Saturday, January 25, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Sunday, May 24 1908 -- The Southern Pacific Railroad's attempt (eventually to prove mostly successful) to have the inner harbor at San Pedro dredged in such a way as to insure that their interests are paramount has caused some ruckus. Senator Frank Flint of California has taken up the fight against the railroad monopoly, and is appealing to the federal government to provide proper oversight regarding dredging plans.

Herriman's Southern Pacific octopus, not seen in his cartoons for a very long time, finally returns.


Allan - I've been following your Herriman posts for several years and you should be highly commended for your efforts in bringing this part of Herriman's career to light. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your work is greatly appreciated!
Thank you, Sam, for taking the time to write. Considering the riches I (don't) reap from this blog, an occasional pat on the back is most welcome and gratefully accepted!

Best, Allan
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Friday, January 24, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, August 9 1936, courtesy of Jon Ingersoll. Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


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Thursday, January 23, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: The Peter Principle

Just in case you're not familiar with the term, the Peter Principle is the idea that people will tend to be promoted until they reach a level at which they are incompetent. For example, a brilliant but introverted computer programmer, according to the Peter Principle, will progress from a junior programming position, to mid-level, to senior, and then, unfortunately, to management, where his skills are of little use, and he is in a supervisory position which is completely unsuited to his personality.

The Peter Principle originated in a 1969 book by Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull. It became a buzzword in business, and then popularized further through marketing of various products, including additional books about business management.

Sometime in 1984, United Feature Syndicate snagged Laurence Peter to author a Peter Principle panel cartoon series. Matt Wuerker, long before he became a famous political cartoonist and Pulitzer Prize winner, supplied the art in his signature style. The cartoons generally had incompetency as their subject, of course, which is always a rich vein of comedy. Though Peter presumably had no experience writing gag cartoons, he seems to have taken to it reasonably well. In fact, I gather Peter is even a character in the series -- I assume the fellow in Groucho glasses and moustache is supposed to resemble him.

The series failed to particularly dazzle newspaper editors, who ignored it in droves. Despite the high profile name and the out-of-the-ordinary artwork, it just didn't seem to get any traction. When Laurence Peter's health began to fail in 1985, it provided a good excuse to put the series out to pasture, ending on December 14. 

UPDATE 1/22/2022: Now have a likely start date from the Shreveport Journal, July 16 1984.


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Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Penrhyn Stanlaws, Part 2

(continued from Part 1)

Stanlaws has not been found in the 1910 census.

“Masterpieces of American Illustrators” was a series of ten profiles that ran in numerous papers including the Pittsburgh Press, (Pennsylvania). On September 22, 1912, the Press published the third in the series, Marguerite by Penrhyn Stanlaws.

Stanlaws took up the pen to write the play, Instinct, which was positively received according to the Times, November 7, 1912:
Penrhyn Stanlaws’s play “Instinct,” adapted from the French of Henry Kistemaeckers, was produced by Charles Frohman at the Duke of York Theatre to-night. It is likely to achieve a success through its big appeal to the emotions and the admirable acting of Aubrey Smith and Lilian Braithwaite in the principle roles, both of whom played with fine force and power.
The play itself is regarded as a well-constructed melodrama, and the audience was entirely favorable.
Over a year later the play was running in London, as reported in the Times, December 17, 1913:
…Mr. Stanlaws has devoted himself to portrait painting and magazine covers. He works seven days in the week, from 10 to 5, and frequently in the evening he does some writing. He has several times tried his hand at playwriting, and one of his plays, “Instinct,” an adaptation from the French, is now running in London. His studio is at 23 West Sixty-seventh Street.
On April 30, 1913, Stanlaws married Jean Pughsley in New York City. The Times published an account the next day.
Miss Jean Pughsley of New York and Paris, a sister of Lester P. Bryant of this city, was married yesterday at the Hotel Gotham to Penrhyn Stanley Adamson, the artist, who is better known as Penrhyn Stanlaws. The bride was unattended, and only a few friends and relatives witnessed the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. Dr. Cyrus Townsend Brady.
The couple have known each other for many years, and Miss Pughsley was the artist’s subject in a portrait that was hung in the Spring Salon in Paris seven years ago. On account of the recent death of the bride’s mother in Paris the wedding was a quiet one. H. Hughart Laughlin of Pittsburgh acted as best man.
Mr. Adamson and his bride have gone to their country place at Central Valley, N.Y. on their honeymoon, where they expect to spend part of the Summer.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram 5/9/1913

San Francisco Call 6/1/1913; the drawing of Stanlaws was based
on a photograph seen in the Masterpieces of American Illustrators

Stanlaws produced 37 covers for the Saturday Evening Post, from July 26, 1913 to October 26, 1935. A gallery of his magazine covers is here.

Stanlaws was one of five illustrators to talk about their work in “Famous Artists’ Recipe for Making Their Beauties”, which appeared in the Pittsburgh Press, June 7, 1914.

William Randolph Hearst gave an automobile, as a gift, to Stanlaws. The Green Book Magazine, January 1915, told what happened in “Stanlaws Runs a Car.”

In February 1916, real estate was the latest addition to Stanlaws’s portfolio as he was president of Hotel des Artistes, Inc., which was to be built at 1 West 67th Street in Manhattan. It was completed in 1917. In 1919, he was involved with the purchase and renovation of the Prasada on West 65th Street.

New York Herald 2/20/1916

Stanlaws was one of seven illustrators and their models who were subjects of a photo-essay in the New-York Tribune, November 12, 1916.

Stanlaws was associated with a number of products including cardssoaptobaccopaperposters, and the Hotel Algonquin.

Albany Evening Journal 10/14/1914 

The Art World & Arts & Decoration 7/1918
detail of advertisement

Stanlaws’s wife was the subject of the article, “Watching Your Husband Paint the Most Beautiful Girl”, which appeared in many papers including the Daily Ardmoreite, (Ardmore, Oklahoma), June 1, 1918.

As “Penrhyn Stanlaws Adamson”, he signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He and his wife resided in Manhattan, New York City, at 1 West 67th Street, the Hotel des Artistes. He was a self-employed artist, described as medium height and build with brown eyes and black hair.

The photograph, below, appeared in The American Weekly, February 16, 1919, a supplement to the Washington Times (DC).

The 1920 census recorded Stanlaws in Manhattan, New York City, at 15 West 67th Street. One of his neighbors was Alphonse Mucha and his family.

The May 29, 1920 Times reported Stanlaws’s “signing a long-term contract to write and direct motion pictures for the Famous Players-Lasky Coporation.” Stanlaws knew the cinematographer, Arthur C. Miller, and asked him about opportunities in the movie business, according to One Reel a Week (1967). In 1919, Stanlaws saw Miller and Robert Haas, art director for Famous Players. Haas introduced Stanlaws to others in the movie business and he was hooked.

Before Stanlaws moved to Los Angeles, he was featured twice in the New York Tribune, July 11, 1920. He shared his thoughts on beauty and filmmaking.

Perhaps another factor that helped Stanlaws decide to move was his younger brother, Ewart Adamson (1882–1945), who was in Los Angeles. The Oakland Tribune, April 21, 1921, said: “…Adamson, noted Scotch writer and cartoonist, has been added to the Rearart scenario staff.” The brothers collaborated on one movie, Singed Wings, released in 1922, according to American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929 (2012).

One of his movies, At the End of the World, was critiqued in the Milwaukee Journal (Wisconsin), August 21, 1921. Stanlaws’s filmography is here. His filmmaking career was over in less than three years.

Stanlaws’s self-portrait, above, accompanied his inflammatory comments about Hollywood actresses in the New York Evening World, December 28, 1922. Earlier, the Oakland Tribune (California), December 10, 1922, reported the story behind his comments.
Hollywood, Calif., Dec. 9—The news that Penrhyn Stanlaws has resigned from the directorial staff of Famous Players-Lasky comes at the same time as the furor created by his article, “What Is the Matter With Our Hollywood Women?” in the current issue of Screenland Magazine. But Mr. Stanlaws has a perfect alibi. He was not frightened by the storm of feminine discussion of flaws in famous stars’ beauty, for Mr. Stanlaws and his brother, Ewart Adamson, resigned simultaneously more than two weeks ago. Of course when Mr. Stanlaws wrote the article for Screenland, he wrote from the standpoint of the artist, and with no malicious intent, Mr. Stanlaws is going to produce pictures in Europe. His former assistant director has been in France for two months making business arrangements.
According to American Newspaper Comics, Stanlaws drew two series for King Features: Gloria—The American Girl debuted June 27, 1926 and ended January 2, 1927; Frivolous Flossie ran from June 3 to September 23, 1928.

According to the 1930 census, Stanlaws and his wife, Jean, resided in Greenwich, Connecticut on Riversville Road. His occupation was artist who had his own studio. Jean had her own business as an interior decorator. Stanlaws was counted again at his residence in Manhattan, New York City, at 15 West 67th Street, where he was a magazine artist.

The New Movie Magazine 1/1932

The New Movie Magazine 2/1932

On July 31, 1936, Stanlaws took the first step to becoming a naturalized United States citizen, which was approved March 20, 1939.

Stanlaws took up teaching in the late 1930s. A 1937 issue of Arts Magazine announced his evening classes.
Classes in portraiture and magazine design have been inaugurated in New York by Penrhyn Stanlaws, well known for his magazine illustrations in this country, and in Europe better known as a portraitist. An evening class limited to ten pupils meeting one evening each week, and a day class meeting three mornings each week will be held regularly until June at the artist’s studio, 136 West 65th St., New York. Though Stanlaws’ work is in the academic vein he has been a close observer of the development of modern art and will not limit his instruction rigidly to either school. Stanlaws received his own artistic training in Paris, and as a student in the early 20th century knew intimately many of the better known men in art at the time.
According to the Times, September 4, 1938, Stanlaws joined the staff of the Commercial Illustration School, which was located in the Flatiron Building.

Stanlaws has not been found in the 1940 census.

Throughout Stanlaws’s career he was called upon to be a judge of beauty. The Times, November 30, 1913, had invited seven judges, W.L. Jacobs, James Montgomery Flagg, Philip Boileau, Clarence Underwood, C. Allan Gilbert, Hamilton King and Stanlaws, to chose “The Girl of To-day” from submissions by its readers. Two of the original judges had been replaced; Howard Chandler Christie was unavoidably detained in Ohio, and Harrison Fisher due to an illness in the family. The judges selected 29 photographs to be printed in a special color section. One of them would be on the cover as “The Girl of To-day”.

The Miami News Metropolis (Florida), September 24, 1923, printed Stanlaws’s comments on choosing the girls for the Miss America contest.
Woodstock. N. Y., Sept. 24.—“Am I to understand, Mr. Stanlaws,” I says, “what you’ve been so bold as to say that there wasn’t a single typical American girl over at that beauty contest at Atlantic City?”
It was in the artists’ colony up at Woodstock whither Mr. Stanlaws had retired after the arduous task of passing judgment on 76 beauties and whither I had trailed him to his lair. 
I looked at Mr. Stanlaws intently. He’s certainly a grand looking.
“I wouldn’t go so far as to say that,” he returned. “What I did say was that we’d never find the typical American girl until we had a beauty contest where all classes of girls were represented. College girls, society girls, working girls and all that.”
“And what was the principal thing wrong with the beauties the various cities picked, Mr. Stanlaws?” I says.
“Artists should have picked them in the first place,” says he.
“Naturally," says I.
“Not at all,” says he. “It is merely that an artist is not led astray by a curl or a dimple as is the ordinary business man. The faculties of an artist are co-ordinated. And the girls should be picked in their bathing suits, not evening dresses. It would save a great many heartaches.”
The voice of America’s popular magazine cover artist continued dreamily : More society girls ought to get into these contest[s]…a girl ought to get a long glass and practice before it…and watch good dramatic actresses. Elsie Ferguson or Julia Marlowe…or Mary Pickford, who is a real beauty, because she embodied the American girl ideal of innocence…and of course there must be brains…there can be no real beauty without brains…didn’t I think so?
“Beg pardon,” I murmured. I had been watching the waves in his hair. Why don’t they have beauty contests for men?
In 1940 Stanlaws was enlisted to be a judge at New York World’s Fair to choose Miss Queens. He was  joined by artists Russell Patterson and Arthur William Brown, photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston, model agent Walter Thornton, and Borough President George U. Harvey.

Around 1943 Stanlaws returned to Hollywood. The News and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina), August 20, 1950, carried the Associated Press story on what Stanlaws was doing.
Los Angeles. (AP): Remember “the Stanlaws girl?”
Chances are you won’t unless you’ve a gray hair or two. But in the early years of the century she was famous as “the Gibson girl,” and it was hard to find a magazine that didn’t have a picture of one or the other on its cover.
Charles Dana Gibson painted his beauties tall, trim and tailored. Penrhyn Stanlaws liked to make them soft and fluffily feminine.
Today at 73 Stanlaws can still draw beautiful girls. But not for 15 years have they appeared on magazine covers. He has become a noted portrait painter. Seven years ago he settled in Hollywood and among his recent clients were Mrs. Fletcher Bowron, wife of the mayor of Los Angeles, Mrs. Herbert Marshall and Mrs. C.S. Howard, widow of the turf patron.
The 1952 Princeton University Alumni Directory listed Stanlaws at “1127 El Centro Avenue, Hollywood 38, Calif.”

Stanlaws passed away May 18, 1957, in Los Angeles, according to the California Death Index at and the Princeton Alumni Weekly, July 5, 1957. However, the Times, May 20, 1957, and other papers said his death was on the 19th. Below is the Princeton obituary:
Penryhn Stanlaws ’01 
The tragic death of Penrhyn Stanlaws in a fire in his Los Angeles studio on May 18, took from us a brilliant artist, an esteemed classmate, a loyal Princetonian and a cultured gentleman. Pen, whose legal name was Penrhyn Stanley Adamson was in his eighty-first year. He had continued active to the very end in his career. Within the year he had painted, among others, a splendid portrait of our classmate, U.S. Senator H. Alexander Smith.
Pen was born in Dundee, Scotland, March 19, 1877, and after graduation studied art in Paris and London. He exhibited in the Paris Salon in 1904. Returning to America about 50 years ago he created the famous “Stanlaws Girl” drawings which appeared regularly on cover pages of leading magazines.
Stanlaws became president of Hotel des Artistes, Inc., and later went to Hollywood where he directed production of several important motion pictures. Since the early ’forties he devoted his talents mainly to portrait work. Among his notable paintings was a delightful one of Lincoln that hangs in Mission Inn, Riverside. Calif., once partly owned by our late classmate, DeWitt V. Hutchings.
Following cremation, the remains were buried in Los Angeles.
Stanlaws leaves a wife, Jean, and a sister-in-law, Mrs. Ewart Adamson. The Class conveys its deepest sympathy.
The Class of 1901

—Alex Jay 


Thanks for this. Stanley Adamson was my great-uncle (Ewart Adamson my grandfather) and I knew some but not all of what you've recounted. I search for details from time to time and was delighted to fall upon your blog.
Very Interesting. Walter Thornton was my father and we are writing a book about his life and all the interesting people he crossed paths with.
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Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Penrhyn Stanlaws, Part 1

Penrhyn Stanlaws was born Earnest Stanley Adamson in Dundee, Scotland, on March 19, 1877, according to his naturalization applications at, which also has a family tree. Stanlaws was the fifth of seven children born to James (1842–1891) and Jessie (1844– ).

The caption to a photograph of Stanlaws, published in the New York Sun, September 2, 1917, said his full name was Arthur Earnest Penrhyn Stanley Adamson.

Publicly, Stanlaws said his first name was Penrhyn. An explanation for the name change was published in the New York Times, December 7, 1913:
…Some time after he had come to the United States his elder brother, who had won some fame for the family name in London, suggested that, as both used the same initials “S. A,” in signing their pictures, the younger might do well to change his name.
The older brother was Sydney Blair W. Adamson (1872– ). The Times said Stanlaws’s parents were amateur painters. Information regarding Stanlaws’s childhood education and art training has not been found.

In the early 1890s, Stanlaws visited the United States. Two U.S. Federal Census records had the years as 1891 and 1892. Adair's New Encyclopedia (1924) and Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast (1949) had the year 1891. The Strand Magazine, May 1903, said it was 1892. The Times said he was “13 or 14 [around 1891] and the opening of the World’s Fair [in 1893] found him working on a Chicago newspaper.”

In Drawn from Memory (1950), John T. McCutcheon recalled a number of Chicago Record artists including Stanlaws:

An office boy named Stanley Adamson was working in the business end. We brought him up to the art department. Later, under the name of Penryn [sic] Stanlaws, he became widely known as a portrait painter and magazine-cover artist of exceptional delicacy and refinement.
Confirming what McCutcheon wrote, the Times, May 29, 1920, said: “…In 1893 he was on the staff of The Chicago Record, making sketches under John T. McCutcheon, George Ade and Finley Peter Dunne….”

Stanlaws’s time in Chicago was two or three years. The Strand said: “…He went back to London in 1894–1896, and worked on To-Day as assistant to Mr. Jerome K. Jerome. On his return to America he worked for Life, Judge, Scribner’s, and Harper’s….”

In London, Stanlaws was known as “Penryn Stanley”. To-Day, February 23, 1895,  published “An Unlawful Interference” with his illustrations. Stanlaws also contributed artwork to The Idler, in 1895, on these features: Realism!, The Idler’s Club here, here and here, and The Play of the Month. His brother, Sydney, was also a contributor. Stanlaws was named as a contributor to the first issue of The Minister.

In 1896 Stanlaws returned to the United States and sold drawings to Life.

September 17, 1896

November 19, 1896

The Pittsburgh Index, October 10, 1903, page 31, added another aspect of Stanlaws success:

…[Stanlaws] tried to get a start at Chicago, meeting with but little success. Stanlaws went back to Scotland, where he became acquainted with David Whitelaw, a celebrated decorator. They formed a partnership and Stanlaws, with Whitelaw, returned to America and met with the most gratifying success. Stanlaws made the figures in the drawing and his partner the decorations, the pair producing a high class of work. Whitelaw finally returned to Scotland, but Stanlaws remained, working for the different periodicals. His productions appear from time to time in Judge, Life, Scribner’s and other leading publications.
This partnership was mentioned in The Book Buyer, July 1897, in the article, “Sundry ‘American Girls’ in Black-and-White.”
…There is, for instance, the Stanlaws girl. Although drawn by two young artists who are both English, she is yet intrinsically American. She developed gradually, and not until some six months ago did she appear in her greatest efflorescence. Inasmuch, moreover, as one of the members of the curious collaboration that achieved the Stanlaws girl is no longer active on this side of the water, this girl deserves special mention. She appeared, for a time, in our periodicals, charming us with her wonderful hats, her arabesques cloaks, her gowns as wide-skirted as the horizon itself, and then—she passed from our ken. She was something of a pretty vagary….
The Book Buyer 9/1899

The Times, April 3, 1898, said Stanlaws was in the April issue of Scribner’s. The Evening Journal, (Jersey City, New Jersey), April 30, 1898, said the May issue of Demorest’s Magazine included Harriet Monroe’s series French Women, “…which has been so charmingly and intelligently illustrated by Penrhyn Stanlaws…”.

The “Stanlaws Face” was reported in many newspapers including the Kansas City Journal (Missouri), January 29, 1899.

In the first half of 1899 for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Stanlaws produced at least five full-page drawings for its color section. A January 7 house advertisement for the Sunday Inquirer said: “Fair Phyllis’ Part and Mine. A beautiful full page of brilliant color by that well known artist, Penrhyn Stanlaws.” Two drawings were published in February on the fifth and twelfth. The April 2 edition published Stanlaws’s “The Easter Morning Promenade.” The fifth drawing featuring women in outdoor and sporting attire appeared June 4.

Stanlaws’s illustrations were published in Harper’s Magazine, March 1899; The Illustrated American Magazine, March 1899; The Book Buyer, May and September 1899; Demorest’s Magazine, July 1899; and Leslie’s Weekly, August 5, 1899.

Apparently, Stanlaws enrolled in Princeton University in the fall 1899. The Times reported his election to a school publication; he was erroneously identified as “James F. Adamson.”

The Princeton Tiger’s New Editor.
James F. Adamson (Penrhyn Stanlaws) was elected advisory editor of The Princeton Tiger to-day. Mr. Adamson is taking a two years course in English in the university. He refused a position on the staff of The Saturday Evening Post of Philadelphia to enter Princeton.
The Times explained how Stanlaws was able to afford the tuition at Princeton.
...Going back to the other side he was for a time assistant art editor of To-day and The Idler. After a short time he came back to New York and did a series of “Soldier Girls” for Judge, which brought him considerable notice and led to so much work that he was able to send himself to Princeton.
In Roses and Buckshot (1946), James Montgomery Flagg revealed who was behind Stanlaws’s assignments.
Grant Hamilton was the big shot on Judge. Although little John Schleicher was the editor, Hamilton really was the brains of the magazine. He was a big-bodied, big-hearted man, beloved by all the artists. He was, moreover, the kind of man whose face proclaims that he could not do an ignoble act….
When Grant Hamilton knew that Penrhyn Stanlaws wanted to go through Princeton he arranged to give him enough steady work to support him during his college years. As a result the dainty Stanlaws Girl became a part of the American scene.
While at Princeton, Stanlaws produced work for other periodicals. There were three illustrations in the May 1900, St. Nicholas, and one in August 1900. The March 16, 1901 issue of Leslie’s Weekly published a Stanlaws drawing on page 254. On the preceding spread was a full-page illustration, spot illustration and report, “The Strange Story of Aram Keram Deram Minassian”, by Stanlaws’s older brother, Sydney Adamson, who was a war correspondent. Stanlaws was in the April 6, 1901, Leslie’s Weekly. The Boston Herald published Stanlaws’s “Three Studies of the American Girl” February 17, 1901.

Stanlaws’s talent was recognized and reported in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, (New York), June 17, 1900:

P. Stanley Adamson, the artist whose work over the signature of Penrhyn Stanlaws has attracted attention in the past year, and who has been attending Princeton University, has been elected a member of the Monday Night Club. Mr. Adamson is an Englishman who came to this country a few years ago and who has become a prominent illustrator.
The St. Paul Globe (Minnesota), September 16, 1900, reported Stanlaws’s stunt of eating without utensils in Philadelphia. 

The New York Sun, February 10, 1901, covered a minor controversy at Princeton; below are the first three paragraphs: 
Princeton’s Virtuous Tiger!!
An Effort to Placate the Critic of Its Former Alleged Low Tone.
The Sun has told how a writer in the Daily Princetonian of Princeton University declared that the January number of the Princeton Tiger was low in tone and how the editors of the Tiger used this criticism as an advertisement and by means of it sold double the usual edition. Not content with this the Tiger editors decided to turn out at least one number which might satisfy their critic. The result of their efforts appeared last week.
At the top of the editorial page the editors are given as follows: “The Rev. Dr. Swallow, the Rev. Dr. Parkhurst, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Sheldon. Lay editors—Hon. Anthony Comstock. Mrs. Grannis. Hon. W. T. Stead.” This will indicate the tone of the articles. One editorial calls attention to the growing need of a second chapel at Princeton. Another is an appeal for the removal of the art museum, which it says is “A place, sad as it is to tell, which is given up to the exhibition of Athenian and Theban art—statuary, indeed, that one would never think or shipping home to his family.”
The frontispiece is a “Stanlaws” girl. But in this case she is dressed in clerical robes and halo. Her eyes are cast demurely down, and tears glisten on her cheeks, tears of remorse, perhaps, for the many times she has flitted through the Tiger’s pages playing golf, skating, flirting or indulging in some other unseemly sport. The drawing is easily recognized as the work of Penrhyn Stanlaws, now a senior at Princeton, in spite of the fact that in this instance he signs himself “Penitent Stand-forlorn, ’01.”
Stanlaws provided five illustrations for the Princeton yearbook, Bric-a-Brac, 1900.

The 1901 Bric-a-Brac had two listings for Stanlaws: a Princeton Tiger editor (1899–1900, 1900–1901) and the class roll. Also, Stanlaws’s College Girls (1901) was published by the Princeton Tiger.

Stanlaws’s plan after college was reported in the Times:

…before he had finished the college course, he came to the decision that he would go to Paris and take up the study of the French drama. Once in a Parisian atmosphere he developed more interest in painting than in the theatre with the result that he enrolled at Julien’s and remained in Paris four years. His first picture to be exhibited at the Salon was a portrait of his wife, and this, was followed by other invitations to exhibit there.
Around 1903 Stanlaws moved to London. The London Magazine, February 1903, published “The American Girl” which showcased the work of several artists including Stanlaws.
There is one English artist who has also succeeded in delineating a type of the American girl, and that is Mr. Penrhyn Stanlaws, whose work is as familiar on this side of the Atlantic as it is on the other. Yet, though typified as American, the Stanlaws girl” is in fact, really British in character and style.
In London, Stanlaws had a second career as a playwright. The New York Press, April 6, 1903, had this account:
American Play for Irving.
Penrhyn Stanlaws, the Artist Enters New Field of Work.
London, March 28.—Although Penryhn Stanlaws, the American depictor of pretty girls, is not known as well in this country as he is in the United States, interest has been aroused here by the announcement that a one-act play from his pen has been accepted by Sir Henry Irving. Stanlaws has been here several months.
“About the play I really can tell you little,” said he to-day, “for the simple reason Sir Henry has asked me—though I don’t know why—to keep the plot a secret. This much I can say: The play is an American one, a tragedy and modern. The time is 1886. As a matter of fact, it isn’t really finished, and I’m going back to the United States in April to get certain local color I need. When the play will be produced has not been decided. It will be in this country. If it is successful it will be played by Sir Henry in America. Of course I am delighted to have the play taken by Sir Henry, especially as it is my first.”
Stanlaws has been encouraged by his first stroke of luck in his new field to go ahead therein, and he has two other plays on the stocks. He says he always has cherished an ambition to be a dramatist, and confessed he would rather be a successful playwright that a successful artist. “But I should like to be both,” he adds naively.
In Paris, Stanlaws was a “pupil of Julian Academy and of Benjamin-Constant and Laurens”, according to the American Art Annual, Volume XII (1916). Adair's New Encyclopedia said Stanlaws exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1904. While in Paris, he met William Somerset Maugham. In the book, Willie: The Life of W. Somerset Maugham, Robert Calder wrote:
By far the most interesting part of Maugham’s Paris experience were the evenings he spent at a restaurant in the rue d’Odessa called the ‘Chat Blanc’. Situated near the Gare Montparnasse, this cheap and nourishing cafe had a ground floor for regular trade, but an upstairs room reserved for a varied group of artists, companions, models, and lovers….
…The unofficial club, however, was primarily an artists’ circle, and Maugham has drawn portraits of many of them...where the Chat Blanc is described in detail as the ‘Chien Noir’….Penryhn [sic] Stanlaws, a young and successful American illustrator, is described as ‘Flanagan’, an amiable poseur, in Of Human Bondage…
Below are some descriptions of Flanagan in Of Human Bondage:
page 194: Flanagan was there again: he was an American, a short, snub-nosed youth with a jolly face and a laughing mouth.
page 213: Sometimes they went to the Bal Bullier. On these occasions Flanagan accompanied them. His excitability and his roisterous enthusiasm made them laugh. He was an excellent dancer, and before they had been ten minutes in the room he was prancing round with some little shop-girl whose acquaintance he had just made.
page 250: Flanagan, though he was the most scatter-brained person in the world, had a tenderness of heart which was unexpected and charming. Whenever anyone was ill he installed himself as sick-nurse. His gaiety was better than any medicine.
The New York Dramatic Mirror, January 29, 1921, covered the reunion of Stanlaws and Maugham at a Hollywood studio lot.
A dozen years ago Arnold Bennett, the famous British author; Penrhyn Stanlaws, the eminent American artist, and W. Somerset Maugham, noted English playwright and novelist, were “pals” together in the Latin Quarter of Paris. Then unknown to the world of art they lived a happy-go-lucky Bohemian existence. Recently Stanlaws and Maugham met again in Paris—Paris transformed to
The Back Lot
of the Lasky studio, Hollywood. And Arnold Bennett was with them in spirit if not in person. For it was on a latin Quarter set of Bennett’s story “Sacred and Profane Love,” William D. Taylor’s Paramount production starring Elsie Ferguson, that Maugham and Stanlaws renewed their old-time acquaintance “It brings back fond memories,” wistfully remarked Maugham as he glanced toward a typical wineshop, a counterpart of the famous cafe in the Avenue de Clichy which he so carefully described in his “Moon and Sixpence.”
Another observation of Stanlaws is in Aleister Crowley: The Beast Demystified (2011):
Stanlaws, the ‘creator’ of the ‘Stanlaws girl’ was there, a terrible American, and also a girl I had previously seen at Kelly’s. The girl and Stanlaws and the man who was the girl’s host threw bread at each other, and sang American songs very loudly. It was terrible at times….
The Strand Magazine, April 1904, published “Artists’ Types of Beauty” which selected paintings and illustrations of women from the past 400 years. The “Stanlaws Girl” was included. A portrait by Stanlaws, below, appeared in the January 1908 Strand.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), Stanlaws produced the Sunday strip, The Pretenders, which ran in September 1906. It was syndicated by the American-Journal-Examiner.

On December 7, 1907, Stanlaws was aboard the S.S. St. Paul which departed from Southampton, England. He arrived in New York City on the 15th according to a passenger list at The same date and ship were on his naturalization documents.

A number of Stanlaws’s drawings continued to appear in London periodicals including the Windsor Magazine in 1908; the stories “Mis’lavinia” had four illustrations, and “Violet’s Flat” had three.

American Newspaper Comics said Stanlaws’s second Sunday newspaper series was Oh, Winnie!, which debuted September 27, 1908 and ended March 28, 1909.

In addition to drawing and painting models, Stanlaws witnessed his colleague’s marriage to a model. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, (Texas), May 7, 1909, ran the Associated Press story on Corey Kilvert’s secret wedding.
Corey Kilvert,the well known artist, and Miss Elsie Dora Bernard, known among New York studios as one of the prettiest of professional models, were married last night at Larchmont. The wedding was secret, the only one knowing about it until the ceremony was performed, being Penrhyn Stanlaws, the illustrator and portrait painter who accompanied the couple to Larchmont….
Later in 1909, Stanlaws and a few other artists were chosen to illustrate the Armour & Company calendar. The painting, below, ran in the Denver Post, November 21, 1909.

Books with illustrations by Stanlaws include The Custodian (1904), Hilda of the Hippodrome (1910), How to Draw: A Practical Book of Instruction in the Art of Illustration (1904; page 58), The Misdemeanors of Nancy (1902), 1902 Olio (Amherst College), The Opinion Shop (1913), Pippins and Peaches (1909), Caricature, Eleventh Edition (1910) herehere and here, and Caricature, 14th Edition (1911) with five illustrations.

Pippins and Peaches

—Alex Jay 

Tomorrow: Part 2


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