Saturday, July 02, 2011


Herriman Saturday

Tuesday, February 4 1908 --The Unholz-Nelson fight is today, and in Herriman's Today in Sports feature he eschews the usual round-up approach to his coverage and concentrates the whole space on this boxing story.

Wednesday, February 5 1908 -- The fight is over and Unholz has bested Battling Nelson in a 10-round decision. Nelson went to the mat in the first, but there is question about it being a slip than an actual knockdown. According to observers, Unholz did make a great showing, and despite the winner being unofficial (a city ordinance somehow forbade it), there was no question of which of the two had earned a shot at Joe Gans. However, both fighters would end up in the ring with Gans before the year was over.


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Friday, July 01, 2011


Ink-Slinger Profiles: B. Cory Kilvert

Benjamin Sayre Cory Kilvert was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on April 14, 1879, according to his World War II draft card. Kilvert's son, Benjamin Sayre Cory Kilvert Jr., wrote, "As a very young man, Kilvert left Canada to study at the Art Students' League in New York City, where his instructor was Robert Henri….Kilvert was extremely well known for his illustrations that appeared in many books and magazines in both the USA and Canada from approximately 1902 to the mid 1930's."

Kilvert's illustrations of children were highly praised in The American Printer, December 1902 issue.

It may not be a difficult task for an artist to limn the figure of a child, but it is quite a different thing to draw children as B. Cory Kilvert draws them. This young artist delineates the soul as well as the material, and his work promises to make his name famous. His drawings in each instance reflect the child-soul of his model. He could hardly have selected a field that is more difficult to the average artist. Mr. Kilvert has done other work and well, but in none does he seem so gifted as in this portrayal of child character. It was really his depiction of the mischievous boy that first brought him to the attention of the art world, in which he has since played a conspicuous part. His realization of the juvenile is natural, and consequently shows much of what may be termed originality. Instead of striving for some ultra effect, Kilvert draws children as they exist, and draws them artistically, adding, perhaps, a capricious sentiment of Kilvert that does not detract, but accentuates, the reality of the drawings.

That Kilvert has made a study of his subject must be evident to any one who ponders his work. That he is the closest of students is shown in each of his drawings, but that he has a natural talent for this important feature of his work cannot be denied. He is a mere youth himself, and has always had a big, soft spot in his heart for children. True he has studied them and their inconsistent characteristics, but never without a real interest in the children themselves. The result is that he draws as he knows the child to be, and delineates the child-soul as he has found it, and his work is clever and unique and ingenious, and always truly artistic. He has nor endeavored to create a new type that one would call the "Kilvert boy" or the "Kilvert girl." He has satisfied himself with Nature's creation and has given it to us, and we are pleased because he has done so. Nature is a great artist, and her work is difficult to improve upon. Kilvert realizes this fact. Each piece stands for some phase of child-life that none can fail to appreciate, even if one is naturally not of a very artistic bent.

B. Cory Kilvert is young and will certainly place himself among the celebrities of his field. He is a native of Canada, having been born in Hamilton, Ont., in 1879. It is said that he was a mischievous boy himself and got into more than one scrape for drawing caricatures of his schoolmates. Three years ago [1899] he joined the art department of the New York Evening World, which he left to accept a place with Harper & Brothers.

Recently he has been free-lancing, his work appearing in Harper's, Collier's, Outing, Frank Leslie's Monthly and the Metropolitan. In the last-named magazine much of his child-work has appeared, Editor Maxwell, a well-known art connoisseur, being much impressed with young Kilvert's drawings, of which he said, "Each is a miniature history of the race and each a thing of cleverness and beauty." The line which is Kilvert's specialty has practically no limit. Already he has studied the characteristics of the children of other than American nationality, and he draws them in the same clever manner that he does Michael Dooley or the others shown here.

Kilvert's comic strip Buddy Spilliken's Diary was published from October 11 to November 29, 1908.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Kilvert, his wife Elise, daughter Dorothy and a servant lived in Woodbury, New York on Pine Hill Road. He had been married a year and his occupation was artist. His comic strip Dorothy and the Killies was published in the New York Press from 1914 to 1915. On a return trip from Canada, visiting his mother in March 1919, Kilvert's address was recorded in the manifest as 50 West 55th Street, New York, New York.

The Kilverts lived in Washington, D.C. at 1627 New Hampshire Avenue as recorded in the 1930 census. He had divorced first wife and remarried, around 1928, to Helen; they had two children, Janice and Cory B. Jr.

Kilvert signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. He lived in Manhattan, New York City at 130 East 67th Street and was self-employed. His description was five feet, eleven-and-a-half inches, 180 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair.
The New York Times noted his passing on March 31, 1946.

B.S. Cory Kilvert

Artist Did Humorous Cartoons for Original Life Magazine

Benjamin Sayre Cory Kilvert of 876 Park Avenue, an artist whose humorous cartoons formed a feature of the original Life magazine, died here Friday [March 29]. His age was 65.

Born in Hamilton, Ont., Mr. Kilvert came to this country in 1900 and studied at the Art Students League. He illustrated many children's books and at one time was a member of the staff of The World. He was a son of Francis Edwin Kilvert, former Member of the Canadian Parliament and Collector of Customs of Hamilton.

He leaves a widow, Mrs. Helen Foss Kilvert, formerly of Nyack, N.Y.; a son, Benjamin S.C. Kilvert Jr., and two daughters, Janice Kilvert and Mrs. Jonathan Duncan.

A biography of Kilvert, written by his son, can be found at's GenForum.


Hello Allan, I am curious if you have found any of the St. Louis Star political cartoons (or any others) by Harry J. Tuthill, (The Bungle Family). I couldn't figure out how to search your blog for Tuthill. Thanks, Stan Henderson
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Thursday, June 30, 2011


Obscurity of the Day: Earl

Some of the hardest features to track down are those that are self-syndicated to smaller rural papers. It's surprising how many are lurking out there, flying under the radar, sometimes for decades at a time.

One that I just discovered recently is Earl, a very funny panel that was sold mostly to rural weeklies out west. The star of the show is a modern day cowboy who suffers the trials and tribulations of ranch life in a way that can produce laughs even for a city slicker like me. Some of my favorite Earl cartoons are those featuring the 'Cosmopolitan Bride', Earl's newly wedded wife from the big city. There's also the unusual motif of 'branding' many of the animals with descriptive names, a cute little conceit that works surprisingly well. The art is a little rough, but I think the humor more than makes up for it.

The creator, a real life cowboy, is Wally Badgett, but he signs his work M.C. Tin Star (the M.C. stands for Miles City, Montana, of which he was sheriff for a time).

The only newspaper samples I have of the feature are from 1997-99 in the Circle (MT) Banner paper, but the series must have started earlier as the first reprint book of the feature was out by 1995. Reprint books of Earl must sell pretty well because there have been a total of fourteen of them, the latest published in 2004. I don't know if Badgett is still actively selling Earl as a newspaper feature, but he does still have a website for selling books and calendars.


Hi there! Just discovered your site. I'm Wally's daughter - and wanted to share that he's just started releasing new remastered books and has calendars and notepads as well. The new website is :

He's got thousands of cartoons in his library and still draws daily - and usually still has a wreck or two a week.

Thanks for your post!
Thanks for the update. Maybe you could tell us some history of the newspaper feature -- like when it started and ended? Thanks, Allan
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011


News of Yore 1915: Stuart Carothers, His Rise and Fall

Carothers Making Good as Cartoonist
[Daily Fayetteville Democrat (Arkansas), 8/21/1915]

Stewart Carothers, of Chicago, formerly of Fayetteville, is the author of the Charlie Chaplin [sic: Chaplin's] Comic Capers, which are now appearing daily and Sunday in sixty metropolitan newspapers in the United States. Besides the daily Charlie Chaplin comic strip, Mr. Carothers has a full page in colors in each Sunday issue of the Chicago Herald, portraying the antics of the movie comedian of international fame, Charlie Chaplin, and another of his creations, The Haphazards of Helene [sic: Movies of Haphazard Helen].

The Chicago Herald has the copyright for the Charlie Chaplin Comics, and is said to be deriving a handsome profit from the sale of exclusive rights to the feature. Mr. Carothers is now well up on the salary list of the Herald staff, being second only to the sporting editor, the city editor and the managing editor.

Mr. Carothers attended the public school of Fayetteville and was later a student in the University. His cartoons have appeared in a number of issues of the Cardinal, the University Annual. His brother, Neil Carothers, is Associate Professor of Political Economy and Sociology in the University of Arkansas.

Cartoonist Falls to Death at Loop Hotel
[Chicago Daily Tribune (Illinois), October 4, 1915]

Stewart W. Carothers, Herald cartoonist, who drew the Charley Chaplin pictures, was killed early this morning by falling out of a window at De Jonghe's hotel.

His body was found at 3:30 o'clock by Policeman Fisher, who was walking through the alley in the rear of the hotel.

R.A. Skinner of 4441 Walden street and H. Bergum of 912 North Mozart street were with Carothers during the night. They went to De Jonghe's about 1 o'clock, where Skinner and Bergum registered. Carothers accompanied them to their room on the fifth floor.

Carothers was invited to remain in the room on account of the lateness of the hour.

Skinner and Bergum occupied the bed, and Carothers laid down on a couch.

How he happened to fall from the window is not known. Skinner and Bergum did not know of his death until informed by Lieut. James McMahon.

Policeman Fisher said he walked through the alley at 2:30 o'clock and the body was not there at that time. On his next trip he stumbled against the body that lay on the cement pavement at the north end of the hotel.

Will Be Buried in Mississippi.

Mrs. Neil Carothers Goes to Starkville to Attend Son's Funeral.
[Dallas Morning News (Texas), 10/5/1915]

Austin, Texas, Oct. 5—Mrs. Neil Carothers, director of the woman's building of the University of Texas, accompanied by her daughter, Miss Katherine, left today for Starkville, Miss., to attend the funeral of her son, Stuart W. Carothers, who was killed yesterday by falling from the fifth story of a hotel in Chicago. Mrs. Carothers was advised by telegraph yesterday of the accident and instructed that the body of her son be taken to Starkville, Miss., for internment.

At the time of his death Mr. Carothers was employed on the Chicago Herald as a cartoonist and was making rapid headway in his profession. While a student in the Austin High School he gained distinction among the students for his ability to do free hand drawing. Finishing his high school course, he attended the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, where his brother, Neil Carothers, was teaching and who is now a teacher at Princeton. Going to Chicago three years ago he took a course in the Chicago Art Institute.

Stuart Carothers Buried.
[Times-Picayune (Louisiana), 10/9/1915]

Starkville, Miss., Oct. 8.—The body of Stuart Carothers, whose death occurred in Chicago early Monday morning resulting from a fall from a fifth-story window of his hotel, reached Starkville Wednesday night and was taken to the residence of Prof. A.M. Maxwell, his uncle.

His mother, who is in charge of the Woman's Building of the University of Texas, arrived early Wednesday.

The funeral service was held at the residence of Prof. Maxwell. Rev. F.Z. Browne, pastor of the Presbyterian Church, assisted by Rev. W.A. Jordan and T.H. Lipscomb, officiated. The interment was in Odd Fellows cemetery.

[Stuart Wallace Carothers was born in Tennessee in February 1893, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. He was the third of three sons born to Neil and Carrie, whose maiden name was Wallace, as recorded in the Lineage Book (Daughters of the American Revolution, Volume LIV, 1905). The family lived in McNeil, Arkansas. In 1910 Carothers lived with his mother and sister in Austin, Texas at the University Woman's Building; his mother was the head of the household and a widow. He was unemployed. (I believe "Stuart" was the preferred spelling based on both census records, the Dallas Morning News, and Times-Picayune articles.) Eventually Carothers found work at the Chicago Herald newspaper where he did a comic strip based on Charlie Chaplin, and originated Movies of Haphazard Helen (Billy DeBeck claimed he created this feature, but that's untrue -- Allan). Both strips were continued after Carothers' death; one especially bright light who got his big chance was a very young and raw E.C. Segar, who turned in some really amateurish work on the Chaplin strip. A photo of Carothers can be viewed at Popeye's Thimble Theatre Homepage.]

Carothers' last Charlie Chaplin strip.


Doing some genealogical sleuthing, and discovered that this man was my great uncle.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Obscurity of the Day: Animalgrams

Last week Alex Jay posted a bio of George Hopf which cited his return to newspaper comics in the 1930s with a feature called Animalgrams. I had never seen this feature, and added a comment that I could not vouch for its existence. So naturally a bunch of good folks had to point out how woefully underinformed I am.

Properly chastened, here's a few samples of Animalgrams submitted by Alex Jay. These appeared in a New York Herald-Tribune-distributed Sunday magazine section titled This Week. The magazine was copyrighted to a United Newspaper Magazine Corporation, presumably a company associated with the  Herald-Tribune. It's a good thing these panels are bylined, because Hopf's signature on these could easily be mistaken for that of Syd Hoff.

Alex Jay says that Animalgrams ran in This Week (as seen in the Cleveland Plain Dealer) from January 31 1937 to June 12 1938, the longest run found to this point.

Thanks to all who wrote in with information about the run of this little oddball item!


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Monday, June 27, 2011


Ink-Slinger Profiles: J.R. Bray

Corpus Christi Caller and Daily Herald (Texas) 6/24/1916

John Randolph Bray was born in Addison, Michigan on August 25, 1879. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, he was the second of two children born to Edward and Sarah; his father was a minister. The family lived in Rollin, Michigan. According to World Who's Who in Commerce and Industry (1936), he attended the Detroit School for Boys, and the Detroit School of Art. In Who's Who in New York City and State, Volume 10 (1938), Bray was a student at Alma College in Michigan.

In 1900 Bray was the second of three children; he was in school. The family lived in Detroit, Michigan at 37 Prentis Avenue. In World Who's Who in Commerce and Industry, he was a cartoonist at the Detroit Evening News in 1901. The date of his move to New York City is not known. Who's Who in New York City and State said he continued cartooning at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from 1903 to 1904. On his twenty-fifth birthday, he married Margaret Till in Detroit, according to a 1924 passport application. He left the Eagle and contributed to a number of periodicals from 1905 to 1913. Bray found success in 1907 with his drawings of Little Johnny and the Teddy Bears, which was written by Robert D. Towne; they were published in Judge, a weekly magazine. The success of this series was reported in the Daily Capital Journal (Salem, Oregon) on August 24, 1907:
…From the first publication of these pictures the circulation of "Judge" went rushing upward by thousands of copies per week and it is still continuing to do so. 
More remarkable than this, however, is the demand for their publication in book form. The Reilly & Burton Co., of Chicago, recently secured the book rights to this series and their bare announcement to book sellers that they had done so sent the orders for 500,000 copies. 
This is the most phenomenal record of sales known to the book world and according to all precedent in book publication means at least an ultimate sale of 3,000,000 copies….
Proceeds from the book and other work provided Bray with the means to purchase a farm, which was reported in the Poughkeepsie Daily Eagle (New York) on March 9, 1909.
Mr. John Randolph Bray, who has gained fame as the creator of "Johnny and the Teddy Bears," which he draws for "Judge" every week, has bought the J.P. Whitley farm on Vineyard Avenue, Highland; and together with his family and father, the Rev. E.A. Bray, will make his home there in the future. The farm consists of about 80 acres, is delightfully located and abounds in historic and artistic hills, which fact induced Mr. Bray to make the purchase. The purchase price was $10,000. There are three houses, a good barn and other out buildings on the place and also a number of fruit trees. It is reported that Mr. Bray will erect several studios and towers among the hills on the west end of the farm….
According to the 1910 census, Bray was a farmer in Lloyd, New York; the household included his wife, the cook Bertha Abels and her son. An animation pioneer, he produced his first short, The Artist's Dream, in 1913; his filmography can be viewed at the Internet Movie Database. Additional information about Bray Studios is at the Bray Animation Project website. A profile of Bray, in the Corpus Christi Caller and Daily Herald of June 24, 1916, can be read at Chronicling America. He signed his World War I Draft draft card on September 12, 1918. He lived in Manhattan at 611 West 112 Street, apartment 6F. His occupation was "President Bray, Motion Pictures" at "Bray Studios, Inc." His description was medium height, slender build, brown eyes and hair.

In 1920, Bray, his wife and maid lived at 611 West 112 Street. The census recorded his occupation as "president" in "motion picture making". At the time of the 1930 census, Bray lived in Norwalk, Connecticut at 94 Winfield Street. He gave his occupation as an artist making paintings. Shortly after the United States entered World War II, Bray signed his draft card on April 27, 1942. He lived at Sasqua Hills, East Norwalk in Connecticut. His employer was Bray Pictures Corp., at 729 7th Avenue in New York City.

Bray's wife, Margaret, passed away on January 16, 1968, as reported by the Bridgeport Post (Connecticut) on the same date. A little over ten-and-a-half years later, Bray passed away on October 10, 1978. His death was reported in the Seattle Times on October 12, 1978.
John Bray dies; inventor-cartoonist 
Bridgeport, Conn.—(UPI)—John R. Bray, a newspaper cartoonist credited with inventing some of the animated-cartoon processes that gave Mickey Mouse life, has died at his home.
Bray, who moved to Bridgeport several years ago, died Tuesday. He was 99. 
Bray's career as a cartoonist began in 1901 with The Detroit Evening News. From 1903 to 1904, he served as a cartoonist for the former Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Between 1905 and 1913, he contributed cartoons to Life, Puck and Judge magazines and McClure Newspaper Syndicate.
In 1910, he invented a process improving on animation methods invented three years previous, and in 1912 he introduced some of the first animated cartoons in theaters around the nation. Almost all of the early animators, including Walt Disney, used his processes.
The book, American Silent Film: Discovering Marginalized Voices, edited by Gregg Bachman and Thomas J. Slater, has an excellent chapter on Bray, his studio and some of the cartoonists who worked for him; it can be viewed here.


Thanks Alex. Looking at the picture at the top of the post, all I can think of is, "Gee, would it KILL you to smile for the camera, John?"
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Sunday, June 26, 2011


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics



Please let Jim know Doralya and I are going on a cruise next weekend which means more cigars coming his way!


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