Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: C.W. McElfresh

Charles William McElfresh, Jr. was born on October 12, 1900, in Knoxville, Kentucky, according to his World War II draft card which also had his full name. In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, McElfresh was the second of three sons born to Charles, a bookkeeper, and Margaret (Voglesong). The family resided in Portsmouth, Virginia at 515 Owens Street.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 16, 1988, said

Mr. McElfresh had played minor league baseball as a young man and at 16 was offered a contract by the St. Louis Cardinals. He turned it down, instead heading to art school in Baltimore. When he finished his schooling, he spent several years at the Baltimore Sun before moving to Philadelphia.
McElfresh was recorded in the 1920 census as a helper at the navy yard. He continued to live with his parents in Portsmouth on Nashville Avenue. The 1921 city directory listed the house number as 1907.

The Inquirer said “In 1920, Mr. McElfresh joined the Evening Bulletin’s news art department.”

In 1924 McElfresh married Anna M. Eagan in Philadelphia according to the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marriage Index at The Inquirer said Anna was the Evening Bulletin librarian.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said McElfresh drew Charles A. Lindbergh's Life and Adventures from June 13 to July 23, 1927. The series was written by A.J. Wilde and distributed by the North American Newspaper Alliance.

According to the 1930 census, staff newspaper artist McElfresh lived with his wife and one-year-old daughter, Joan, in Philadelphia at 5511 Florence Avenue.

In 1940 McElfresh was a home owner in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania at 282 Sanford Road. In addition to Joan were Charles, Jr. and Anne. McElfresh’s highest level of education was the fourth year of high school. In 1939 he earned $3,500.

On February 19, 1942 McElfresh signed his World War II draft card. His address was unchanged. He was described as five feet six inches, 170 pounds with brown eyes and hair. He was employed at the Evening Bulletin.

The Inquirer said “He stayed at the paper for 45 years, the last 21 years as director of the department. He retired in 1965, but continued to work part time for about six years. … He was an avid golfer and a 35-year resident of Drexel Hill. His wife, Anne M. Eagan McElfresh, whom he met at the Bulletin, died in 1981.”

McElfresh passed away August 14, 1988, in Wayne, Pennsylvania according to the Social Security Death Index. The Inquirer said he was survived by “his son, Charles W.; daughters, Joan M. Greisiger and Anne B.; seven grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.”

—Alex Jay


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