Thursday, February 11, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Leonard T. Holton

Leonard Thornton Holton was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on September 6, 1900, according to the American Art Annual, Volume XXVI (1929). Holton’s full name was recorded on his World War I draft card.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Holton was the oldest of two sons born to Parke, a masseur, and Elizabeth. Also in the household were Holton’s maternal grandfather, aunt, uncle and cousin. The family resided in Philadelphia at 5007 Cedar Avenue.

Holton signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He was employed as an estimator at an electric company. Holton named his father as his nearest relative. Holton lived with his parents at 3719 Baring Street in Philadelphia. The description of Holton was tall, medium build with gray eyes and dark brown hair.

Holton’s address and occupation were the same in the 1920 census.

The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index, at, recorded Holton’s marriage to Margaret Ernst in 1924.

Holton provided material to Life magazine. Another contributor was Edward Longstreth. A 1928 issue of Life mentioned the duo’s forthcoming book

“What”ll We Do Now?”

Two of Life’s contributors, Edward Longstreth and Leonard T. Holton, have lately been scouting around in an attempt to discover and tabulate the great Indoor Sports of America. They have interviewed various prominent people, and have amassed a large collection of popular parlor pastimes which is about to be issued in book form. The title of the volume is to be “What’ll We Do Now?" and the publishers are Simon and Schuster.
The book was published in Spring 1928. Soon after the book’s release, some of Holton and Longstreth’s games were published in newspapers including the Lexington Leader (below), June 11, 1928.

More games can be seen in the Delmarvia Star, April 14, 1929 and August 4, 1929.

The 1929 American Art Annual said Holton, an illustrator and watercolorist, lived in Philadelphia at 3501 Powelton Avenue, and was a member of the Society of Illustrators.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Holton began illustrating newspaper features in 1929. For the Ledger Syndicate, Holton produced Two Innocents Abroad, beginning in July, followed by High-Hat Hattie, in October, for Newspaper Feature Service. When High-Hat Hattie ended January 12, 1930, Holton produced Sunday Follies on January 26, also for Newspaper Feature Service.

A review of The Gun Club Cook Book, in the Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania), October 11, 1930 said: “…For humorous embellishment we have numerous black-and-white drawings by Leonard Holton, a young Philadelphia illustrator, whose comic spirit is true; and his touch is fine.”

In the 1930 census, humor artist Holton remained on Powelton Avenue but at number 3423. His son, Warren, was one year and seven months old. Some time later, Holton moved to New York City.

The 1940 census said Holton resided at 14 East 64 Street in Manhattan, New York City. He had been in New York City since 1935. Holton, who had a third grade education, was a writer in radio.

In the 1930s through the 1950s, Holton found work writing for radio, television (Schlitz Playhouse of Stars and The Dagmar Story) and the stage. The Inquirer, October 24, 1949, said: “A stage revue lampooning television penned by Leonard Holton, once of the Bob Hope Show, is tempting Abbott and Costello to return to the Broadway boards.”

Who’s Who in American Art (1959) listed Holton as an illustrator at 129 East 82nd Street, New York City. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators. In 1960, Holton received a copyright for his Clip-O-Grams.

Holton passed away March 1980, in Brooklyn, New York, according to the Social Security Death Index.

—Alex Jay


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