 North Dearborn. On the back of the draft card Robert wrote, "I personally know that the registrant has a bad chronic infection of second turbinate bone sending a constant discharge." Morgan suffered from a chronic nose infection.

Morgan has not been found in the 1920 and 1930 censuses. For the McClure Syndicate, he produced Dolly the Drummer in 1925. He passed away on September 14, 1947 in New York City. The Brooklyn Eagle (New York) reported his death on September 16.

Fred R. Morgan, Cartoonist, 62

Fred Royal Morgan, 62, cartoonist and freelance commercial artist, died Sunday night in the Roosevelt Hospital, Manhattan, after a brief illness. He resided at the Hotel Diplomat.

Mr. Morgan, a native son of St. Paul, Minn. [sic], was a son of the late Vesper Morgan, Judge of the Circuit Court of Wisconsin, and formerly lived in Chippewa Falls, Wis. After studying at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, he did political cartoons for the Chicago American and drew a comic strip called "The Nut Club," which was syndicated by the Western Newspaper Union.

Later, coming to New York, he worked for the New York Evening Graphic, one of his duties being drawing of cartoons in which he rated the popularity of vaudeville acts at the Palace Theater. After leaving the Graphic he became associated with the New York Daily Mirror. In recent years he had specialized in commercial art.

Surviving are a brother, Robert C. Morgan, of Garden City, publisher of The Travel Agent and the American Travel, trade magazines.

It should be noted that this is not the Fred Morgan who drew editorial cartoons for the Philadelphia Inquirer for many years in the first quarter of the century. 


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