Monday, June 17, 2013


Ink-Slinger Profiles: Evans Krehbiel

Evans Llan Krehbiel was born in Chicago, Illinois on April 5, 1914, Chicago, Illinois, according to Who’s Who in the Midwest (1945) and the Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index at He was the only child of Albert Henry and Dulah Marie Llan Evans. An undated photograph of Krehbiel and his father in Park Ridge, Illinois is here.

His earliest published work were poems. Poetry, July 1918, published four poems by him: “That Little Girl Next Door”, “Logic,” “Travels” and “Trees.” In the end notes it said: “Evans Krehbiel, who was not yet four years old when he reeled off his poems to his mother, is the son of two Chicago artists who lived partly in Santa Monica, Cal.” “Trees” was the first poem in Mabel Mountaler’s book Singing Youth, published by Harper’s in 1927. The Springfield Republican (Massachusetts), September 15, 1927, reviewed the book and printed Krehbiel’s “Trees.”

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, he was recorded with his mother and aunt in Santa Monica, California at 1248 Fourth Street. His father was in Park Ridge where he had his own painting studio.

Krehbiel has not been found in the 1930 census. Who’s Who said he was a student at the American Academy of Art in 1936, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago from 1936 to 1940; while attending the Institute he met his future wife, Rebecca Falconer.

The 1940 census recorded him and his parents in Maine, Illinois at 315 Touhy Avenue. His father was a professor at the Art Institute, and he and his mother were artists. Krehbiel had three years of college.

Krehbiel found work at the Chicago Tribune which published his Bush Berry in its comic book section. The strip began April 27, 1941 then underwent a slight name change to Speed Berry on October 12, 1941. It ended August 29, 1943. 
For Publishers Syndicate he produced Wilbur Wackey, which ran from 1944 to 1945. Original art for his unsold strips Bitsy and Little Halo can be viewed here.

Shortly after Berry began, his future wife was getting her start in the Tribune. According to the Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, Illinois), April 19, 2000: “…Beginning in March 1941 under the name ‘Becky,’ Rebecca [Falconer] illustrated the nationally syndicated Chicago Tribune feature, ‘Dear Diary,’ for 15 years.”

His engagement to Rebecca was announced in the Tribune, June 5, 1946. Just over two years later, July 14, 1948, they were married, according to the Tribune, July 22, 1948.

Who’s Who said he was an artist of magazine cartoons, water colors, and lithographs; and a writer of short story continuities for syndicates. His memberships included the Art Institute of Chicago Alumni Association, and the Chicago Magazine Cartoonists’s Association, the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the Artist Guild of Chicago. He was a Republican and Episcopalian.

His mother passed away July 24, 1951 in Evanston, Illinois.

The Daily Herald said: “…In 1963, the couple moved with their four children to Geneva [Illinois].”

Krehbiel passed away November 1976, in Illinois, according to the Social Security Death Index. An obituary has not been found. On April 22, 2000, the Tribune reported his wife’s passing. She had devoted time promoting and restoring the work of her artistic father-in-law, Albert Krehbiel, who passed away in 1945.


I have three additional dates for the Speed Berry comic page - September 19th, September 26th and October 3rd, 1943. These are from the Boston Sunday Post. Cliff
Was it the BOSTON POST or the BOSTON HERALD? I didn't think the POST took Chicago Tribune stuff.
Hi Cliff --
Sounds like the Boston Post was doing a better job of printing all the Trib strips in this period than the Trib itself (no great surprise there -- the Trib regularly dropped lots of stuff in favor of ads). I'll have to put the Boston Post of those months back on my research list for the next time I get to Boston. I'm amazed that I missed this stuff as I did a pretty thorough spot-check index of Boston Post Sundays in that era.

Thanks, Allan
Hi Cole,
Top of the comic section states "Boston Sunday Post", then below that is "Comic Book Magazine". Cliff
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