Monday, March 26, 2018

 

Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Beaumont Fairbank


Beaumont M. Fairbank was born on December 30, 1876, in Brooklyn, New York, according to his Social Security application which had his middle name as Moulinear then Moulineror. Fairbank’s middle name was Molinar on his World War I draft card. Fairbank’s parents were Beaumont H. Fairbank and Emma Meeks who married in 1872 in Manhattan, New York City.

The 1875 New York state census recorded Fairbank’s parents, brother William, and maternal grandfather Charles Meeks in Brooklyn on Schermerhorn Street. Fairbank’s father was a jeweler.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Fairbank, his parents and older brother were Brooklyn residents at 146 Lawrence Street. Brooklyn directories dated 1888 to 1890 listed the Fairbank family at 594 Halsey Street.

According to the 1892 New York state census, Fairbank’s maternal grandfather was part of the household at 584 Halsey Street.

Information about Fairbank’s art training has not been found.


Fairbank was an artist in the 1900 census. He would make a career of illustrating trains. Fairbank resided with his parents and brother, a journalist, in Brooklyn at 823 Quincy Street.

The 1905 New York state census said Fairbank and his parents were in Brooklyn at 1969 East 14 Street.


News of Fairbank’s marriage appeared in the Jersey Journal (Jersey City, New Jersey), September 4, 1908, “Miss Emma Miller of 165 Sip Avenue and Mr. Beaumont M. Fairbank of 1969 East Fourteenth Street, Brooklyn, were married Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 2, at the parsonage of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Mercer Street near Varick Street, by the pastor, Rev. Eugene E. Neudewitz. The witnesses were Mr. and Mrs. A Bearse.”

The Fairbanks’ address was unchanged in the 1910 census. Newspaper illustrator Fairbank and his wife had a newborn son Loren. They were part of Fairbank’s father’s household.

Fairbank’s art was published in some of the leading magazines and newspapers such as Puck, May 25, 1910, Life, February 1, 1912, and New York Tribune, August 28, 1921.




In the 1915 New York state census, Fairbank was the head of the household which included his parents. Their Brooklyn address was 1542 East 14 Street.

Fairbank signed his World War draft card on September 12, 1918. He was a newspaper artist employed by the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. His home was in Brooklyn at 1428 East 14 Street. Fairbank’s description was slender build, medium height with black hair and brown eyes.


Fairbank drew Open Throttle and Heavy Grade which ran from October 4 to December 20, 1914 in the Eagle Sunday Magazine. In 1917 Fairbank provided spot illustrations for the Eagle’s “News of the Week" column which was retitled “The Week End” in the summer of 1918. Here are links to several columns: 2/3/1917; 2/17/1917; 2/24/1917; 3/3/1917; 3/10/1917; 3/17/1917; 3/24/1917; 3/31/1917; 4/7/1917; 4/21/1917; 3/2/1918; 4/13/1918; 4/20/1918; 5/18/1918; 6/22/1918; 7/6/1918; 8/3/1918; 8/24/1918; 8/31/1918; 9/7/1918; 9/14/1918; 10/26/1918.

The 1920 census recorded Fairbank in his father-in-law’s household; Charles Miller was a real estate agent. Fairbank was a self-employed illustrator. They lived in Rockville Centre, New York at 21 Irving Place. 

The 1925 New York state census said Fairbank continued to be in his father-in-law’s household in Rockville Centre but at a different address, 110 North Lee Avenue.

In the 1930 census, Fairbank was head of the household which included his father-in-law and two brother-in-laws. Fairbank was a newspaper artist and his son a photographer.




May 1938

Fairbank has not yet been found in the 1940 census. He was in the 1942 Rockville Centre city directory at 110 North Lee Avenue.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Fairbank created Railroad Red which ran from February 24, 1941 to December 21, 1941. It was distributed by the Bell Syndicate. A 1941 summer issue of Railroad Magazine noted the new strip, “Beaumont Fairbank, artist, 110 N. Lee Ave., Rockland [sic] Center, who contributed a front cover and several cartoons to Railroad Magazine a few years ago, is now doing a clever rail comic, “Rockland [sic] Red,” which Bell Syndicate is handling for various newspapers. Rail comic strips are rare; hence the interest attached to this one.”

The Leader (Freeport, New York), November 4, 1948, reported that a painting by Fairbank won the Memorial Library poll: “‘Mail Train in Snow Drift,’ an oil painting by Beaumont Fairbanks [sic], of Rockville Centre, was adjudged the favorite in the poll of exhibits by patrons of the Freeport Memorial Library. This was announced at the reception given by the Freeport Artist Guild in the library on Monday night.”

Some time between late 1948 and early 1949 Fairbank passed away. The Leader, March 24, 1949, published the following article.

March-April Exhibit Opens at Library
Works of the Late Beaumont Fairbank Among Those Shown

The March-April exhibition of paintings was opened Saturday at the Freeport Memorial Library. Most of the exhibitors are members of the Freeport Artists Guild.

The north wall features works of Beaumont Fairbank of Rockville Centre, an Artists Guild member who died recently. Mr. Fairbank won top honors in the popular vote award in November with his painting “Mail Train in Snowdrift.” A resident of Rockville Centre for thirty years he was born in Brooklyn seventy years ago. He lived in Brooklyn for thirty years, and was known for his work in the Brooklyn Eagle. He did many comic strips, one entitled “Railroad Red.” He also did many magazine covers. His colored reproduction of the January 27, 1923 Literary Digest cover is exhibited in the Library. There is also a pastel of a train, entitled “Express” and a black and white drawing.

—Alex Jay

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