Friday, February 24, 2012

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Bill Chase

William Charles Chase was born in Brinkley, Arkansas on July 20, 1910. His birthplace was named at Salute to Pioneering Cartoonists of Color. His birthdate was recorded at the California Death Index and U.S. Veterans Gravesites, both at Information on his childhood has not been found.

Chase has not been found in the 1920 and 1930 U.S. Federal Censuses. The date of his move to New York City is not known. said he was a "graphic artist", who studied at Howard University, and exhibited in the Harmon Foundation's 1933 show. The Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance, Volume 1 (2004) has an article on the Harmon traveling exhibition.

Dark Laughter: The Satiric Art of Oliver W. Harrington (1993) named Chase as an art director and cartoonist at the New York Amsterdam News Magazine.

…Among the sixteen contributors listed and pictured in the full-page advertisement were four cartoonists: E. Simms Campbell, prominently featured and the best known at the time; William Charles Chase, the art director; the prolific Jay Jackson; and Ol' Harrington. Beginning in the newly inaugurated tabloid section. New York Amsterdam News Magazine, on 25 May [1935], Harrington's first Dark Laughter panel appeared, alongside a full-page series of cartoons by Campbell called Harlem Sketches, a small panel by Chase about modern young women appropriately titled Modernettes, and what would prove to be a long-running illustrated serial novel by Jackson about an exotic woman named Tisha Mingo (which opens interestingly in a Chicago bawdy house)….

A sample of his Pee Wee strip is here. A passenger list at recorded Chase's voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. Aboard the S.S. Paris, he sailed, on August 28, 1936, from Southampton, England. He arrived in New York City, September 4. His date and place of birth was "July/20/1911 Brinkley, Ark." and his address was "208 W. 149th Str — N.Y.C.", which was in Harlem. Presumably he spent time in Europe. One of his sports cartoons is here and an editorial cartoon is here.

According to the U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records at, Chase enlisted July 11, 1943. His birth year was "1911". He was single without dependents, and had "4 years of high school". His occupation was categorized under "authors, editors, and reporters".
Some time after the war, Chase moved to San Francisco, California, where he passed away on March 1, 1956.
The Plaindealer (Kansas) published news of his death March 9, 1956.

Frisco Editor Dies

San Francisco—(ANP)—Bill Chase, 45, editor of the San Francisco Independent, died in his office Thursday morning, apparently of a heart attack.

Chase was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas, attended Howard University and Traphagen School of Deign in New York.

He was well known as a cartoonist and formerly served as society editor of the Amsterdam News in New York City, where he lived for a time.

He became editor of the Independent in January, 1955.

On March 8, Chase was buried at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York, according to U.S. Veterans Gravesites.

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