Saturday, February 16, 2019


Herriman Saturday

November 20 1909 -- Here we have Herriman putting in a lot of cartooning work to illustrate a non-story. This one is about a court case in which the judge called an adjournment for the day in the middle of the prosecutor's case. This is really not noteworthy, but some reporter who sat in the courtroom all day with nothing to show for it came up with a very slender hook on which to hang a publishable story.

It is surprising, I guess, that it took so long for politicians to fully realize the benefit they could gain by feeding nothingburgers to reporters. Reporters good and bad are always in search of copy, and if they are at all lazy, or tired, or set upon by an editor, they'll take pretty much any shiny bit of bait they see. A current resident in Washington has turned that process into a fine art, and reporters seem helpless to ignore the bait, even when they realize exactly what he's up to.


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Friday, February 15, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Charles Dana Gibson

Here's another card from the Detroit Publishing Company's Gibson series, this one number 14029. This drawing originally ran in Life in 1895, and I cannot fathom why they would have resurrected it for this card. The composition is awkward, and the man and woman seem not to be quite perfectly tethered to the ground. The gag, unless I'm missing something, is not put across well at all (I guess the two were smooching before the man with the trunk arrived?).

This card, like my other Gibsons, is unused. It has an undivided back, placing it pre-1907.


Looks to me like an illustration for a story, not a gag cartoon per se. I do recall a Gibson cartoon showing two sweeties on a couch, and you can tell from the crushed puffed sleeve on the lady that they had been candoodling close just a second or two before the scene. Here, the clothes are not deranged. The trunk seems like it's poorly packed.
This is a freestanding cartoon, and that's the original caption. The couple are newlyweds almost caught in the act; hence the awkward, hastily assumed postures.

Clothes are not deranged, but the bride's hat and hair are out of kilter and she looks a bit rattled. The elegant groom dropped hat and cane on the floor; their position suggests some action between the two chairs. The newspaper is an odd touch; wonder if Gibson meant us to think the man is oh so casually covering his naughty bits.

Hints that they're newlyweds: "Their room" has a sign by the door, implying a hotel. Those are big limp bows decorating the trunk, perhaps indicating that it and the couple came straight from the wedding venue.
Fair enough, I see your points readily.
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Thursday, February 14, 2019


Magazine Cover Comics: Fascinating Phyllis

After devoting such a long time to Hearst magazine covers last month, let's cleanse the palate with one from Pulitzer.

Although the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was where Joseph Pulitzer began his newspaper empire, once he had the New York World, the P-D ceased to be the flagship paper in the chain. Most but not quite all comics and features issued forth from the World, but every once in a while the Post-Dispatch threw its weight around, replacing those issued features with local content.

An example of that is Fascinating Phyllis, which was used on the Sunday magazine covers of the Post-Dispatch for awhile instead of the New York material. This pretty girl cover series was first seen on May 14 1911, before the pretty girl magazine cover story strip had even become a standard trope. The pleasant art was by Marguerite Martyn, who was employed for many years at the Post-Dispatch in both an artistic and reportorial capacity.  The verse was supplied by Willis Leonard Clanahan, who shows up on the interwebs for a few published stories and songs.

Fascinating Phyllis ran on the Sunday magazine covers in the P-D through August 27 1911.


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Wednesday, February 13, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Annette Bradshaw

Annette Heald Bradshaw was born on January 24, 1879 in San Francisco, California. Bradshaw’s full name and birth information are from her Social Security application (viewed at which also had her parents’ names, George H. Bradshaw and Ella Smart.

The 1880 U.S. Federal Census recorded Bradshaw’s first name as Avis who was the youngest of four siblings. Her father was a stock broker and her mother a housewife. The household included Bradshaw’s paternal grandmother and uncle. They resided in San Francisco at 2107 California Street.

Bradshaw was profiled in the Iowa City Press-Citizen (Iowa), September 28, 1921 and said in part

Miss Bradshaw was born in San Francisco, and even before she had finished high school, showed so decided an ability for “making pictures” that she was allowed to follow the bent of her inclination and devote herself to the study of art. When she was about eighteen she became connected with the illustrations, caricatures and, sometimes, cartoons but all the time she worked and studied to realize her ambition to become a portrait painter.
According to the 1900 census Bradshaw was a newspaper artist who lived in San Francisco at 703 Sutter Street. Her birth month was recorded as May.

I believe the San Francisco Call, September 1, 1901, published a photograph of Bradshaw on horseback. The spot illustrations are by C.E. Tebbs.

At some point Bradshaw moved to New York City where she married Charles E. Tebbs, an English artist, in Manhattan on October 6, 1902. Their marriage was reported in the San Francisco Call twenty-two days later. 

Popular Young Artists Married in New York
Annette Bradshaw and Charles Tebbs Formerly of Call Staff Joined in Wedlock.
News has just reached here of the marriage in New York of Miss Annette H. Bradshaw to Charles Ernest Tebbs. Until recently both were numbered among the popular newspaper artists of this city. The couple were joined in wedlock at St. Michael’s Church on Monday, October 6. The announcement of the marriage of the young newspaper artists was not a surprise to their many friends in this city as it has been known for some time that they were engaged. Both Mr. and Mrs. Tebbs were employed on The Call art staff for several years. Mrs. Tebbs is a handsome brunette, well liked socially and withal a clever artist. The groom’s home is in New York, but he was employed on the newspapers of this city for several years.
The 1905 New York state census said housekeeper Bradshaw and her husband lived with his brother, also an artist, in Manhattan at 26 West 97th Street.

Bradshaw’s letter was published in The Craftsman, February 1905. 

From Annette B. Tebbs, New York City: "Will you kindly forward plans of Craftsman House No. 10, which appeared in the October number, 1904. Mr. Tebbs, who has charge of the Art Department of New York Journal and American, says that the things you are turning out of your shops are the most graceful and artistic he has seen and putto shame this up-to-date rubbish turned out by the thousand.”
On July 30, 1908, Bradshaw and her daughter, Helen, sailed on the Merida from Veracruz, Mexico. They arrived in New York City August 7. The following year Bradshaw and her husband visited England. They returned to New York aboard the steamship Mauretania on November 25, 1909. Bradshaw contributed an article, “The Farming Experiment of a Woman”, to American Homes and Gardens, November 1908. 

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 31, 1909, said Bradshaw was one of the guests at the Lakewood Hotel.

In April 1909 Bradshaw copyrighted one her of her designs.

Bradshaw patented a design according to the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, July 27, 1909.

Bradshaw has not yet been found in the 1910 census.

Collier’s, May 13, 1911, printed Bradshaw’s “The Fashion in Woman’s Hat Plumage”.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Bradshaw was one of several artists to draw Romantic Cartoons for the Newspaper Feature Service, a Hearst syndicate. The series began with Gustav Michelson on December 8, 1913. Bradshaw produced it from August 25, 1914 to June 30, 1926 with contributions by other artists during her run. The series was also known as Feminine Foibles, Feminisms, and Her Problem.

Iowa City Press-Citizen said

After a while Miss Bradshaw came to New York where she worked for ten years for various metropolitan dailies, doing news illustrations of the big events of the day that lent themselves to vivid portrayal. During this time her deft pencil drew most of the famous characters brought into the focus of the newspaper lime-light, from Nan Patterson to Harry Thaw and alternating these “heart-interest” assignments with opening days at horseshows, notable weddings and similar spectacular events.
All the time Miss Bradshaw was leading a double art life—that is she was doing a certain amount of work each day in her up-town studio and was rapidly winning a place as a portrait painter, the work to which she now gives practically all of her time save that which she devotes to her “Feminisms” and “Her Problems”. “I cannot entirely sever myself from the old life in black and white and the occasional smell of printer’s ink,” she declares, “and the social cartoons are, sort of connecting link”.

Miss Bradshaw’s newspaper work has, among other things, made her an expert in fashions, but her inherent love of caricature and her unusual sense of humor has led her to make the lay figures, upon which her fashions are displayed pictorially, really human—just folks—such folks as one sew stopping or at theatres, or in uptown hotels or restaurants and with all the amusing idiosycrasies [sic] which even fashionably dressed people show at times.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 20, 1916, said Bradshaw and her husband were guests at a clambake.

According to the New York, New York, Marriage License Index (at, Bradsahw married James D. Grant in Manhattan on June 29, 1918.

In the 1920 census, Bradshaw, her husband and daughter were Syracuse, New York residents at 253 Dewitt Street. Bradshaw’s occupation was recorded as “none” while her husband was a manager of electrical supplies.

The Commercial Register (1920) had this listing: “Tebbs Annette B. (Miss), 45 W. 11th. Artist, 37 W. 39th. 2 3”.

1925 New York state census recorded artist Bradshaw and her family as Manhattanites at 19 Gramercy Park. Her husband was an accountant and her daughter an interior decorator.

On February 23, 1928, Bradshaw departed Buenos Aires, Argentina. She arrived in New York on March 13. Her address on the passenger list was 1 Lexington Avenue, New York City.

In 1935 Bradshaw sailed from New York, November 2, to San Diego, November 16. Her address was 42 West 35th Street, New York City. Her companion was seven-year-old Dwight Prouty.

According to the 1940 census, “Pronty” was a grandson born in Buenos Aires. Bradshaw, her husband and grandson made their home in Los Angeles at 5717 Melvin. Bradshaw was a photography agent while her husband was a mining business promoter. In 1935 they lived in Queens, New York.

On July 4, 1946 Bradshaw flew from Mexico to Burbank, California. Her address was 2149 Wall Street, San Bernadino, California, which was the home of her sister, Mrs. Lucy E. Fowble.

Bradshaw passed away December 7, 1952, in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, according to the American Foreign Service’s Report of the Death of an American Citizen (viewed at Ancestry,com). The cause of death was “Infarct of the Myocardium” or heart attack. The cremated remains were delivered to Bradshaw’s daughter, Mrs. Helen Flood. Also mentioned were Bradshaw’s sisters, Fowble of San Bernadino and Mrs. Francis G. McCann of Cuernavaca.

Further Reading and Viewing
Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress
Women and the Comics (1984)
Front-Page Girls: Women Journalists in American Culture and Fiction, 1880–1930 (2006)
Drawn to Purpose: American Women Illustrators and Cartoonists (2018)
Chronicling America

—Alex Jay


Just a few minor things: In 1910, 6-year-old Helen Tebbs was living with her maternal grandmother in Maine, suggesting that Annette and Charles may have been travelling abroad again. Also, her grandson's name was Dwight Prouty, III.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Bertha

Bill Gallo was a New York Daily News fixture for over half a century, covering sports graphically and in prose for an appreciative sports-mad city. Gallo's most famous and enduring creation as a sports cartoonist was Basement Bertha, a frumpy yenta whose abiding passion was sports.

Gallo's realm was almost exclusively the sports pages, but in the early 1970s he was prevailed upon to add to his responsibilities a Sunday color comic strip using the character. The strip was like the other Sunday News homegrown features in that it never ran every week, but appeared only when there was a hole that needed to be filled in the Sunday section. The strip was titled simply Bertha (not Basement Bertha as reported in the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons), and I don't have definitive start and end dates for it, but can only report having examples from 1972-1975.

I was all hepped up to try out the new addition to of the Daily News to get you definite dates on Bertha, but I was crushed to find out that their Daily News archive don't include many Sunday comics sections for the early and mid-1970s.


Allan, I own 99.5 % of the Sunday sections from 1970 to present. I have 18 instances of BERTHA appearing between March 26, 1972 and July 15, 1979. They break down this way....

4 in 1972
6 in 1974
3 in 1975
3 in 1976
1 in 1978
1 in 1979

Doc V.
One thing to consider is that this rare filler may have appeared additionally in the "Home" vs "National" editions of the Sunday comics. I've found over the decades there were occasional discrepancies based on ad placements.

If you ever have questions pertaining to the NY Sunday News comics, ask away. I've indexed their contents from the mid 1960's to 1988 (with 1989 to present sitting a few feet away, unindexed) as well as at least half of the 1940's and 1950's and a third of the 1930's.

Doc V.
Thank you very much for the information, Doc V! I've been told that you've shared a lot of your NYSN research on Facebook, but since I'm not a member of that clan I haven't been able to take advantage.

I'd very much like to pin down the running dates on all these fillers, and was jumping with joy when the News was announced to be available on Alas, it turned out to be a terrible disappointment.

I have encountered the differences you speak of between the local and national edition of the News, but not with enough data to come to any conclusions at all. Are the fillers limited to one or the other? (That would make research a bit easier, so I'm guessing the answer is no.)

For the record, here are most of the Sunday News start and end dates I'm missing. The first two are syndicated, but I think they may have definitive end dates in the SN:

* end date in the NYSN for Laugh-In
* end date in the NYSN for Louie
* start date for Teenwise
* start date for Beany
* start date for Bibs 'n Tucker
* start and end date for Bumper to Bumper
* start and end date for The Folks Upstairs
* start and end date for Fun Fare
* confirmation of start and end dates of This Man's Army
* start date for Tweety-Pie
* start and end dates for The Zanities

--Allan Holtz

Allan, I'll look up those fillers for you tonight. One thing memory tells me is that Bumper to Bumper was a prime example of a filler that appeared in one or the other local vs national editions of the NYSN. And I believe it worked both ways, sometimes it appeared in the local and not national, and sometimes the reverse! So this is very frustrating in developing an all-time index. I literally need a complete collection of both versions to nail it down 100%! I also believe that at many, many points in time, the two versions were identical, and I have both versions from certain weeks in the 1940, 1950's and 1960's that show no difference.

My Facebook group devoted to this particular Sunday comics is called "The New York Sunday Comics History Group"

Doc V.

In the NYSN, first the definites....

Laugh-In ended on 3/26/74
Louie ended on 9/29/74
Teen-Wise began on 9/11/66

Now comes the rest...

Beany - The earliest I have is the very first paper to appear after the newspaper strike. The section is undated but is probably right before 4/7/63. My blog post on the strike has a scan of it..

Bibs N' Tucker - Earliest I've seen is 3/20/55

Bumper to Bumper - Earliest I've seen is 2/5/56, latest is 6/24/62. This filler was used quite often seitched out with ads in National vs Home editions.

The Folks Upstairs - Earliest I have is 5/8/55. Latest is 8/25/57

Fun Fare - Earliest I have is 3/20/55. Latest is 7/15/56

This Man's Army - Earliest I have is 3/27/57. Latest is 4/24/66, after not appearing for about 4 years!

Tweety-Pie. Earliest I have is 9/27/64. Latest is 2/25/79, after not appearing for almost 5 years!

The Zanities - I have 3 total appearances, 2 in 1949 where the strip is actually titled "The Zanities of '49". Earliest is 5/15/49, then 10/23/49, then out of the blue as "The Zanities", on 1/16/55.

Hope this helps!

Doc V.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that information!! I've updated my data and added edits to the posts on this blog with your info.

The piece on your blog about the Daily News strike was fascinating. I made a comment there with some information.

Oddly enough, I have all three of The Zanities, two as tearsheets, one as original art. Weird.

Louie is supposed to have run until 1976, so I guess the News gave up on it a little early ... unless Hanan dropped the Sunday early.

Can I assume you meant 3/26/72 (not 1974) as the end date of Laugh-In?


Yes, 3/26/72 on the last Laugh-In. My error.

Doc V.
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Monday, February 11, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Pranks with Many Funny Looking Birds

It's debatable whether Pranks with Many Funny Looking Birds is eligible for Stripper's Guide listing, being very text-heavy, but I'm giving it a pass on the grounds that it is of (exceedingly minor) historical importance.

On the other hand, there's no debate necessary that it is a pretty awful feature. The attempts at humor, buried in a sea of type, are so amazingly klunky that readers may have died years later still complaining that they want those precious seconds back. And the constant mynah-like repetition that readers must be sure to come back tomorrow for another time-wasting episode certainly does nothing to endear it.

You have to give the bird characters some points though. In spite of Charles and Jean telling many of them that they, or their unborn children, would make a delicious meal, the birds seem perfectly willing to spend some fun time with the two hungry little carnivores. These birds have truly mastered their Buddhist philosophy.

So what do I find at least trivially historic about it? Well, this feature is from 1913, and it offers an educational component -- that is pretty darn uncommon for the era. It wasn't until the 1920s that the educational strips and panels began to proliferate.

Pranks with Many Funny Looking Birds was offered in syndication by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, and the copyright listing tells us that it supposedly debuted in March 1913. However, I just happen to have a few samples of the feature from that paper, and the specific ones cited in the copyright listing did not appear there until May of that year. Therefore, without the luxury of being able to check the Bulletin online, I'm going to guess that its debut in the Washington Star on April 28 is a pretty likely starting point for the series. The latest I can find it running is in the Salt Lake Telegram, which dropped it after June 23.

The panels never included a credit, but the copyright listing cites Walter B. Winstock. A little research shows that Mr. Winstock was employed in the advertising department of the Bulletin, so there's an open question as to whether he actually worked on the panel as artist, writer, or both, or perhaps just had the copyright assigned to him in due to his position.


This feature also was in the Buffalo Evening News, starting on 21 April 1913.
Thanks Mark, we'll push that start back another week.

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