Saturday, February 01, 2014


Herriman Saturday

Monday, May 25 1908 -- It is hard to imagine Los Angeles being such a small community that its rod and reel club was considered news enough to rate a Herriman cartoon. But it was.


Allan ~ According to records LA had 425,000 residents in 1908. It sure was a different world then! From your research its plain that Herriman went on a lot of these "small town" assignments. They add significantly to our understanding of LA as it transitioned from a prosaic village to teeming metropolis. Thanks, Allan!
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Friday, January 31, 2014


Sci-Friday starring Connie

Connie, August 16 1936, courtesy of Cole Johnson. Follow the Connie story every Friday here on Stripper's Guide.


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Thursday, January 30, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: A.B. Chapin

Caledonia Advertiser-Era (NY) 1/6/1927

Archibald B. Chapin was born in Ohio in June 1875, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. In the 1880 census, Chapin was the only child of Charles Hamilton, a store clerk, and Ada Winifred. They resided in Mount Vernon, Ohio on Gay Street.

The Kansas City Times (Missouri), May 15, 1894, reported the upcoming high school graduation exercise for May 24. Chapin was scheduled to sing the class song. The alumni banquet was planned on May 29 to honor the class of 1894. The May 11 Times said: “…An address will be made by President Herbert T. Howell, who will welcome the class. Archie B. Chapin of the class will respond….”

The 1900 census recorded Chapin, his parents and sister in Kansas City, Kansas at 1518 Wood Avenue. Chapin was an illustrator. The University Missourian (Columbia, Missouri), April 27, 1915, published Chapin’s account of his early life and career:

“A.B. Chapin, being of sound mind and in possession of such faculties as are his to be blessed with, does hereby, at the request and order of his new boss, depose and testify,” wrote A.B. Chapin, a Journalism Week speaker, when he became cartoonist of the St. Louis Republic. “He was born in Ohio. He was led out of Ohio while a boy by his parents, who resolutely set their faces to the plains of Kansas. He has, for the past twenty-five years, fought, bled and died two or three times a week defending the honor of his adopted state. He never was an infant prodigy, nor were his papers in the drawing classes the ‘marvels of neatness,’ or the indications of ‘wonderful talent.’ No ‘I knew him when’ clubs have ever been started in his honor and probably never will.
“He skinned through school somehow. He also went through high school. After he had surmounted the Alps of his high school days he became obsessed of the idea that it was his mission in life to break into the newspaper game. His start along that line was not accomplished by all the pyrotechnics of a flashing meteor. His desire to study art at this time was blocked by an embarrassing lack of funds, so he drove a fish wagon long enough to hoard up car fare to New York and buy a few ‘sinkers and coffee’ and there he stayed during 1899–1900.
“He returned to Kansas City and secured his first newspaper job on the old Kansas City Times. He went to the Kansas City Star late in 1901 and has since then been at the blacksmith’s business on said paper, and prays pardon for his many sins of commission.”
That was written before Chapin joined the Republic staff in St. Louis. “Before adopting the first-page cartoon,” says the Republic’s managing editor, “we set out to find a cartoonist of first-page caliber. We have not been disappointed in A.B. Chapin. His work is the kind that grows upon the public. A demand from outside has also arisen, and to meet this demand we are preparing to syndicate Chapin’s cartoons.”
Chapin also taught illustration as reported in the International Studio, November 1908: “The Fine Arts Institute of Kansas City, Mo. has opened its schools in drawing, painting and sculpture, including a class conducted by Archibald B. Chapin in newspaper illustration….”

According to the 1905 Kansas State Census, Chapin’s wife was Lydia and they had a son, John, age 3.

In 1910, Chapin remained in Kansas City but at a different address, 2406 North 10th. He had two daughters, Elizabeth and Barbara. Not listed was John whose fate is unknown. Chapin and Lydia had been married for nine years. His father's death was mentioned in Cartoons Magazine, October 1915. 

University of Missouri Bulletin 5/1912

For the St. Louis Republic, Chapin produced Home, Sweet Home from 1917 to 1919.

Chapin resided in Kirkwood, Missouri at 435 North Clay, according to the 1920 census. He was cartoonist for the St. Louis Star. Editor & Publisher, April 16, 1921, covered Chapin’s change of employers: 
Chapin Quits St. Louis Star
Cartoonist Will Join Staff of Country Gentleman on May 1

St. Louis, April 11 — A.B. Chapin, one of the best known cartoonists in the middle West, has resigned from the St. Louis Star, effective May l, when he will go to Philadelphia to become cartoonist for the Country Gentleman. Chapin has been a cartoonist on Missouri newspapers for more than twenty years. He came to the Star from the Republic, when that paper suspended publication in December, 1919. He had been with the Republic seven years. Previously he had been with the Kansas City Star. Chapin has been drawing cartoons for the Curtis publication for more than a year. His best known series here has been “Breaking into the Big League.” The Star has made no definite selection of a successor to Chapin.
According to American Newspaper Comics (2012) Chapin produced Uncle Dudley (1922), Chapin’s Daily Comic Strip (1922; replaced Uncle Dudley) and A.B. Chapin Cartoons (1925–1927) for the Ledger Syndicate. His longest running work, from the mid-1920s to early 1930s, was the panel, Superstitious Sue, for the McClure Syndicate.

National Labor Tribune 9/10/1931

Chapin’s home in the 1930 and 1940 censuses was Swarthmore, Pennsylvania at 217 Harvard Avenue. He was a newspaper cartoonist. In 1942, he moved to Schenectady, New York, and drew a weekly cartoon for the National Weekly Newspaper Service.

The Kansas City Star (Missouri), January 10, 1958, published a letter from Chapin who recalled his time at the Star

Chapin passed away October 19, 1962. His death was reported the same day in the Utica Observer-Dispatch (New York):
A.B. Chapin, Cartoonist, Dies at 87
New Hartford — A. B. Chapin, 87, of 15 South Hills Drive, a political cartoonist, died today in his home after a long illness. 
He began his career on the Kansas City Times in 1900, and in 1902, joined the Kansas City Star, where he was the political cartoonist until 1913. Later, until 1922 [sic], he was with the St. Louis Republic and St. Louis Star. He moved to Philadelphia in 1922 [sic], and became associated with the Country Gentleman Magazine and the Philadelphia Morning Ledger until 1942. He then moved to Schenectady, where he continued to draw a weekly cartoon for the National Weekly News Service until retiring in August of this year. 
He leaves his wife, the former Lydia Emily Hale; two daughters, Mrs. Richard D. Hickox, with whom he lived, and Mrs. Harvey F. Mett, both of New Hartford. 
The funeral will be at 2 tomorrow from St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, with the Rev. William B. Schmidgall, rector, officiating. Burial arrangements are incomplete.

—Alex Jay 


A. B. Chapin was my surrogate grandfather ie, his son-in law was my father's twin brother. He was a unique man, in his early 80s putting a new roof on his summer camp (he named Crummydump) on Lake Galway in upstate NY, as well as jacking it up and pouring a new foundation for the cottage. He could make anyone he talked to feel that they were the most interesting people he had ever met. He had posted a sign he created on the landing of the stairs leading to the second floor of the cottate that read, "All ye who enter here leave modesty behind".
Hello, I am a researcher at the University of Michigan. I am searching for any available copyright information about Chapin's works, specifically about a cartoon that appeared in the (now defunct) Philadelphia Ledger on May 3, 1927. I have not found any such information in any other channels, and was hoping either Mr. Holtz or his readers may know something about securing such a permission.

I welcome any kind of information or leads. Thanks!

-Lazarus Belle
I am related to the person who first commented!!! AB Chapin was my great grandfather, my grandmother was his daughter, Elizabeth, my father was her son Dean....John, Lydia and Archie's son, died when he was 3 years old. I have an entire notebook of cartoons he drew of his family life. John appears in all of them which I find very bittersweet.
BTW, my middle name is Chapin :)

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Obscurity of the Day: Home Sweet Home

Among the many different series to bear the title Home Sweet Home we have this real obscurity by A.B. Chapin. In 1917-1919 when Chapin was the editorial cartoonist of the St. Louis Republic, he took Mondays off from the woes of the world to chronicle a family's doings under this title.

Although I only have a handful of samples of this rare series, Chapin was good enough to number his episodes so that I can say that the series began on or slightly before September 17 1917 (I say slightly before because I can also tell from the numbering that on rare occasions the feature missed a Monday appearance). My last sample of the feature is from March 10 1919, but Chapin may well have produced it for the Republic until the paper itself folded in December of that year (Chapin may have bailed out earlier than that, though).

Chapin's delightful artwork -- sort of a mixture of equal measures Dwig and Ding Darling -- makes this basically ho-hum effort really stand out. Lovely stuff! More tomorrow, as Alex Jay contributes an Ink-Slinger Profile of A.B. Chapin.


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Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Jack Betts

John George “Jack” Betts was born in New York in 1904, according to a family tree at His parents were Steven H. M. Betts, a machinist, and Alice Ethel Stevens, who married October 1, 1901, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Betts’s father was born in Brooklyn, New York, which was his residence in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. Betts’s sister, Ethel (1907–1982), was three years younger and born in Brooklyn. Presumably, Betts was also born in Brooklyn.

In the 1910 census, Betts and his sister were living with their maternal grandparents, John and Anne Stevens, whose two sons, daughter and daughter-in-law were part of the household. They resided in Jersey City, New Jersey, at 257 Union Street. The family tree said Betts’s mother had passed away February 9, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York, about two months before the census enumeration (April 15). Betts was six years old at the time. His father has not been found in this census; he passed away in 1970.

Betts’s education and art training was in Jersey City. He was a Boy Scout who contributed spot illustrations to the Jersey Journal’s “Scouting” column. His debut was March 26, 1918.

Fellows, be seated.
I want you to meet our new artist. He’s Tenderfoot Scout Jack Betts of Troop 17, and he’s the Art Editor of this department of the Jersey Journal. You’ll meet him here every Tuesday.
It’s only natural that you’d want to get a view of the Scout who drew the three pictures that appear to-day. So I said: “Jack, old man, just draw a picture of yourself making your bow to the audience.”
And this is what Jack drew:



But just between you and me, he doesn’t look a bit like the drawing. That’s just his way of having his little joke.
Below is a detail of the column from the April 2, 1918 issue.

We—that is, Jack Betts, the art editor, and I—sat down yesterday to plan this week’s Scouting news.
“How shall we start it, Jack?” I asked.
“Well,” said Jack, “last week you had a little fun with the showing them how I don’t look; now it’s my turn.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, growing pale.
“I mean,” Jack said in determination, “that this week we’ll let them see how you look.”
“But listen, Jack, old man—we can’t do anything like that.”
“We’re going to” said Jack, and he reached for his pencil.
“Jack,” I said, weakly, “have mercy.”
And this was Jack’s idea of mercy:

The spot illustration, below, was published in the April 30, 1918 column.

Another column detail is from the June 18, 1918 edition:

Farmer and the Scout: Scout and the Bug
Since I told you last week that Troop 17 was going to go farming, I’ve been hearing every day of Scouts who are going to go forth and tackle the pesky cut worm, and the cabbage worm, and the ferocious potato bug.
“What do you think of it, Jack?” I asked Jack Betts, our trusty cartoonist.
“Great stuff,” said Jack.
“Can you draw a picture of a battle between a cut worm and a Scout?’
Jack said he could. He did. Here it is:

After that we know for a fact that a Scout is brave.
One of Betts’s drawings earned him a mention in the national periodical, St. Nicholas, February 1919.

In the 1920 census, Betts’s maternal grandmother was the head of the household which included two of her children and her two grandchildren. They lived in Jersey City at 219 I (eye) Avenue. Betts was 15 years old when the enumeration was done on January 15; based on the enumeration dates of the 1910 and 1920 censuses, his birth day was after January 15 and before April 15. The census recorded his name as John.

At this time, very little is known about Betts in the 1920s. He married around 1925 and was credited for an illustration in the October 1928 issue of College Life.

According to the 1930 census, Betts was married to “Ester”, a Swedish emigrant, and had two children, Joan, age four-and-a-half, and Jack, age one. They resided in Jersey City at 37 Clendenny Avenue. His occupation was artist at an advertising agency.

In October 1936, the American Distilling Company launched a major advertising campaign to promote its Old American Brand whiskey. Betts illustrated the two-panel advertisements which featured “Prof. Jim Crack”. The advertising agency Hanff-Metzger created the campaign, which was copyrighted and recorded in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, etc., 1936 New Series, Volume 31, Number 3, on pages 135 and 139.

The New York Times, April 29, 1939, noted that Betts leased an apartment at 2 Horatio Street, and that was his address in the 1940 census. This was the first time his name was recorded in the census records as Jack. His occupation was freelance artist and he had completed three years of high school. His second wife’s name was listed as “Trixe”. Betts’s first wife and children lived in Miami, Florida.

The 1940s was a busy decade for Betts. He produced advertising comics for Ben Gay, Nestlé, and Super Suds.

A World War II military service record for Betts has not been found. He illustrated the poster Don’t Fall for Enemy Propaganda which can be viewed here and here.

The New York Times, April 15, 1944, noted Betts’s new business arrangement: “Bruce Stevenson, artists’ representative, will move his studio to 415 Lexington Avenue on May 1. Noel Sickles and Jack Betts have joined his staff.” Stevenson advertised in 26 Annual of Advertising Art (1947) and 28 Annual of Advertising Art (1949). Betts’s listing in the Official Directory, American Illustrators and Advertising Artists (1949) said: “Jack Betts 2 Horatio St. CH 2-1927 New York 14, N. Y. Humorous Illustration, Continuities. Rep. Bruce Stevenson”.

Betts was one of the artists who illustrated the adaptations of Book-of-the-Month Club novels that appeared in newspapers. In 1946 he drew the panels for Britannia Mews.

Betts drew spot illustrations for several magazines including American LegionCollier’s Magazine’s “Keep Up with the World” column, This Week Magazine, and Bluebook.

The books and pamphlets Betts illustrated include Footprints of the Trojan Horse (1942), I Am an American (1946), New Footprints of the Trojan Horse (1952), and Who? Me? (1954).

A 1957 Manhattan, New York City directory listed Betts at 2 Horatio Street.

According to the family tree, Betts passed away in 1966. An obituary has not been found and there is no record of him in the Social Security Death Index.

A photograph of Betts and a greeting card by him can be viewed at Fabulous Fifties.

—Alex Jay


Nice... lot's of stuff I didn't have. Betts daughter told me he died in the late fifties. This does coincide with the disappearance of his work around that time. But it doesn't fit with the fact that neither Tom Schreuer nor Leonard Starr knew about him, although all of them worked at Johnstone and Cushing in the late fifties. I'll contact Alex privately about all of this.
I have found a Jack Betts dying on March 8 1957 at age 53 in New York. Could be our man. Fits with what the duaghter told me. So where do I go from there to more?

Oh, sorry. It's the third of August 1957.I now have the State file number and would like to see the death certificate. Can that be found?
Thanks, Ger.

Here is the link to the New York State Genealogy Records & Resources.

If Betts was born outside of New York City, you should be able to obtain a death certificate.

If Betts was born in New York City, you should read the genealogy information at the New York City Department of Records:

The Municipal Archives maintains records of births reported in the five Boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island), prior to 1910; deaths reported prior to 1949; and marriages reported prior to 1950. For a complete description of the vital records collection, please see a list of the Municipal Archives Holdings. Vital record copies are $15.00 each; see complete fee schedule.

Here is the link,

His son Jack became a character actor. He went by Hunt Powers in spaghetti westerns.
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Monday, January 27, 2014


Advertising Strips: The Ribbers

If you don't haunt the old newspapers like I do, you might be surprised at how many advertising campaigns for liquor involved comics. Take my word for it, though, the liquor folks definitely liked cartoons for selling their wares. The Ribbers, for instance, hawked whiskey for a couple of years at least in the early 40s.

This particular hootch they shilled for was called Ten High Bourbon Whiskey. I'd never heard of it, but according to Wiki it used to be one of the most popular brands. Gosh, I thought Wild Turkey, Jim Beam, and so on, but what do I know.

Anyways, The Ribbers concerned a group of guys typically engaged in good American manly activities. They all incessantly discuss the wonders of Ten High Whiskey, and how they just can't hardly wait for their next tipple of the whiskey with "no rough edges". Although the characters usually look about the same from ad to ad, the names change each time. But all those characters had one thing in common, and that was the love of putting the screws to the fat member of their little love-in. In most of the ads the fat guy is in the process of losing some bet that will have him buying the next round of Ten High giggle juice. These guys were mean drunks.

The first artist on The Ribbers, which seems to have begun around mid-1941, was a fellow who signed himself Westcott. He didn't seem to last for very long at all until he was replaced by the great Noel Sickles. Sickles, unfortunately, wasn't moved to create any particularly memorable art for this campaign. In fact his panels are hard to tell from Westcott's.

Sickles handled the art chores until early 1942, and then Jack Betts took over. We'll learn about Betts tomorrow from Alex Jay's Ink-Slinger Profile. I've never seen any ads later than March 1942. I presume  the ad budget was cut when it became clear that the war was more than enough stimulation for liquor sales without the dubious help of The Ribbers.


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Sunday, January 26, 2014


Jim Ivey's Sunday Comics


I have a room full of books waiting. I'm always reading one. I look forward to days when I can just read the day away!
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