Thursday, September 27, 2018
Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Earle K. Bergey
Earle Kulp Bergey was born on August 26, 1901, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania according to his World War II draft card and death certificate, both viewed at Ancestry.com. Kulp was his mother’s maiden name.
In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Bergey was the seventh of eight children born to A. Frank, a musical director, and Ella C. The family resided in Philadelphia at 2348 North 12th Street.
The Doylestown Daily Intelligencer (Pennsylvania), October 1, 1952, said Bergey “graduated from Northeast High School in Philadelphia and attended the Academy of Fine Arts for four years in Phila.”
The 1920 census said Bergey’s mother was the head of the household of seven family members. Their home was 4312 Eighth Street in Philadelphia. Bergey was a newspaper artist.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 13, 1921, reported the Newspaper Artists’ Association’s annual exhibition and said “E. K. Bergey has a series of atmospheric scenes.” Other artists include Charles E. Bell, Hugh Doyle and C. H. Sykes.
The Evening Public Ledger (Pennsylvania), April 18, 1922, identified Bergey as an usher.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Bergey drew Deb Days from June 20 to November 19, 1927. The Ledger Syndicate strip began with Charles J. Coll, Jr., on April 18, and was written by Litta Mabie.
According to the 1930 census, Bergey was a magazine illustrator who lived in his mother’s household which included three siblings and a brother-in-law. Their residence was in Horsham, Pennsylvania on the township line.
The Doylestown Daily Intelligencer said “Bergey had the distinction of creating the design and banner for the Doayapo Clun, a Doylestown young men’s club in the early ’30s, which was most attractive and artistic.”
Bergey is best known for his pulp magazine and paperback book covers produced throughout the 1930s and 1940s.
Bergey lived in Horsham, at 2902 Easton Road, according to the 1940 census. The self-employed artist was married with three children.
During World War II, Bergey was a Doylestown, Pennsylvania resident who registered in 1942. His description was five feet eleven inches, 205 pounds with brown eyes and gray hair. Apparently Bergey did not serve. The reverse side of his death certificate about military service was blank. (A passenger list, at Ancestry.com, has a Staff Sergeant Earle Bergey with Army Serial Number 13098005 but he was born in 1920.) The Doylestown Intelligencer, February 16, 1976, wrote how the local people contributed during World War II and said “An active promoter of bond sales was Earl J. Frick, who was director of Doylestown High School band at the time. He said ‘bond concerts’ were held throughout the winters. Dramatist Oscar Hammerstein, who lived near Doylestown, helped sell bonds, and Earl Bergey, a local artist, did an oil painting of Gen. Douglas MacArthur that was auctioned to the buyer of the most bonds, Frick said.”
Bergey passed away September 30, 1952, in New Hope, Pennsylvania according to the Doylestown Daily Intelligencer. He had a heart attack at a physician’s office. The obituary said Bergey “was a member of the Doylestown Presbyterian Church and was a 32nd Degree Mason….The Doylestown commercial artist was popular and well-known in this section because the models he used in his creative magazine illustrations were Doylestown boys and girls who were just the types needed to delineate characters.” Bergey was laid to rest at Doylestown Cemetery.
Further Reading and Viewing
Dictionary of Art & Artists
Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists
Internet Science Fiction Database
Labels: Ink-Slinger Profiles