Thursday, May 28, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Wyncie King

Wyncie King was born in Covington, Georgia, on September 21, 1884, according to Who Was Who in America with World Notables (1981). His parents were George Whitfield and Susie Davis (Brown) King.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, King, his parents and older brother, George Jr., lived in Paris, Tennessee. His father was a stock broker, and brother a drugstore salesman. Nashville, Tennessee city directories, at, listed King as a clerk at “S W & I Bureau, b 1524 Division” in 1905. The 1906 directory said King was a cartoonist and had the same address. Who Was Who said King was at the Nashville Banner and Nashville Daily News in 1905.

In the Filson Newsmagazine, Volume 6, Number 3, Noah G. Huffman’s profile of King said:

…at age 19, he signed on as a weighmaster for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. While waiting for the next train, King would often fill his spare time drawing sketches and caricatures of his coworkers. Confident that his likenesses were better than those featured in the local paper at the time, King took several of his drawings to the editor of the Nashville Banner who promptly bought them and requested more. Before long, he was on staff at the Banner where he stayed until accepting a position at the Courier-Journal around 1910.
King moved to Louisville around 1906. The 1907 Nashville directory said King “moved to Louisville, Ky.” The listing in the 1907 Louisville city directory said “cartoonist C-J” boarding at “733 4th”. 

It’s not known if King lived in New York City, but, according to American Newspaper Comics, he sold his strip, He Has a Good Friend in Johnny Queerim, to the New York World which ran it from January 31 to March 17, 1908.

In December 1908, Chicago Record-Herald cartoonist King and photographer Lyman Atwell were assaulted by Alderman John Coughlin. It’s not known how long King stayed in Chicago.

The 1910 census recorded newspaper cartoonist King in Louisville at 513 South Second Street. Huffman said, “In 1911, King left the Courier and became the feature cartoonist for the Louisville Herald, a position he held for ten years….”

Louisville city directories, for the years 1914 through 1919, said King resided at the YMCA. On September 12, 1918, King signed his World War I draft card. He was an artist with the Louisville Herald, and named his mother as his nearest relative. King’s description was medium height and slender build with blue eyes and black hair.

Who Was Who said King married Hortense Flexner, on April 30, 1919, who was an editor at the Herald.

Several months later, an exhibition of King’s caricatures made its way to New York as reviewed in the New York Sun, September 14, 1919:

An exhibit of sixty “quasi-caricatures” by Wyncie King, one of the best known caricaturists in America, is being shown at the Morristown (N. Y.) Library for two weeks. The drawings include sketches of prominent Americans in various fields and physiognomic types. It is planned to hang the exhibit in New York at the close of the Morristown engagement.
Press notices from other cities where the drawings have been shown describe Mr. King’s work as a departure from the art of caricature as it is commonly practiced, in that the eccentricities of the subjects are treated with a restrained emphasis that stops short of grotesque distortion.
Included in the exhibit are sketches of some of the more prominent of the striking actors, a number of political celebrities and members of the foreign military mission sent to this country during the war. One group of “types” that has elicited considerable comment consists of drawings of members of the Legislature of a State visited recently by Mr. King for the purpose of getting these studies.
The Kings’ address in the 1920 census was 418 Fountain Court, Louisville.

King’s widow mother passed away January 15, 1921.

King’s advertising work was written up in the Boot and Shoe Recorder, August 13, 1921, and The American Hatter, September 1921. King and Hortense were mentioned in the October 1921 issue of The Bookman.

According to Huffman, King landed a job at the Philadelphia Public Ledger in 1921. In 1925, King was a regular contributor to the Saturday Evening Post. Hortense was a writer for Curtis Publishing from 1923 to 1929. She taught at Bryn Mawr and later, at Sarah Lawrence College.

The Kings made annual trips to Europe from 1926 to 1929. Their address on the passenger lists was College Inn, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. King traveled alone in 1930.

King has not yet been found in the 1930 and 1940 censuses.

While the couple vacationed in Greece, King passed away May 2, 1961. A copy of the Department of State report, at, said the place of death was at a “ ‘Greek Home’ 7 Herakleitou St. Athens, Greece”, and the cause was “occlusion of the myocardium.”

The Jersey Journal (Jersey City, New Jersey), May 4, 1961, reported his death.

New York—Wyncie King, 77, illustrator and caricaturist for many leading news papers and magazines, died Tuesday of a heart attack in Athens, Greece, where he was visiting. 
Mr. King was born in Covington, Ga., but spent most of his early years in Louisville, Ky. He began his career in 1905 as a cartoonist for The Nashville Banner and Nashville Daily News.
Until 1910 he was also an editorial cartoonist and caricaturist for The Louisville Courier-Journal and contributed to the old Chicago Record-Herald and the old New York Evening World.
From 1911 to 1921, Mr. King did cartoons, caricatures and feature drawings for The Louisville Herald. In 1921–22 his caricatures also were seen on the editorial page of The Philadelphia Ledger.
The next year his work began appearing in The New York Times Book Review and the old Life and Judge magazines. he became illustrator for The Saturday Evening Post in 1925 at the invitation of the late Cyrus Curtis, the publisher. Mr. King’s illustrations for The Post included those for article by Will Rogers.
Mr. King was well-known in Philadelphia art circles and his caricatures, many of them in water-color, of members of the Franklin Inn Club of that city still hang on the club’s walls. His work also is in the art collections of the Philadelphia Public Library, the Bryn Mawr College Library and the Filson Club of Louisville.
He had exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the Louisville Art Association.
Though his eyesight was failing in recent years, Mr. King did illustrations for children’s books written by his wife, Hortense Flexner King. They included “Chipper,” in 1941; “Wising Window,” in 1942, and “Puzzle Pond,” in 1948.
The Review Press-Reporter (Bronxville, New York), May 11, 1961, said King was “a former resident of the Croyden Apartments at 35 Parkview Ave., Bronxville…”, and was survived by his wife and brother, George, of Louisville.

King’s remains were buried at Sutton Island Cemetery.

—Alex Jay


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