Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Stanley Armstrong


Stanley Edward Armstrong was born in Muir, Michigan, on July 11, 1873 or 1879. His birthplace was found on two passport applications from 1915 and 1917. The 1915 application had 1872 as his birth year with this statement: “I am unable to procure birth certificate.” The 1873 birth year was on his 1917 application with a notarized document from his mother, Amanda. Below is an excerpt from the document:
That she is a naturalized citizen of the United States;  
That she is a resident of Compton, Los Angeles Co., California; 
That she is the adopted mother of Stanley E. Armstrong; 
That she knows of her personal knowledge that Stanley E. Armstrong was born at Muir, Ionia Co., State of Michigan, United States of America, on July 11– 1873, 
Mrs. Amanda Armstrong 

The California Death Index said Armstrong’s birth year was 1879.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census, recorded Lester H., his wife, Amanda D., and 14-year-old daughter, Margaret, in Ionia, Michigan.

Armstrong attended the State Normal School at Los Angeles. He was listed, as a Compton resident, in the 14th Annual Catalogue of the State Normal School at Los Angeles for the School Year Ending June 30, 1896.

According to the 1900 census, Amanda was a widow living alone in Westminster, California and had no living children. Meanwhile, Armstrong, who has not been found in the census, lived in San Francisco where he attended the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art; he was a student in the University of California Register 1900–1901Armstrong knew sculptor Arthur Putnam and even posed for him.

The 1901 Crocker-Langley Directory listed Armstrong as an artist at 523 Montgomery in San Francisco. The 1904 directory said he was an artist with the San Francisco Call and resided at 821 Green.

During 1902, Armstrong illustrated numerous stories in the periodical Overland Monthly. His art also appeared in Sunset magazine.

Overland Monthly 7/1902

Overland Monthly 9/1902

Overland Monthly 12/1902

As reported in the San Francisco Call, January 9, 1905, Armstrong married Rebecca M. von Bremen on January 8.

The 1910 census recorded Amanda in Compton, California, but Armstrong has not yet been found. An early venture into comics was his Jerry the Juggler for the Chicago Tribune; the strip ran from March 2 to August 10, 1913. American Newspaper Comics said Armstrong took over Slim Jim and the Force from January 18, 1914 to June 20, 1915. Alternating with George Frink and C.W. Kahles as Sterling, Armstrong did the strip on July 25, August 1 and 8, September 26 and October 3, 1915. Armstrong’s next run on the series was from October 17, 1915 to 1940.


When Armstrong applied for a passport in 1917, his notarized statement said in part:

…that he is the owner in fee simple of the south 20 hectares of Lot number Eighty situate on the Island of Palmito del Verde, Municipality of Escuinapa, District of Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico; that it is his intention to proceed to said Island of Palmito del Verde within the next few weeks, for the purpose of engaging in agricultural pursuits on the said property…that affiant, in the expectation of proceeding to the said Island as aforesaid has sold his house and furniture situate in the Town of Mill Valley, County of Marin, State of California…
It is not known if he was granted a passport and traveled to the island.

The 1920 census recorded Armstrong and his wife, Rebecca, in San Anselmo, California on Crescent Road. He was a syndicate cartoonist who also did illustrations for Ace-High Magazine and The Danger Trail.

Armstrong was a newspaper cartoonist in the 1930 census. He and his wife lived in San Francisco at 1120 Buchanan. American Newspaper Comics said he did Yarns of Bos ’n Bill from June 27, 1930 to November 1, 1931, and signed it under the name, “Armi”. In the late 1930s, Armstrong worked on the Kelly Kids strip.

In the 1940 census, Armstrong was unemployed. His address was unchanged and highest grade of education was the eighth grade. Artists in California, 1786-1940 said “…later in life he was a security guard…”

According to the California Death Index, Armstrong passed away March 16, 1949, in San Francisco. An obituary has not been found.

—Alex Jay


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