Saturday, September 09, 2017


Herriman Saturday

May 8 1909 -- A nice character study of Los Angeles Angels' manager Hen Berry.


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Friday, September 08, 2017


Wish You Were Here, from an Anonymous Rube Goldberg Copyist

This is another of my Foolish Questions postcards produced to fool buyers into thinking they were getting a real Rube Goldberg production. The art and gag does pretty good justice to the verisimilitude of the fake, but the artist always seems to  leave a clue  -- here the dog and the face of the questioner just don't look like Goldberg's work to me.

Thanks to Evan Schad, we now know that G&B is Gartner & Bender out of Chicago.


"Wish you were here"
Glad I'm not, you take care there in the penisula!
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Thursday, September 07, 2017


King News by Moses Koenigsberg: Chapter 9 Part 2

 King News by Moses Koenigsberg

Published by F.A. Stokes Company, 1941

Chapter 9

The Myth of the "Message to Garcia" (part 2)

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Disappointment pursued me throughout the war with Spain. The failure of my attempt to carry a message to Garcia was only the beginning of a series of frustrations. Hope of winning a commission in a competitive examination was destroyed on May 12th. That day Governor Johnston announced his appointments of field and staff officers. He had broken his promise. Chagrin turned my thoughts to Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. They were assembling at San Antonio. There, in my home town, I might find better auspices for enlistment. A conversation with Colonel Craighead dismissed this notion. He pointed out that Roosevelt’s men came largely from the West and Northwest. That fact made it unlikely that they would reach Cuba ahead of troops claiming immunity to yellow fever. Perhaps more important was my job as correspondent. That would be impossible for a member of Roosevelt’s regiment.

On May 21st, the Gulf City Guards were mustered in at Alba’s pasture near Frascati, outside Mobile, as Company E of the Second Alabama Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Eight days later, a trainload of laughing, cheering troops rolled through our camp, waving the campaign sombreros that were destined to symbolize for a number of years the elan of the American soldier. They were Roosevelt’s Rough Riders en route to Tampa. It was a tantalizing spectacle. Apparently, I had foozled my calculations. These boys from the West were beating me to the front.

Two more weeks of dejected waiting brought suddenly revived hopes. On June 15th the quartermaster began the issuance of ordnance and clothing. We were given rifles of the same pattern used by the state militia. Nearly all the equipment was secondhand, but that only spelled the shortening of delay. Indications that we were on our way to real action increased hourly. We were assigned to General Coppinger’s command. On June 17th we broke camp at Frascati and marched eleven miles to Spring Hill. We were part of the second brigade of the First Division of the Fourth Army Corps. At reveille on June 19th the camp was in a hubbub. Orders had come to board transports in Mobile Bay. But the tents were not struck that day. Somebody in authority had discovered at the last moment that General Coppinger’s corps was not quite ready for front-line duty. The second brigade was armed with single-shot Springfield rifles with black-powder cartridges. It might be at some disadvantage facing smokeless Mausers, each capable of a spurt of five bullets.

Other deficiencies magnified the absurdity of the embarkation order. A supply of Krag-Jorgensen automatics identical with the regular army rifle would have been of scant help to the volunteers. Without a course of instruction in its use, they would have found this gun more of an embarrassment than a weapon. Not a third of the brigade was fit to approach, much less enter, a combat area.

Henry Flagler
On June 20,1898, General Coppinger was directed to move the first division of his corps to Miami, Fla. To the rank and file, this news came as glad tidings. Our tents would be “just around the corner” from Cuba. To the staff officers, the order came as a shock. They recalled publication of the results of a survey of the area by Gen. J. F. Wade. He described the section as unfit for camp purposes. Only two years before it had been the site of an Indian trading-post. The settlement consisted of a couple of dwellings, a general store and Fort Dallas, a little stone relic of the Seminole uprising sixty years back. Then Henry M. Flagler extended the Florida East Coast Railway to this primitive spot in a palmetto wilderness. He began the construction of the Royal Palm Hotel. It was to be the nucleus of an expansive pleasure resort. Plans for this development were still in embryo at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War.

Flagler was an intimate of Russell A. Alger, Secretary of War. Of course, patriotic motives guided their discussions of Miami as a proper place for the training of volunteer regiments. The wildness of the terrain was a point in its favor. However, $10,000 of Flagler’s personal funds would be spent in making the tract more usable. It is not recorded that General Wade’s report was mentioned in the conversations between Flagler and Alger. Surely, there were no predictions that any fault in the General’s findings would be cured by the War Department’s approval of Miami. Assumably, hygienic conditions entered into Uncle Sam’s selection of a cantonment location. Such a choice was interpretable as government indorsement of the region’s salubrity. That would make ideal advertising. So, there could have been no talk about the tremendous promotion values that might accrue.

Twenty-three months after Miami’s incorporation as a township with 260 population, its name was regularly appearing in newspaper datelines throughout the country. Daily dispatches reported the military schooling of the First and Second Alabama, the First and Second Louisiana, and the First and Second Texas regiments. On arrival in Florida these units had been transferred to Gen. Fitzhugh Lee’s Seventh Army Corps as its First Division. For several days, press accounts of what happened to the troops at Miami were tinged with humor. My own stories paralleled those of the other correspondents. By a strange unanimity, the unexpected job of clearing a jungle for an encampment was treated as a joke on 6,000 rookies. It turned out a miserable jest. Its ineptitude was emphasized by the damningly excessive rolls of dead, disabled and invalid members of the First Division.

My first experience with censorship came in mid-July. Dr. Vilas, the surgeon in charge, had denied me admission to the division hospital. A soldier able to walk should apply at his regimental headquarters for medical treatment. The Second Alabama’s camp was nearly three miles away. It was a scorching afternoon. Dr. W. H. Oates, a contract physician working under Vilas, noticed my condition. He motioned me inside his own marquee. An examination showed a temperature of 104°. Dr. Oates quickly settled me on a cot in the nearest ward and then sheared off enough red tape to assure me of its occupancy until pronounced fit for return to my company.

News drifted around me of such a nature as would have been unobtainable by direct inquiry. Fretful surgeons, in the presence of harmless invalids apparently too apathetic to listen, flouted the inhibitions that ordinarily would have checked their tongues. They spilled story after story. The urge toward a telegraph wire became an obsession. The steward on duty was a conciliatory fellow especially responsive to pecuniary favors. By the end of the third day he had agreed to help me file dispatches. When tattoo sounded at nine o’clock, he would draw aside the canvas flap behind my cot, permitting me to slip out unnoticed to the Western Union office in the Royal Palm Hotel 1,500 yards east. It was his own idea to fix an ice pack inside my campaign hat.

That night a drunken nurse set the tent afire. He had overturned a kerosene lamp. Flaming oil spattered over the delirious typhoid-fever patient who lay next to me. In the consequent racket my get-away was unobserved even by my confederate. But an exasperating hindrance awaited me. The telegraph operator refused to transmit my copy without the censor’s O.K. That seemed unbelievable. The only ban on news transmission, of which notice had reached me, related to troop movements. Now any need for even that prohibition was gone. The power of Spain had already crumbled at Santiago. So there was no longer a dangerous enemy to justify a tightening of censorship. Surely there could be no official restriction of intelligence concerning American soldiers encamped on American soil and addressed by an American correspondent to an American newspaper. The censor promptly vetoed this conclusion.

“My instructions,” he said, “are to cut out anything calculated to discourage recruits from enlisting.” An American censorship to deceive Americans! A formula to suppress that character of information to which the public was more fully entitled than any other disclosures the war might produce! A barrier to prevent or impede corrective measures on which the survival of our armies might depend! It aroused in me an indignation that never fully subsided. It prompted the formulation of a protest the issuance of which was to bring one of the most stressful of my experiences. Its publication was necessarily deferred until my release from army discipline.

The usual course of censorship followed. It generated rumors more alarming than the truth would have been. The real conditions were bad enough. An over-arduous drill-master was piling unbearable ordeals on a plethora of tropical malignities. Prevalent incompetence was deepening and widening this nasty slough. Regular routine was repeatedly suspended by regiments too debilitated to assemble for inspection. Letters to the folks at home sowed widespread fears. Most of these messages of misery harped on a common subject—a persistent feeling that the published obituary lists, despite their staggering length, covered only a part of the actual death-roll. Reports spread through the South that epidemics of smallpox and typhoid fever were wiping out the First Division. An outcry arose to “rescue the troops from the Miami ‘Camp of Horrors.’ ”

Plain abandonment of this military site at that juncture would be an awkward confession of an ugly error. Why had it been chosen in the first place? While army diplomats wrestled with this embarrassment, popular pressure intensified. A newspaper statement by Governor Culberson marked the climax. “If the War Department is unable to move our two regiments to a safe distance from their present quarters,” he was quoted, “the State of Texas will presently undertake to do so.” The Governor was never required to explain this challenge. That afternoon, July 29th, the War Department found a way out of its strait. Orders were issued to mobilize the Seventh Army Corps at Jacksonville. This obviated the need for any mention of the mistake of Miami. It provided a sufficient reason, together with the instructions, to transport the First Division 400 miles north.

Unbridled joy over the news of their deliverance swept through the six regiments. Bonfires were lighted. At the head of each regimental street, hundreds of soldiers danced around the flames yelling and singing. The rhythm of a Civil War chant rolled through the camp to the refrain, “We’ll Hang Old Flagler to a Sour Apple Tree.” The celebration grew into a deafening charivari. It wound up in song services of praise at the half-dozen Y.M.C.A. tents.

We were installed in Camp Cuba Libre at Jacksonville—Gen. Fitzhugh Lee’s headquarters—during the first two weeks of August. The succeeding month witnessed more bickering than soldiering. A consensus that the war was practically over divided the volunteers into two factions. One, comprising most of the enlisted men, looked eagerly forward to muster out. The other, including nearly all the commissioned officers, preferred to continue under arms. The difference frequently flared into bitterness.

Results of informal polls, allegedly taken to ascertain the wishes of the rank and file, were always hotly disputed. Each day added to the virulence of the controversy. The epauletted group sent delegations to Washington. They sought every amenable agency to urge retention of their units for service overseas. The plain soldiers were forbidden any joint movement in opposition. Orders were posted threatening punishment under The Articles of War for any concerted action intended to shorten the army’s term of duty. More than forty years later, another American army—the draftees of 1940-41—found itself in a similar plight.

The pother about the muster out of the volunteers of 1898 increased the power of the mills grinding the wrath of a journalist in soldier’s khaki. My contemplated remonstrance against military censorship in particular had broadened into an attack on military outrages in general. It would be best presented in book form. Its vehicle would be a first-hand history of the First Division of the Seventh Army Corps. The harrowing scenes enacted in Miami suggested the title—Southern Martyrs.

The Brown Printing Company, of Montgomery, agreed to publish my book if assured of the cost of printing. This guaranty was promptly forthcoming. It was furnished by Maj. W. W. Brandon, my battalion commander, afterward Governor of Alabama and a picturesque figure at Democratic national conventions. Brandon was a lawyer. His advice steered me through the shoals of a unique crisis. Subscription blanks for Southern Martyrs were distributed. They set publication for October 20th. That was the day on which the Alabama regiments would be mustered out. Some of the slips for subscribers fell into unfriendly hands—officers uncomfortably certain of censure in any critical review of the volunteers’ sufferings. A committee visited the Brown Printing Company.

The spokesman warned the publishers that the book they proposed to issue from the pen of a sergeant in the United States Army might be indefinitely delayed. The callers brought some confidential information. Evidence was claimed that the manuscript constituted insubordination, contumacy and disloyalty of such grossness as warranted the arrest of the writer for trial by court-martial. Under such circumstances publishing plans might be most unprofitably disarranged. The committee was glad to offer this intelligence in time to prevent a loss. Moreover, there were important friends who would be pleased to know that the Brown Company had withdrawn from a venture that threatened so much unpleasantness.

This warning produced effects wholly opposite to its purpose. It infused the printers with an odd optimism. “If they put you into prison, your book will sell like hotcakes,” the head of the firm jubilantly assured me. The prospect was not nearly so beguiling to me as it was to my publisher. The solicitude of a partner who would welcome an increase of profits through my confinement behind jail bars did not impress me. In fact it pinned a queer suspicion to Mr. Brown’s sinuous aura. Besides, my paramount obligation in this transaction ran to Major Brandon. There was pressing need for his counsel.

Southern Martyrs were stacked in racks on top of which a cot for my use was fastened with ropes.
Brandon confirmed the possibility of my subjection to a trial by court-martial. He had considered this before giving his pledge of security to the Brown Printing Company. Until that day, it had seemed too remote a contingency to bother about. Now stringent precautions should be taken. Brandon had been present when several angry officers discussed ways and means of effecting my arrest. Their ebullitions had concerned him less than the disclosure of Brown’s attitude. My vigilance must be especially directed toward my publisher. No part of the original manuscript or any reproduction thereof should be allowed to reach censorious hands until the day of the writer’s discharge from the army. Only by locking myself in the printing plant was it possible to provide the safeguards Major Brandon advised. Every second of the next three weeks was spent in a self-imposed incarceration. The author slept on the type for his book. The page forms of

Brown’s resentment did not ease the strain of that stretch. On the other hand, we beat our schedule. The 212-page cloth-bound volume was ready for distribution on October 18th. A somewhat pretentious sales show was arranged to coincide with the muster-out proceedings of the Second Alabama regiment in Montgomery two days later. As each soldier stepped from his last function in the army—the collection of moneys due him—he would turn to face a tally-ho fifty paces in front of the paymaster’s booth. The vehicle was filled with copies of Southern Martyrs. Beside it several attendants in scarlet surtouts were blowing hunters’ horns to attract attention.

The performance wasn’t well received by the disbanded soldiers of the First Alabama regiment in Birmingham. An angry throng, surrounding the coach, ordered it driven to the edge of East Lake. There, while the horses were being unharnessed, the driver and his companions sought safety in flight. The tally-ho, with 1,000 copies of my book aboard, was tossed into the lake.

It relieved me afterward to learn that this was not just an uncouth form of literary criticism. It was an explosion of mistaken partizanship. The mob had been actuated by a baseless rumor that my book presented Colonel Higdon in an unfavorable light. Perhaps it was fortunate that the task of getting my certificate of discharge from the army detained me in Montgomery that day.

Dispersing members of the Second Alabama were more favorably disposed. They bought 700 copies of Southern Martyrs in three hours. At $1.25 each, the proceeds not only canceled Major Brandon’s obligation but also left a margin of gain.

Release from the restrictions of military discipline redoubled my eagerness to press the crusade which it had been my intention to initiate with Southern Martyrs. My exhortations fell on unresponsive ears. Those accessible to my urgings had other views. They would defer action until the outcome of the inquiry ordered by the President. “There’ll Be a Hot Time in The Old Town Tonight,” became the song tag of the Spanish-American War. More appropriate might have been the childhood chant—’“Here we go ’round the mulberry bush.” The fanciful shrub of that juvenile game would have been a fitting emblem for the volunteer army regime. And its make-believe foliage would have furnished a suitable canopy for the commission appointed by President McKinley “to investigate the conduct of the War Department in the war with Spain.”

The pussy-footing report of that board of inquiry discouraged me less than the general indifference with which it was received. There was no public disposition to appraise the military establishment. The common attitude of the average American—then, as always, except for two intermissions—reflected a species of bottomlands reasoning reported by the long-forgotten Arkansaw Traveler. The native was explaining to the wayfarer why he didn’t repair the gaping rent in the roof of his shack. “When the sun shines,” said the local sage, “there’s no need for fussing with that hole; and when it rains it’s too slippery to get at the darned thing.” The age of this parable never lessened its pertinence. It always served as an apt commentary on the American way of handling the national preparedness problem—adherence to a statesmanship in complete harmony with the breadth and contours of its cornfield origin.

While Southern Martyrs fell short of its aim as an agency for reform, it led to the breaking of an employment record. Maj. W. W. Screws, editor of the Montgomery Advertiser, thought the book entitled me to residence in Alabama with membership on the staff of his newspaper. Colonel Craighead, learning of this arrangement, invited me to report the proceedings of the state legislature for the Mobile Register. Then—without solicitation of any kind on my part—five more jobs were handed to me.

Salaries came to me as assistant reading clerk of the House of Representatives, as assistant secretary of the Senate Committee on Rules, and as correspondent watching certain types of proposed enactments for three interstate business organizations—the American Proprietory Association, consisting of owners of patent medicine brands, a society of bankers and a group of manufacturers. They were perquisites regularly given to the correspondents for the two leading papers of the state during the legislative session. My earnings reached $135 a week.

Chapter 9 Part 3 Next Week   
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Wednesday, September 06, 2017


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Arthur Lewis


Arthur Allen Lewis was born in Mobile, Alabama, on April 7, 1873, according to a passport application and several volumes of the American Art Directory.

In the 1875 New York state census, Lewis was the only child of machinist Seth and Ida. They resided in Syracuse, New York. Lewis, his parents and sister, Grace, were Buffalo, New York residents in the 1892 New York state census.

A profile of Lewis, at the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections, said after graduating from high school, Lewis enrolled at the Buffalo Art Students League where he studied under George Bridgman. 

A passport was issued on August 16, 1894 to Lewis whose occupation was clothing manufacturing. Who Was Who in American History, Arts and Letters said Lewis studied art at Ecole des Beaux Arts, in Paris, under Gerome. Lewis exhibited at various salons and at the 1900 Paris Exposition.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census, recorded artist Lewis, his parents and sister in Chattanooga, Tennessee at 721 East 8th Street. However, Who Was Who said Lewis returned to America in 1902.

The Daily Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York), February 3, 1903, reported a show of Lewis’s etchings.

Arthur Allen Lewis, who has studied for the past eight years in Paris at the Colarossi and other schools, and who is a friend of C. Field, who baa also been abroad for some years, has about forty-one etchings displayed in a private exhibition now being held in Mr. Field’s studio, which is in his home, at 106 Columbia Heights.
Brooklyn city directories, from 1904 to 1907, the 1905 New York state census, and 1910 census, said Lewis, an artist, lived at 104 Columbia Heights. Lewis was a Brooklynite in 1915 New York state census; his address was 68 Cranberry Street.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said James Montgomery Flagg and Lewis produced the Sunday comic, Nervy Nat. They took turns drawing it from May 2, 1909 to September 5, 1909. For the New York Herald, Lewis drew the Sunday feature, The Rag Tags and Bob Tail, from March 12 to July 16, 1911.

Art by Lewis

In 1915, Lewis illustrated Charles Stephen Brook’s book, Journeys to Bagdad. Years later, Lewis’s title page lettering was developed into an alphabet for the New Yorker magazine by its art director, Rea Irvin. In the profile of Warren Chapel, Something About the Author, Volume 10 (1990) said:

In 1915, Allen Lewis had made wood-engraved illustrations for Charles Stephen Brook’s Journeys to Bagdad, a Yale University Press publication. The display letter he used was one he had designed himself and cut in wood. Rea Irvin, art director of the New Yorker, had used the design as the basis for the special face that was cut for the magazine without leave or credit.

Who Was Who said Lewis married Bessie Jayne on May 2, 1917. The couple lived in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, when Lewis signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He was described as tall, medium build with brown eyes and black hair.

Lewis was a Southington, Connecticut resident in the 1920 census. He and his wife lived on Spring Street. The couple’s next home was on North Maple Avenue in Bernards, New Jersey, according to the 1930 and 1940 censuses. In 1940, Lewis’s mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and nephew were part of his household.

The Bookplate Annual for 1922 published the article “The Chiaroscuro Bookplates of Allen Lewis”.

Lewis was an instructor at the Art Students League, New York, 1924–1932, and the New School for Social Research, 1932–1934. 

Lewis won many awards and honors including a bronze medal at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition; the Logan Prize of the Chicago Society of Etchers; the Brooklyn Society of Etchers’ Noyes Prize; medals from the Expositions of San Francisco; St. Louis and Philadelphia (Sesquicentennial, 1926); and the Nathan I. Bijur and John G. Agar Prizes of the American Society of Etchers and the National Arts Club.

Lewis passed away March 20, 1957, in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. He was laid to rest at the Florida Cemetery in Orange County, New York. Lewis’s death was reported in the New York Times, March 21, 1957

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, September 05, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: The Bad Dream that Made Bill a Better Boy

William Steinigans was a fine cartoonist who is most remembered for his dog strips, but in fact his longest running series was The Bad Dream that Made Bill a Better Boy, in which the ubiquitous dogs were mere bit players. In this strip a kid, Bill, has wacky dreams from which he invariably wakes with a resolution to be a "better boy". The dream fantasy elements are often derivative of McCay's Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, which pre-dates this strip by a year. On the other hand, the Steinigans strip began earlier than another very famous dream strip by McCay, Little Nemo in Slumberland, by a few months, and the comparison to that strip is obvious. So if you condemn Steinigans for copying McCay, you can say McCay returned the favor with his own bout of plagiarism.

In my book I quote Ken Barker's New York World index, saying that the initial strip, which ran on August 13 1905, was penned by Gene Carr. In doing further research, I find this is not the case; Steinigians authored the strip from the beginning. I can see how Barker got fooled, though, because the panel in which Steinigans signed the strip turns into a black blob on microfilm. Barker saw that the rest of the page was by Carr, and assumed he was responsible for the 'Bill' strip as well.

The Bad Dream that Made Bill a Better Boy ran in the New York World's Sunday comic section on a regular basis for just short of six years, ending on April 16 1911. Although the strip never was anywhere near as stunningly inventive as McCay's dream strips, it was nevertheless a cut above most of the strips running in the Sunday sections of those days -- at least it wasn't about prank-pulling or people with 'funny' accents.

My favorite aspect of the strip was that Bill's bedroom would be shown as decorated in some wild manner at the end of each strip. While Steinigans' dream sequences weren't really showstoppers, Bill's room is bizarrely different in each strip, which adds a delightful extra gag and visual candy in what would otherwise be a very repetitive last panel.



In fact, the first strip published on August, 13 1905 is signed by CARR ; you can see that on the same page (page 3 of the Funnies Supplement), he drew Romeo on three strips (Romeo You can’t hang him) and on the same page, the very first strip of the series, called as « A Bad dream that made Bill a better boy » duly signed and with the same graphic style.
The next week, Steinigans took over on the series
Best regards !,
Pierre-Henry LENFANT in Lomé TOGO
pictures will follow by email

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Monday, September 04, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: Snoodles

Cy Hungerford's long-running kid strip Snoodles isn't so much a true obscurity -- it was relatively popular in syndication in its day -- but has since been pretty thoroughly  forgotten. I guess that's because it was completely eclipsed by blockbuster kid strips such as Reg'lar Fellers and Skippy.

Hungerford's ambitions lay more in the editorial cartooning world than in comic strips, but his simple unadorned drawing style was ideally suited for a comic strip. So it's a good thing that the Pittsburgh Post enthusiastically accepted from him Snoodles, which debuted in that newspaper on February 23 1913 (a Sunday, but the strip was in daily format, and ran daily from then on). The Post was a member of Associated Newspapers, so they submitted Hungerford's strip to the co-op, and soon Snoodles was popping up at other major metropolitan papers that were Associated members. The strip initially used a diary format, and thus was titles Snoodles' Diary. This conceit was dropped after a few years.

At some date which is practically impossible to pinpoint (my guess is circa 1916-1918), Hungerford broke free of Associated Newspapers, which as a co-op probably paid him nothing for the syndication of the strip, and signed up with the George Matthew Adams Service. The new syndicate put Snoodles on a paying basis for Hungerford, and in the cartoonist's own words, he continued "until he got tired of it."

In my book, I offer the strip's end date as 1927. Most histories suggest a date sometime in the mid- to late-1920s, Hungerford himself mentions ending it in the latter part of the 1920s, and the strip was last advertised in the 1927 E&P Syndicate Directory. Problem is that now that I have reviewed some papers running it later, ones that did not run reprint material, and it seems as if the new material was produced into the 1930s, perhaps ending October 30 1932 (date from Hamilton Journal-News). Only after that does it seem to appear in newspapers that buy old material. Reprints continued to be sold to rural papers well into the 1940s.


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