Monday, May 13, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: The Phillips

Woodard Prentice Phillips was born on May 15, 1894, in Plainfield, Connecticut according to his World War I and II draft cards. Both cards had his full name. Something About the Author, Volume 10 (1976) said Warren Winfield, a farmer, and Flora Bertha Card, were his parents.

In the 1900 United States Federal Census, Prentice lived with his maternal grandmother, Mary Card, the head of the household and widow, and his father, a widower. Both were farmers in Plainfield. Their situation was unchanged in the 1910 census.

The Norwich Bulletin (Connecticut), October 11, 1915, said “Prentice Phillips left Sunday evening for New York, where he will take a course in drawing.” Almost five weeks later the Norwich Bulletin, November 16, 1915, reported “Prentice Phillips returned from New York Monday afternoon. Mr. Phillips has been attending an art school in New York.”

Prentice signed his World War I draft card June 5, 1917. He was self-employed doing advertising publicity. According to the Norwich Bulletin, August 7, 1917, Prentice passed the physical examination. The Norwich Bulletin, October 29, 1917, said Prentice was a member of the National Army at Camp Devens.

Something About the Author said Prentice married Loretta Hosey on December 23, 1917. She was born on April 17, 1893, in Southbridge, Massachusetts. According to the Massachusetts Birth Records at, her name was registered as “Catharine L Hosey”. Her parents were William Joseph, a building contractor, and Katherine Dempsey. In the 1900 census the family of five resided in Norwich, Connecticut. The 1910 census recorded the quintet in Canterbury, Connecticut. After finishing her education in public schools, Loretta studied at the Norwich Art School in Connecticut. It’s unclear where Loretta made her home while Prentice was away.

Prentice was stationed in Europe for a period of time. On June 5, 1919 he departed St. Nazaire, France and arrived June 13, in Boston. Prentice was a private first class in Company E 301st Engineers.

The 1920 census said artist Prentice and Loretta, a wire mill inspector, lived with her mother, a widow, in Worcester, Massachusetts at 6 Florence Street. Also in the household were Loretta’s two sisters and a niece.

A Modern History of Windham County, Connecticut: A Windham County Treasure Book, Volume 1 (1920) included Prentice in the Plainfield Roll of Honor.

During the 1920s, Prentice was listed in the Worcester city directories as an artist residing at 6 Florence. The same information appeared in the New England Business Directory and Gazetteer for 1922.

Prentice provided the borders for the 1925 book, Brownie the Engineer of Beaver Brook. In 1929 Prentice illustrated Patty Pans: A Cook Book for Beginners.

In the 1930 census, Loretta, a fashion illustrator, and Prentice, a book illustrator, continued to live with her mother at the same address. Both illustrators were self-employed.

In the early 1930s I believe Prentice joined the Worcester Telegram-Gazette newspaper. He was listed in the 1932 International Year Book Number.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Prentice self-syndicated Exploring the World with Carveth Wells, which ran from October 30, 1933 to May 17, 1934.

The 1939 city directory listed Prentice as a commercial artist.

The Phillips have not yet been found in the 1940 census. Prentice signed his World War II draft card on April 27, 1942. His address was the same and he worked at the Heald Machine Company in Worcester.

Something About the Author said

The Phillips’ also are creators of a panel feature, “They Made the Headlines,” which has been running on alternate weeks in Worcester Sunday Telegram for twenty years, and contributors of other illustrated features to Boston daily and Sunday newspapers, and to juvenile publications.
They Made the Headlines started in the mid-1940s and ran into the 1960s.

Together, some of Phillips’ books include Sun Gold: A Story of the Hawaiian Islands (1930), Monte (1948), and Two Silly Kings (1964).

Throughout the 1950s the Phillips kept the same home in Worcester and occupation as illustrator or artist. The 1961 directory had Prentice as a cartoonist.

According to Something About the Author, the Phillips’ address, in 1976, was “1060 Main St., Apt. 317, Worcester, Mass. 01603”. Prentice’s career included “commercial artist, owner and operator of art studio ad advertising agency; free-lance writer and illustrator; former lecturer and teacher of cartooning and commercial art at Worcester Junior College, Worcester, Mass.”

Prentice passed away June 19, 1981, presumably, in Massachusetts. His passing was reported to the Department of Veterans Affairs but, apparently, not to the Social Security Administration. The Massachusetts Death Index said Loretta passed away January 9, 1987 in Worcester. The Social Security Death Index did not have the day of death. 

—Alex Jay


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