Saturday, November 03, 2018


Herriman Saturday

October 14 1909 -- A bit of history was made in California yesterday as the first woman has been called to serve on a jury. Before you start thinking that this is an important sign of emancipation, here's the problem -- it was all a mistake, and both the court and the woman called are in a tizzy. She initially refused to serve, then changed her tune and said that she would serve but would insist on the innocence of anyone she was called to judge. The court wants no woman jurors, and is trying to figure out how her name ended up in the pool.

A month later she ended up being called for a trial, and was challenged by attorneys on the basis that she's a woman. The judge would not remove her on that basis alone, so one of the attorneys used up a peremptory challenge to remove her. As far as I know, that's the end of the story of the first woman juror in California.


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Friday, November 02, 2018


Wish You Were Here, from Dwig

This very fancy Dwig card, which is embossed and surrounded with metallic inks, is from a series in which pretty girls figure prominently (natch) and messages are shown in mirror image. The high-class card makes you think it'll be a Tuck production, but there is no publisher credited. Just that little fellow with the smock displaying the Swiss cross, and an American flag in one hand and a beer stein in the other. The reverse does tell us that this is from Series 30, but that's it. No copyright on the card, but based on others in the mirror series it is from the 1907-1911 period.


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Thursday, November 01, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: George F. Kerr

George F. Kerr was born on March 13, 1870, in Brooklyn, New York, according to a passenger list The 1900 U.S. Federal Census has his birth date as March 1870 and age 30. However, I believe the birth year is incorrect and is, in fact, 1871. The 1870 census was enumerated in early June and Kerr was not listed with his parents, John and Mary in Brooklyn. The first time Kerr appears in the census was 1880, which was enumerated in early June, and he was nine years old. Kerr was 39 in the 1910 census which was enumerated in late April. Similar results are in the 1920 and 1940 censuses.

In the 1870 census, Kerr’s parents were in the household of William Schilling, his maternal grandfather. Kerr’s father was a bookbinder. They resided in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The 1880 census said Kerr, his parents and seven-year-old brother, Albert, were still part of the Schilling household. Their address was in Brooklyn at 104 South 3rd Street.

Kerr’s early life and career were mentioned in The Illustrated American, October 14, 1898, and said in part:

Mr. Kerr became an artist for the very good reason that he had to earn his living and naturally went to work to earn it in the most congenial manner. His father, a business man, died when he was ten years old, and he became a general utility, or devil, which ever you may like to call it, at a printer’s. Then he went and occupied a similar position at Tiffany’s jewelry store, subsequently doing some designing work for a firm of lithographers. Mr. Kerr studied at the Academy of Design and at the Art Students’ League, and has been through his novitiate on the World, the Herald, a newspaper syndicate, and is now working on the New York Sunday Journal. He thinks his partly illustrative work—such as picturing incidents in children’s fairy stories, for instance—is best for him.

An early work by Kerr was a contest drawing submitted to and printed in The Press (New York, New York), March 23, 1890. Kerr won second prize.

Regarding Kerr’s early newspaper days, the Herald Statesman (New York), October 23, 1953, said

Mr. Kerr first illustrated feature stories for the old New York Herald and then became the first artist employed by William Randolph Hearst when the latter bought the New York American. For about 30 years he was the illustrator of the American Weekly, national Sunday supplement of the Hearst newspapers. He also did cartoons for editorials by Arthur Brisbane of the American.
Kerr’s art gained much attention. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 17, 1892, praised his work in New York Herald.  According to the Herald, February 17, 1894, Kerr had wash drawing in the Salmagundi Club’s Black and White exhibit.

The New York, New York, Marriage Index, at, said Kerr married “Marie L[ouise]. Steutlle” on June 1, 1893 in Brooklyn.

The 1900 census said artist Kerr and his wife, Louise, had a son, Jerome, and two servants. Their home was in Brooklyn at 755 Ocean Avenue. In the 1905 New York state census, Kerr had a second son, Eric, and the house number was 473.

in 1904 Kerr was a regular contributor to Haper’s Bazar. He illustrated stories in the July, August, September, November and December issues, and two covers (below).

 Haper’s Bazar 7/1904

Haper’s Bazar 10/1904

Kerr illustrated Curtis Dunham’s The Golden Goblin in 1906. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 30, 1906, praised Kerr and the book illustrations.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 19, 1907, reported Kerr’s divorce proceedings.

In 1907 Kerr provided the art for Dunham’s The Amazing Adventures of Bobbie in Bugaboo Land. The book received a favorable review in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 22, 1907.

The New York Sun, January 20, 1909, said Kerr’s divorce was finalized. 

Justice Carr in the Supreme Court, Brooklyn, yesterday granted Mrs. L.M. Kerr a decree of absolute divorce from George F. Kerr, the artist, of 743 Ocean avenue, the custody of her two children and $60 a week alimony. The suit had been pending since May, t907. Violet E. Mayho [sic], an artist’s model, was the corespondent in the case.
Later in 1909, Kerr married Virginia Mayo in New Jersey according to the state’s marriage index at

Caleb Lewis’s Almost Fairy Children, illustrated by Kerr, was published in 1909.

According to the 1910 census, Kerr, his wife and mother resided in Brooklyn at 743 Ocean Avenue. Kerr was a self-employed magazine illustrator.

Details of Kerr’s divorce were published in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, October 10, 1910.

On September 20, 1911, Kerr and his wife returned from a trip to Cuba.

American Art Annual, Volume 12 (1915) included Kerr in its listings, “KERR, George, Art Department, “N. Y. Journal,” New York, N. Y. I.—Member: SI 1913.”  The same information was repeated in volume 14.

In a 1971 issue of Films in Review, a profile of Walter Lantz said “When he was 15 Lantz got a job as copy-boy at William Randolph Hearst's ‘New York American’ and was soon made jack-of-all-jobs in its art department, the staff of which then included George Kerr and Willy Pogany. ‘They let me do an occasional lettering job,” Lantz says, “and gradually let me draw some of the characters in their comic strips.’”

Mary Frances Blaisdell’s Bunny Rabbit’s Diary was published, with art by Kerr, in 1915.

The 1920 census recorded Kerr, his wife and servant in Mamaroneck, New York at 11 Pryor Lane. Kerr was a self-employed illustrator.

Kerr visited Cuba again in 1926. He returned to the port of New York City on July 20. The passenger list said his address was the Hotel Gramatan, Bronxville, New York.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Kerr drew Frolics of Florabel, from May 2, 1926 to April 17, 1927. It was quickly followed by Kerr’s Florabel Flutter’s Abroad, which ran from May 8 to October 16, 1927. Both series were written by Berton Braley,

Kerr has not yet been found in the 1930 census.

Kerr had an entry in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1939, New Series, Volume 34, Number 3, “Kerr, George F.* 7375; Radio funnies, the greatest comedy and drama of the air, ( C) 1 c. Aug. 18, 1939; G 33636.”

In the 1940 census, Kerr’s home was in Yonkers, New York at 1 Bronxville Road. The artist and his wife lived alone.

Kerr contributed comic book artwork to Dell in the 1940s.

Kerr passed away October 21, 1953, in Yonkers. The Herald Statesman said Kerr

died Wednesday at his home, 1 Bronxville Road, after a long illness. He was eighty-four and had been blind for the last few years.

In the children’s book field, Mr. Kerr was known particularly for his illustrations of the work of Thornton Burgess in “Peter Rabbit” and “Mother Westwind.”…He did a number of unsigned “Raggedy Ann” comic story books for the Dell Publishing Company.

Mr. Kerr was an honorary member of the Society of Illustrators in New York, having been one of the first in the organization early in the century when Charles Dana Gibson was president. He had been a member of the Artists and Writers Association and the Dutch Treat Club. He was an alumnus of Cooper Union.

Further Reading
Field Guide to Wild American Pulp Artists
Lambiek Comicloedia

—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Magazine Cover Comics: Frolics of Florabel

Here is the magazine cover comic Frolics of Florabel, which ran at the rate of one or two per month from May 2 1926 to April 17 1927. This is a rare one since it was distributed by Johnson Features, a not particularly successful syndicate which was one of those formed by William H. Johnson in the years after he left the Hearst fold. The syndicate offered a weekly magazine cover service (and probably the insides as well) and interspersed this running feature with various one-shot covers.

Rare is the occasion that I compliment newspaper poetry, but Berton Braley was a cut above the norm. Not only was his verse actually funny on occasion, but he had a good sense of rhyme and meter. A less complimentary opinion I have to offer for the work of George F. Kerr on this feature, which offers bland and uninspired art. Kerr could do better, and usually did when he was working on Hearst material, which was his real bread and butter. Alex Jay will show you some much better Kerr work tomorrow.

The Florabel character was soon revived in a second series in which her adventures going abroad are chronicled. We'll cover that series one of these days.


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Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Donald F. Stewart

Donald Farquharson Stewart was born on March 4, 1880, in Fletcher Ontario, Canada. The birthplace was found in Who’s Who in America, Volume 23 (1944). The birth date and full name were recorded on Stewart’s World War I draft card. The 1900 U.S. Federal Census had his birth as March 1900. A copyright catalog had the birth year 1880 and full name.  However, Stewart’s World War II draft card had the year 1881 and Who’s Who had 1882 and said he attended high schools in Chatham, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan.

In the 1900 census, Stewart, an artist, was the youngest of three siblings whose mother was a widow. Who’s Who said Stewart’s parents were John Grasic Stewart and Elizabeth Maitland who were identified as Scottish emigrants in the census. Stewart emigrated in 1898. The family resided at 194 Field Avenue in Detroit.

Who’s Who said Stewart married Mary Etta Mclntyre on June 23, 1902.

According to Who’s Who, Stewart was an artist and writer for American Boy Magazine from 1900 to 1903 and the Detroit Free Press from 1903 to 1906. Stewart produced The Adventures of Inventor Wheelz and His Wonderful Dummy for the Free Press from February 22 to March 15, 1903.

Stewart’s Prohibition Cartoons was published in 1904.

According to the 1905 New York state census, cartoonist Stewart, his wife and five-month-old daughter were Brooklyn residents at 520 Quincy Street.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 20, 1906, said Stewart was president of the Oliver W. Stewart Political League whose “aim is ‘the development and practice of the rule of civic righteousness.’”

The Eagle, May 22, 1906 said “‘Cartoons’ was the subject for discussion at the meeting of the Oliver W. Stewart League, held last night in Hart’s Hall, Broadway and Gates avenue. Donald F. Stewart, the cartoonist, gave an interesting chalk talk on ‘The Making of a Cartoon.’” The Brooklyn Daily Standard Union, May 27, 1906, gave a lengthy description of Stewart’s talk.

Cartoons Interest Bushwick’s Temperance Advocates.
“The Making of a Cartoon” was the subject of a very interesting talk by Donald F. Stewart, cartoonist, formerly of the Detroit “Free Press,” at a meeting of the Oliver W. Stewart Political League, in Hart’s Hall, on Monday night.

The league is composed of many persons of the Bushwick section of the borough, and is devoted to the spread of temperance and the downfall of the saloon, though not pledged to total abstinence. Illustrating his talk with pictures, drawing with crayon as he went along, Mr. Stewart gave some inside facts in a cartoonist’s busy life that make interesting reading.

“The idea of a cartoon,” he said, “was inspired generally by something observed by the cartoonist in the editorials or news columns of his own paper. Sometimes, after having prepared a cartoon to fill the space set aside for his work, something important happens that calls for him to get up something entirely different In the space of twenty minutes. This happened when I was on the “Detroit Free Press,” after Senator Tillman had made a venomous attack on Booker T. Washington in a Detroit hall one night. Mr. Washington was expected to speak in the same hall the following night, and being human, though black, he was expected to reply to Tillman in much the same manner.

“Anticipating such a result I had prepared a cartoon in advance showing the sable philosopher pouring the vials of his wrath on the Pitchfork Senator, with Tillman writhing on the ground, and Washington standing above him pouring out upon him the contents of an enormous bottle. Twenty minutes before the paper went to press copy came in from the reporters, wherein it was stated that Washington had declined to say anything about Tillman more than he knew Tillman to be as much of a gentleman as he hoped he was. Senator Tillman had the right of every American citizen to press his opinion; that he had the right to reserve his, and that he intended to exercise that right.

“I was hustled out of my bed by a telephone message, and when I reached the office I was told to make another cartoon to suit the new conditions. The city editor, nervously puffing a big, black cigar, walked up and down my office, and I followed in his footsteps. Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed. Five minutes more and the paper would go to press without my cartoon. Suddenly a brilliant thought struck the city editor, and acting on that thought, the contents of the vials of wrath were changed into coals of fire. It was one of the very best cartoons I ever drew and I have an autograph letter from Booker T. Washington commending me for the inspiration.”

Cartoonists, he said, were a jolly and a sad lot; generally a hard-worked man who had original ideas, but who must adapt himself to the policy of the paper, and to frequently draw what he himself does not believe.
Whos Who said Stewart contributed to the New York Globe from 1906 to 1907 then the Detroit News from 1907 to 1909. In 1909 he was the founder and manager of Stewart & Stewart Engraving & Electrotyping Company.

The 1910 census recorded Stewart, his wife daughter and son in Detroit at 320 Garland. Stewart was a self-employed engraver.

Who’s Who said Stewart was naturalized in 1912. Beginning in that year Stewart was editor and publisher of Day’s Work.

On September 12, 1918, Stewart signed his World War I draft card. The editor and publisher of Day’s Work Publishing Company resided at 635 Cadillac Avenue in Detroit. He was described as tall, medium build with brown eyes and gray hair. Who’s Who said Stewart was associated with Boni & Liveright starting in 1918.

Day’s Work published the Manual of American Citizenship in 1919.

In the 1920 census, Stewart, a writer, was a lodger on Griswold Street in Detroit. Stewart returned to New York City.

Who’s Who said Stewart was with the American Viewpoint Society, a department of Boni & Liveright, from 1923 to 1924. However, Stewart was the editor of We and Our Government, an American Viewpoint Society book, which was published in 1922.

Beginning in 1924, Stewart was editor of the Loyal Order of Moose (L. O. O. M.) publications such as Mooseheart Magazine.

Stewart was a New York City resident in the 1925 New York state census. The editor, his wife and daughter were at 395 Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan. Five years later, Stewart’s Manhattan address was 105 Pinehurst Avenue. He was a newspaper editor.

Stewart was a witness in the trial of Pennsylvania Senator James J. Davis who was accused of operating an illegal lottery. The Eagle, September 20, 1932, said “…On the witness stand throughout the legal duel was Donald F. Stewart, editor of the Moose Magazine. Stewart, a small, waspish man, with clipped, gray mustache, horn-rimmed spectacles and pink shirts, was the Government’s first witness yesterday….”

After the 1930 census, Stewart moved to Washington, D.C. His home address in the 1940 census was 2440 16 Street. Stewart was a magazine editor. The same address was written on his World War II draft card which described Stewart as five feet eleven-and-a-half inches and 162 pounds.

Stewart passed away October 30, 1945, in Aurora, Illinois, as reported in many newspapers including the Buffalo Evening News and Kingston Daily Freeman which said

Donald F. Stewart, 63, publicity manager of the Loyal Order of Moose and editor of the Moose Magazine since 1924, died last night at Aurora, Ill.

Stewart, who spent his lifelong career in newspaper, magazine and publishing work, was a native of Fletcher, Ontario.

For several years he maintained a summer residence at Woodstock and was well known in this city and Ulster county.

One daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Stewart Dean, survives.

Funeral arrangements and place of burial were not announced in the story carried by The Associated Press.

—Alex Jay


Desperately tryying to contact Allan Holtz regarding an article he wrote about my grandfather. Also have some artwork my grandfather and great grandfather did that I would like him to look at.
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Monday, October 29, 2018


Obscurity of the Day: Adventures of Inventor Wheelz and his Wonderful Dummy

Groundbreaking comic strips can sometimes be found in the darndest places. Here we have a very early quasi-robot comic strip from 1903, long before the term 'robot' even existed. While others usually called them mechanical men in those days, cartoonist Donald F. Stewart more modestly called his a dummy. However, he's a wind-up mechanical man and that makes him a robot in my book.

Stewart was a cartoonist for the Detroit Free Press, and as far as I can tell this is the only comic strip series he ever penned for the newspaper. The series ran for four episodes from February 22 to March 15 1903, the entire run of which are displayed above. The first episode gives the inventor the name Wheels, then switches to Wheelz for the balance of the series.

There's an unfortunate repetitiveness to the strips, in which each week the dummy attracts the ire of a half-witted cop, and hijinks ensue. This is much like the later robot strip  Percy - Brains He Has Nix, which usually followed the same formula.


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