Tuesday, November 29, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Russ Westover

Russell “Russ” Channing Westover was born in Los Angeles, California, on August 3, 1886, according to his World War I and II draft cards. (Currently, the birth and death dates at Wikipedia are incorrect.) The American National Biography Online said Westover’s parents were Canadian-born Channing Clisson Westover, a haberdasher, and California native Alice Aldrich. 
RootsWeb said the couple married July 5, 1894 but the year is incorrect, most likely a typo, and probably occurred in 1884.

The 1895 Oakland city directory said Channing Westover, of C. Westover & Co., resided at 664 18th. Westover’s father passed away December 10, 1895 as noted in the San Francisco Call, December 12. 
Westover—In Oakland, December 10, 1855 [sic], Channing Westover, a native of Vermont [sic], aged 44 years 6 months and 17 days.
Westover, his mother and siblings were named in the December 25, 1895 edition of the Call which reported the will.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded the Westovers in Oakland at 568 Twelfth Street. The Canton Repository (Ohio), July 29, 1928, said Westover attended the public schools of Oakland then studied art, for five months, at the Mark Hopkins Art Institute of the University of California. In 1904 Westover was a sports artist at the San Francisco Bulletin. He went on to work for the Oakland Herald and other San Francisco papers, including the Chronicle, and the Post

The 1906 Oakland directory listed Westover, an artist, and his mother at 940 Chestnut.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012), when Bud Fisher left the Chronicle, Westover continued Fisher’s strip A. Mutt from December 11, 1907 to June 7, 1908. Westover’s next Chronicle comics were Jonathan Nofan, from June 10 to 14, 1908 and Sporting Celebrities When They Grow Old, from August 20 to October 5, 1908.

The California, Marriage Records at Ancestry.com said Westover married Genesta G. De Lancey on August 2, 1908. The 1909 Oakland directory said the couple resided at 881 38th. In the 1910 census, their address was 877 Milton Street in Oakland. The same address for Westover appeared in directories from 1911 to 1914. American National Biography Onlline said Westover moved to New York City in 1913.

For the New York Herald, Westover produced Fat Chance (1914), Snapshot Bill (1914–1918) and Looie and His Tin Lizzie (1917–1918). Westover drew Romantic Raymond (1919–1920) for the New York Evening Telegram, and The Demon Demonstrator (1920–1921) for Press Publishing.

When Westover signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917, he resided in Harrington Park, New Jersey, and was a New York Herald cartoonist. The description said Westover was of medium height and build with blue eyes and dark brown hair.

Westover’s most successful strip was Tillie the Toiler which he drew for the King Features Syndicate from January 3, 1921 to October 2, 1952. It was continued by Bob Gustafson. The Sunday page had the toppers Kitty-Change-Her-Mind, The Counter Kids, The Van Swaggers, and Tillie the Toiler’s Fashion Parade. Tillie appeared in comic books and was adapted for film. The Advocate (Stamford, Connecticut), January 13, 2004, published an obituary for Martin Sheridan and said: “…In 1936, he worked as assistant to Russ Westover, who drew the Tillie the Toiler comic strip. That experience led to Mr. Sheridan’s first book in 1942, ‘Comics and Their Creators.’ ”

Gloria Swanson and Westover

Greenwich, Connecticut was Westover’s home, on Sound Beach Avenue, in the 1920 census. The cartoonist had two sons, Russell and Alden. In the 1930 census Westover’s new home was in New Rochelle, New York at 168 Wellington Avenue. This address was recorded in the 1940 census and on his World War II draft card.

On March 16, 1960, Westover returned to Los Angeles from a trip to London. His address was 215 Seaview, San Rafael, California.

Westover passed away March 5, 1966, in San Rafael. He was laid to rest at Mountain View Cemetery

—Alex Jay


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