Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Walter Wellman

Walter Jesse Wellman was born in East Jaffrey, New Hampshire on May 25, 1879, according to his World War II draft card. Descendants of Thomas Wellman of Lynn, Massachusetts (1918) said he was born in Dublin, New Hampshire, which is 8.8 miles / 14.1 kilometers northwest of Jaffrey.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Wellman was the second of two sons born to Frank Pierce, a painter, and Mary Jane. They lived in Jaffrey. Picture Postcards in the United States, 1893–1918 (1976) said Wellman graduated from high school in Winchendon, Massachusetts.

The 1900 census recorded Wellman in Boston, Massachusetts at 83 Montgomery Street. He was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The 1901 Technique, the school yearbook, printed a photograph of Wellman in the Glee Club.

The Architectural Annual 1902 had this entry for Wellman: 
Candidates for Degrees and Thesis Subjects
Candidates for the Degree of Bachelor of Science
Walter Jesse Wellman. A design for a railroad station
In 1902, Wellman graduated from MIT. He was named in the 38th Annual Catalogue 1902–1903.
Title of Thesis of Successful Candidates for Graduation, June 1902
Walter Jesse Wellman. A Non-Terminal Railroad Station.
Descendants of Thomas Wellman said Wellman married Matilda Richie in New York City on June 14, 1905. Census records show she was eight years older than Wellman.

Picture Postcards in the United States said Wellman’s “college calendar designs caught the eye of the editors of the Boston Globe, who commissioned him to do comics and picture puzzles.” After college, Wellman moved to New York City. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said he produced several comics for the New York World.

Wee Willie and the Little Big Hat Sisters
Ardent Archie
Misadventures of Archie
It’s Very Strange But It’s Also Very True
Little Tommy Rot and Miss Heartless Flirt
Women Have Such Funny Ways

The Rude Reverses of Reggie
’Tis Love That Makes the World Go ’Round

Mister Hothead—He’s Soon Over It
Splash! Splash! Splash!

For the Boston Herald, Wellman drew Oh, Where, Oh, Where, Has That Willie Boy Gone?, and IfLittle Tommy Tot and Miss Sweetness Yum-Yum was for the Boston Globe.

Wellman made comic postcards and applied for copyrights. The Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Engravings, etc., New Series, Volume 1, Number 6, August 9, 1906, had two entries:

Wellman (Walter), New York, N.Y.
How she pulled his leg. (F 44107, July 23, 1906; 2 c. July 18, 1906.) 1099
Wellman (Walter), New York, N.Y.
Did this ever happen to you? (F 46068, Oct. 5, 1906; 2 c. oct. 5, 1906.) 7071
The Bookseller, Newsdealer and Stationer, February 1, 1909, reported Wellman’s latest work.
Walter Wellman, the cartoonist postcard publisher, is making a ten-strike with his new series of Woman’s Rights postcards. The Suffragette is pictured in the most humorous way.
The original art to one of Wellman’s Suffragette postcards can be viewed at Heritage Auctions.

The MIT 1909 Register of Former Students had this address: “Wellman, Walter J., IV, ’02. Cartoonist-Publisher, 395 Broadway, New York, N.Y.”

Wellman and Matilda lived at 2125 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan, New York City, as recorded in the 1910 census. He was a cartoonist and publisher. Several postcards by Wellman were entered in the Catalogue of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, New Series, Volume 5, Numbers 40–43, October 1910.

Wellman (Walter), New York, N.Y. [25374–25382
Beauty isn’t all on the surface.—Girl’s a goose to fall in love with a quack doctor.—Here’s to the girl with the hobble skirt.—I haven’t got a million.—I like girls with white faces and green-backs.—I’m saving it all for you.—Just make a noise like a petticoat.—Love will find a way. © Sept. 28, 1910; K 14342–14349.
We didn’t do nothin’ but we won’t do it again. © July 8, 1910; 2 c. July 16, 1910; K 11950.
Wellman’s address appeared in the Bulletin of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Register of Former Students, May 1915: “Wellman, Walter J(esse), ’01, IV, ’01. Cartoonist, 108 Fulton St., New York, N.Y.”

Wellman was a contributor to Motion Picture Magazine (November and December 1916) and Cartoons Magazine (July 1917).

Wellman’s article, “Humanizing the House Organ Via the Cartoon”, and cartoon, Raggles the Rover, was published in Postage, April 1918. He also advertised in Postage.

Wellman signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. The self-employed cartoonist resided in Montvale, New Jersey. His description was medium height, slender build, blue eyes and light hair color.

In the 1920 census Wellman’s name was misspelled as “Welming”. He and his wife lived on Fairview Avenue in Montvale. His occupation was magazine cartoonist. Picture Postcards in the United States said Wellman supplied art to Harper’s Bazar, Life, Judge, Puck, and Woman’s Home Companion. Wellman advertised in The Editor, April 25, 1920.

In 1930 the Wellmans remained in Montvale but lived on Hillcrest Avenue. He was a commercial artist. In 1938, Wellman’s puzzles appeared in More Fun Comics

Wellman’s address remained the same in the 1940 census. His occupation was cartoonist. Wellman said he was self-employed when he registered with the draft board on April 25, 1942. The card said he was five feet four-and-a-half inches and 127 pounds. said Wellman passed away in 1949 but did not identify the source.

—Alex Jay


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