Friday, October 12, 2012


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Blake Haddon

Blake Smith Haddon was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on January 12, 1892. His birthplace was recorded in the U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914, and his birthdate was recorded in the Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985, both at In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the only child of Fred and Jesse, who lived in Lebanon at 810 Chestnut Street. His father was a laundryman. He had a listing in the Lebanon Directory 1909: “Haddon Blake, laundry 1017 Cumberland h 221 S 4th.”

The 1910 census recorded Haddon in Hagerstown, Maryland at 206 Locust Street, where he boarded. His occupation was laundryman. According to the U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, he enlisted on February 18, 1912. His description was five feet five-and-a-half inches, blue eyes and dark hair. He received an honorable discharge February 15, 1915. The Oswego Daily Palladium (New York), February 13, 1915, reported his plans.

Discharged from Army.
Corporal Haddon to Study Drawing in Boston.

Corporal Blake Haddon of Company C, Third Infantry, and well known cartoonist, will be discharged from that regiment tomorrow afternoon. Mr. Haddon will leave for his home in Lancaster, Pa., and will then leave to study his particular line of work at one of the drawing schools in Boston. Mr. Haddon’s drawings, while member of the Third Regiment, have attracted considerable and have appeared in the Palladium. It is said that he had had offers to do magazine work while in Boston and will probably accept.

He has not been found in the 1920 census. In 1930, he lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Tenth Street. He was a “commercial traveler” for a wholesale paper company. The Minneapolis Tribune published his Gopher Tales beginning in October 1935. His follow-up panel was recorded in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 2, Pamphlets, Etc., 1937 New Series, Volume 34, Number 11: “Haddon (Blake Smith)* Minneapolis. Badger tales— © Sept. 23, 1937: A 84589 37761”. The badger is Wisconsin’s state animal. [Badger Tales as yet unfound in any newspaper -- please let me know if you locate it -- Allan]

That panel was followed by one for Iowa. The Ogden Reporter (Iowa), July 7, 1938, announced the new feature.

Nearly everyone is acquainted with the globe-trotting Bob Ripley and daily feature of drawings regarding unusual happenings throughout the world.

Starting this week The Reporter hopes to make its readers as well acquainted with Blake Haddon who, although, not yet a globe-trotter, combines his artistic ability with authentic facts in presenting a feature entitled “Tall Corn Tales”.

This is a sketching which combines words and drawings to tell of little known and unusual facts regarding our own Hawkeye state of Iowa. The facts are all historically correct, and besides being entertaining, the feature will prove of much educational value to readers.

It also offers a means whereby Reporter readers may obtain extra pin money by submitting actual facts to Mr. Haddon who pays one dollar for each historical fact or oddity pertaining to Iowa history which he accepts for publication. Valuable documents should not be sent as he is unable to return any contributions.

Mr. Haddon has run a similar feature pertaining to Minnesota history in the Minneapolis Tribune for the past two years. Instead of giving exclusive publication rights to daily papers in this state he is giving weekly papers the opportunity of purchasing that privilege in each county. The Reporter has such publication rights in Bone county.

These and many other unusual bits of interesting information are contained in the “Tall Corn Tales” feature which starts in The Reporter this week on page two.

The Ogden Reporter (Iowa) 7/7/1938

The Iowa Recorder (Greene, Iowa), June 29, 1938, announced it would publish Tall Corn Tales beginning July 6 and continue for 26 weeks. 

In September 1940 Haddon discontinued Tall Corn Tales in favor of a new feature titled It's In The Bible, which began the first week of October.  

Progress Review (La Porte City, Iowa) 5/1/1941

Haddon was recorded, in the 1940 census, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin at 111 Emery. The cartoonist, who had two years of high school, worked at home. The Iowa Recorder, April 3, 1946 reported the addition of the Bible and yet another Haddon panel.

Two new weekly features are now appearing in this paper. “It’s in the Bible,” by Blake Haddon, is the artist’s non-sectarian portrayal of little known facts to be found between the covers of the “Good Book.” Romance, adventure, politics and statesmanship are linked with modern times and the historical past. Mr. Haddon will pay one dollar to the contributor of any Biblical item accepted by him for use in the future.

Also, by the same artist, is ”Iowa Oddities,” presenting interesting facts about people, places and things throughout the Hawkeye state in pictorial draftsmanship.

The Waterloo Daily Courier (Iowa), May 30, 1946, noted his marriage:

At Caledonia, Minn., May 25, Mrs. Claribel Hendrickson, former Decorah music teacher, and Blake Haddon head of the Midwest Newspaper Feature syndicate, LaCrosse, Wis., were married. Mrs. Haddon conducts piano classes in LaCrosse and Holmen, Wis. Haddon was formerly connected with the Minneapolis Tribune art staff.

The last evidence of It's In The Bible running is found in July 1947, and for Iowa Oddities the latest found is from October 1946, though there is indirect evidence as late a February 1947.

According to the U.S. Veterans Gravesites, Haddon passed away September 18, 1954 and was buried at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery, in Minneapolis; his rank was second lieutenant. A family tree at said he died in New Richmond, Wisconsin.


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