Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: F.W. Parks


Francis William “Mike” Parks was born in Indiana on July 22, 1899. Parks’ birth date was recorded on his World War I draft card, and his birthplace was mentioned in the Warsaw Times-Union Spotlight, September 14, 1974.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Parks was the youngest of two sons born to David and Mary. His father was a Presbyterian minister. The family resided in Center, Indiana.

According to the 1910 census, Parks, his parents and two siblings lived in Cincinnati, Ohio at 2103 Langdon Avenue. The family moved when Parks was six years old. He cut out and collected political cartoons from the newspaper.

At some point, Parks moved to Nappanee, Indiana, where he started the eight grade and finished high school in 1917. A Landon School advertisement said: “Four Successful Landon Students From One Village. Here is the record of Four boys—all from Nappanee, Ind., (2200 population) who after taking the Landon Course, won national reputations.” The four cartoonists were Merrill Blosser, Henry Maust, Fred Neher and Parks.

After high school, Parks attended Wooster College in Ohio but left and enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. Carey Orr of the Chicago Tribune was his teacher.

Parks signed his World War I draft card on April 12, 1918. His address was 1255 Westlake, Lakewood, Ohio. The artist was employed by the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Parks named his mother, in Gooding, Idaho, as his nearest relative. The description on the card said he was of medium height and build with brown eyes and hair.

In the 1920 census, Parks was at the same address which was the home of Charles J. Seaholts, a newspaper artist, and his family. Seaholts was also a Landon School student.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Parks produced several series for NEA. Nutty News debuted April 3, 1919, which was followed by O.U. Busher on December 26, 1919. The following year saw the release of Current News in Verse and Views, January 10; Rare Birds, April 22; The Third Party, August; and Betty and Her Beau, October 27.

The 1921 Cleveland, Ohio city directory listed Parks at 1212 West Clifton Boulevard.

The Fourth Estate, May 28, 1921, noted Parks next move: “Francis Parks, formerly a cartoonist on the staff of the Newspaper Enterprise Association, is now a cartoonist for the Milwaukee Journal.” It’s not known how long Parks was with the Journal.

Parks relocated to Omaha, Nebraska. The 1926 city directory had Parks, an Omaha Daily News artist, at 1036 South 31Street, Apartment 4. The 1929 directory said Parks was an art manager whose address was unchanged.

The 1930 census recorded Parks, his wife, Lillian, and four-year-old daughter, Patricia, at the same address. The newspaper cartoonist was 23 when he married.

Omaha directories from 1934 to 1936, said Parks was an Omaha Bee-News artist who lived at 4659 Woolworth Avenue. At some point Parks moved to the World-Herald newspaper. He was listed in a 1939 Omaha directory as a World-Herald artist who resided at 4509 Walnut.

Parks packed up the family and moved to Oakland, California. His home address in the 1940 census was 22 Vetuan Way. The census said Parks had completed one year of college.

A 1953 issue of Telephony said:

“Another artist, Francis Parks, son of a Presbyterian minister, has worked for the Hearst newspapers in the capacity of editorial cartoonist. Currently he is with the San Francisco Call Telegram. His productions are tops from an artistic as well as idea portrayal. Many of his cartoons are reprinted in the largest eastern papers.
The 1963 Santa Rosa, Sonoma, California city directory listed cartoonist Parks and his wife at 906 Monroe. The following year’s directory said Parks was retired and residing at 2810 Montgomery Drive.

Parks passed away February 22, 1979, in Santa Rosa, according to the California death index. He was buried at the Santa Rosa Memorial Park.

Further Reading
The Nappanee Six: Hoosiers With National Exposure

—Alex Jay


Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]