Tuesday, April 09, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Sals Bostwick

Salisbury Edgar “Sals” Bostwick was born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin on June 26, 1902, according to the Illinois Death Index at Ancestry.com. His mother’s maiden name was Salisbury. In the 1905 Wisconsin State Census, he was the oldest of two children born to Sherman and Mildred. His father was a commercial traveler. The Eau Claire Leader, October 23, 1909, noted his childhood illness: “Salsbury [sic] ‘Buster’ Bostwick, son of Mr. and Mrs. S.E. Bostwick, Union street, is improving after an attack of scarlet fever.”

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded the family in Eau Claire at 437 Union Street. His father worked for a rubber company. Bostwick attended Eau Claire High School and was on the staff of the Kodak, the school’s bi-annual magazine, and contributed illustrations and comics. (Some publications spelled his first name without an “i” but his signature clearly shows that letter.)

Kodak 2/1919

Kodak 6/1919

Kodak 1/1920

New Trier, Illinois was his new home, at 1004 Michigan Avenue, as recorded in the 1920 census. His father was the district manager for the rubber company. It’s not clear how long they lived in New Trier. Bostwick was on the Kodak staff in the January 1920 issue, but not in June, which had two illustrations by him. In 1921 he was back on the Kodak staff and graduated that year.

Kodak 1/1921

Kodak 6/1921

Kodak 6/1921

Ron Goulart, in The Funnies (1995), said “…Bostwick was a graduate of the Federal Schools correspondence course in cartooning….” (Charles M. Schulz also enrolled in Federal’s cartooning course; click 1940.) He contributed cartoons to the Eau Claire Telegram. The September 22, 1922 Leader published a two-column advertisement touting his commercial cartooning service. 

About three weeks later, the October 11 Leader reported the following:

Goes to Chicago Tribune
Salsbury [sic] Bostwick, whose cartoons have been running in The Telegram every Saturday, has resigned his position at Gillette’s and will leave this week for Chicago, where he has accepted a position on the Chicago Tribune, working with Frank King of “Gasoline Alley” fame, in cartoon work.

The Leader, December 7, 1923, picked up a story on Bostwick, who resided in Rogers Park, Chicago. 

The Rogers Park Star published the following item on an Eau Claire boy accompanied by an excellent portrait:

The Star considers itself highly fortunate to be able to announce an original cartoon series which will appear each week in the Star by one of Chicago’s most promising younger cartoonists, Sals Bostwick. All the more interest centers on this young artist because he is and has for a long time been a Rogers Park resident. Mr. Bostwick is a protege of E.A. [sic] King, the cartoonist of Gasoline Alley, and the picture we show of Mr. Bostwick is with the original of Skeezie’s “Pal,” Mr. King’s own dog.

Mr. Bostwick runs each week in the Sunday Tribune the highly popular “Heroes of the Week” cartoon. The first of the series will begin in the next issue of The Star. The series will be entitled, “The Cliff Dwellers of Rogers Park.”

Based on the article above, Heroes of the Week began in 1923 and ended in 1925. One Round Teddy debuted in May 1924.

One Round Teddy 12/28/1924

Chicago Tribune 6/28/1925

Goulart said “…After doing strips his own for the Chicago Trib, he was hired away by the rival Chicago American at a yearly salary of $15,000. His first effort for Hearst was Main Street Jed, a daily that began in March 1926….” The Fourth Estate, May 15, 1926, noted the release of the strip: “A new daily comic strip—Main Street Jed by Sals Bostwick—is being prepared for national publication by King Features Syndicate of New York City. Its humorous theme is the small town ‘sheik’—the ‘oft-crowned king of Birdville’s drug store cowboys.’ ” His scheduled visit to Northwestern University was reported in the Daily Northwestern (Evanston, Illinois), September 30, 1926:

Students of Northwestern are to be accorded a rare treat tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. when Sals Bostwick, famous creator of a number of comic strips will deliver a chalk talk and a demonstration of his art from the steps of University hall as a special attraction in Purple Parrot subscription drive.

Mr. Bostwick is the creator of “Floradora,” “In Our Office,” “Heroes of the Week” and other popular cartoons. Sals will appear with Albert E. Gage, art edit of the Parrot, the pair having worked out a novel stunt that Gage claims will be a surprise worth seeing. Jimmy Clarke, Bostwick’s idea man, will also be on deck and he may speak of the manner in which he and the artist collaborate to produce the famous cartoons….

Hailing from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Sals began working on the Chicago Tribune, several years ago. His work found favor with the reading public almost overnight and his rise in the field of comic art has been phenomenal. He is a confirmed Northwestern booster, spending his Summers at one of the fraternity houses here….

Bostwick will demonstrate his art in charcoal and grease paint and will make the typical Bostwick comment on each picture. It is rumored that Sals is looking for a type of girl who will surpass the charm and appeal of his own Floradora and he may find some girl on the campus as a model for the particular type he has in mooned. Mr. Bostwick will do a few portraits of some subscribers to present them to the object of his art.

He produced Room and Board beginning in May 1928. Bostwick passed away February 6, 1930, in Chicago. The Milwaukee Sentinel and Sheboygan Press (Wisconsin), published the Associated Press report the same day:

Young Chicago Cartoonist Dies
Chicago, (AP)—Salisbury Bostwick 27, formerly of Eau Claire, Wis., better known as Sals Bostwick, cartoonist for a Chicago newspaper, died today following an operation for appendicitis.

A family tree at Ancestry.com said he died at the Sovereign Hotel. He was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Eau Claire.


The Bostwick obituary is Editor & Publisher (2/15/30) is more specific about the cause of death. It was appendicitis, but he had been advised by doctors "several weeks" earlier "to undergo an operation, but he continued to work .. When he finally agreed to go to the hospital, he delayed in order to draw enough cartoons in advance until he could sit up in his bed with his drawing board again." For the folks at the E&P, it was Bostwick's commitment to deadlines that cost him his life more than the appendicitis.
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