Saturday, April 20, 2019


Herriman Saturday

December 20 1909 -- The first version of Herriman's Mary's Home from College comic strip appeared in Hearst's New York flagships, the Journal and American, and a smattering of papers around the country, back in February to May 1909.

When Herriman ended his Baron Mooch strip in December, which also got some spotty Hearst syndication, he returned to Mary's Home from College for a few episodes before heading on to new ideas. As far as I know, this iteration of the strip ran only in the Los Angeles Examiner, though I could be wrong.

Bill Blackbeard's By George Volume One makes nary a mention of these Mary strips. He jumps straight from Baron Mooch to Gooseberry Sprig. This is odd since he was evidently working from LA Examiner bound volumes. Only explanation I can think of is that maybe he believed they were re-runs from the earlier series. Could he be right? I dunno, because I have only seen a few examples from the earlier series. Apparently some (or all?) from that series were printed in the Fantagraphics Krazy Kat Volume 8, but I do not have that book. Can someone tell me the extent of the Mary's Home from College strips presented there (or anywhere else)?

Anyhow, here is the first Mary's Home From College strip from the Examiner run.


Hi Allan,
The only Mary's Home From College strips I could find were included in the Fantagraphics 1933-34 book. I don't know if that's Volume 8 or not. There are five Sunday half-page Marys from 1909 in there. They are not otherwise dated. Thanks again for your blog,
Mark Kausler
Thanks for checking Mark. Sounds like Blackbeard could only offer a few samples there -- shame he didn't offer the dates. I guess Mary's Home From College needs some additional research work. At least I have Jeffrey Lindenblatt's official New York dates in my book. Someone needs to review that microfilm and see about printing the complete run, even if it will be crummy microfilm versions.

Post a Comment

Friday, April 19, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Dave Breger

Here's another of the wartime Private Breger cards by Dave Breger. This one is Graycraft #303. Note the King Features copyright on it indicating that it is presumably just reused from the newspaper series. 


It is from the syndicated series, though I think they appeared in Stars and Stripes first. That the card series is titled "PRIVATE BREGER" rather than "PRIVATE BREGER ABROAD" may indicate that Breger owned the character and his cartoons, and KFS owned the 'ABROAD title and could only use it for newspaper syndiction.
Post a Comment

Thursday, April 18, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Betty Swords

Betty Swords born was born Betty Armella Edgemond on August 17, 1917, in Gilroy, California. The birth date is from the Social Security Death Index. The birthplace is based on the address found on her father’s World War I draft card, which he signed June 5, 1917. Swords’ full name was published in the 1938 University of California at Berkeley yearbook, Blue and Gold, however, the U.S. Federal Censuses for 1920, 1930 and 1940 said her first name was Elizabeth.

In the 1920 census, Swords was the youngest of three children born to John and Gertrude. Swords’ siblings were John, Jr. and Iris, and her father was a school department auditor. The family lived in Oakland, California at 1955 35th Avenue.

The San Francisco Chronicle, October 18, 1927, named Swords’ elementary school.

Young Pupils Build Theater
Scenes of Old Italy Will Be Presented
Pupils of the fifth and sixth grades of the Peralta School, in Oakland, are building a theater in which scenes illustrating ancient and modern Italy, and episodes from the lives of American inventors will be shown.

The chief architects pf the theater are Carl Theile, Billy Seabury and Lloyd The. Their able assistants are Betty Edgemond, Jean Thursby and Florence Williams. Miss S.M. Thompson is the teacher in charge of the project.

In connection with the building of the theater, the students have turned playwrights and are writing plays which will be produced in class. These plays deal with the lives of American inventors.

in the miniature little theater, a large box was used. Curtains for the stage were made by members of the class and a system of lighting was worked out.

The students plan to make their own motion pictures, which can be shown in their tiny theater.

The 1930 census recorded the Edgemond family in Oakland at 6225 Hillegass. As “Betty A Edgemond” she was listed at the same address in Oakland city directories from 1937 to 1939.

The Milwaukee Journal (Wisconsin), October 25, 1935, published a photograph that included Swords.

Swords was a student at UC Berkeley. The 1937 yearbook Blue and Gold said she was on the managerial staff of the school’s humor magazine, The California Pelican, and “Betty Edgemond made an all-time record of one hundred and thirty-one sales for one day….”

Swords graduated in 1938. 

Her 1938 California voter registration (viewed at said she was a Republican.

According to the 1940 census, Swords was the last child living with her parents at the same Oakland address. Her occupation was new worker.

The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, Volume 5 (1983) said Swords ”entered the Academy of Advertising Art in San Francisco to prepare for a career as a fashion designer but abandoned this intention upon her marriage.”

The Oakland Tribune, December 15, 1941, reported Swords’ marriage.

Another bridal couple whose honeymoon will be cut short by war duties, is Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Swords (Betty Edgemond), married Friday night, in Piedmont Community Church. Wedding plans were disrupted so that a mere handful of guests arrived instead of the 250 bidden. The reception took place in Oakland later where the company was augmented when the all clear signal was given.
Swords’ husband was Henry Leonard Swords, a 1935 UC Berkeley graduate. He was a Western Geophysical Company employee when he registered for the draft on October 16, 1940. His sister, Mary Elizabeth, was a 1937 UC Berkeley graduate.

Swords’ husband’s job required them to move frequently, from California to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. During World War II Swords mailed cartoons to various magazines but did not sell any. In the 1950s, Swords sold gags to Hank Ketcham of Dennis the Menace fame, and other cartoonists. (see The Comics Journal, R.C. Harvey’s 1995 interview with Swords, “At Sword’s Point: Humor as Weapon”).

Swords illustrated the book, Making the Most of Every Move (1958). 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Swords was one of several cartoonists to draw Today’s Laugh, which began September 1, 1947 with Jeff Keats. Swords contributed cartoons from 1963 to 1970. Other cartoonists included Reamer Keller, Rod De Sarro, Tom Henderson, Frank Owen, Jefferson Machamer, Bill King, Cathy Joachim, Bill Yates and Joe Zeis. The panel was serviced by the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate.

In August 1966 Swords was thanked in Jimmy Hatlo’s They’ll Do It Every Time.

Swords’ cartoons were featured in the 1974 Male Chauvinist Pig Calendar published by the Colorado Democratic Women’s Caucus.

Swords was a subject in Robin Orr’s column in the Oakland Tribune, July 18, 1974.

Writer-cartoonist Betty Edgemond Swords, who illustrated the 1974 Male Chauvinist Pig Calendar, is visiting here from her home in Denver and being entertained by friends from her University of California Class of 1938. … Betty’s an active member of of the Denver chapter of NOW, worked like sixty on the campaign that put a colorado woman in Congress two years ago and has just joined a coalition of the Denver chapters of NOW and Gray Panthers (“a fantastic group of people”) dedicated to championing the causes of senior citizens.

Among other things, Betty is a regular contributor (“both writing and cartoons”) to the magazine Modern Maturity, published for the five million members of the National Association of Retired persons. She also writes for the Christian Science Monitor, review books for the Denver Post, had had cartoons published in the old Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and Look, and this February had an article on no-fault divorce in McCall’s

In any event, from her vantage point of long experience in the talent jungle, Betty thinks the women’s movement has come a long way, baby. As she and her friend left for St. Helena yesterday, she said, “I was just about to tell Virginia, ‘See, we’ve become respectable.’ The very idea of a women’s liberation movement has become respected and respectable. We’ve stopped being those bra-less bubble heads.”

The Colorado Springs Gazette, October 15, 1975, mentioned Swords’ upcoming talk.
Betty Swords, Denver Post political cartoonist and book reviewer will be the guest speaker in conjunction with Women’s Week, 1:30 p.m. Friday at the Women’s Week Center, Palmer Wing of Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave. Her topic is “Humor as a Weapon Against Women,” illustrating how American jokes perpetuate myths and stereotypes about women. Ms. Swords teaches courses, workshops and seminars in women’s studies and various fields of humor. She has published articles in McCalls, Christian Science Monitor and other national publications, her subjects being feminism, agism, the handicapped, and legal rights of women. She is founder of Denver’s chapter of National Organization for Women and is a charter member of both the Colorado Women’s Political Caucus and the Democratic Women’s Caucus. Ms. Swords has lectured extensively in behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment and was the 1972 television panel moderator for Gloria Steinem and the Democratic Women, aired nationwide. Ms. Swords’ lecture is free and open to the public.
The Olympian (Washington), September 14, 1986, published columnist James J. Kilpatrick”s response to Swords’ letter.
The other day I innocently wrote something about “women’s lib,” which provoked a hot letter from Betty Swords of Denver. The proper term is “women’s movement,” and I am not to forget it.

Swords sent me a booklet (you will never know what pain it causes me to identify a woman by her last name only) put out by McGraw-Hill providing “guidelines for equal treatment of the sexes.” …

Swords’ husband passed away December 8, 2004. The status of her two children is not known. Swords passed away August 14, 2005, in Denver.

Further Reading and Viewing
Insider Histories of Cartooning: Rediscovering Forgotten Famous Comics and Their Creators
Robert C. Harvey
University Press of Mississippi, 2014

Mike Lynch Cartoons
Photos of Betty Swords

—Alex Jay


Comments: Post a Comment

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Those Girls

The mid-teens were the last waning days for what we here at Stripper's Guide term "weekday features". Weekday features are those that appear in daily format but don't appear six days per week. A weekday feature might manage up to 3, 4 or even 5 times per week, or it might show up just a few times per month, but it was the norm back when cartoonists were under a loose enough rein that they could flit around from feature to feature more or less as they felt the creative urge upon them.

Jack Callahan had a daily spot in the New York Evening World, and in 1916 he most often used that for his panel WhenYou Were a Boy. Every once in a while, though, he felt the urge to draw a bunch of catty gals, and he titled those panels Those Girls. The panel isn't at all memorable; I think they all had names, and they seemed to work at a department store, but that's about all I can say. Callahan didn't put much effort into Those Girls, but it is, I suppose, notable as one of the late examples of the "weekday feature."

Those Girls appeared in the Evening World from June 20 to September 20 1916.


Hello Alan-
I notice there is no copyright line on this one, so would I see this in syndication, alternating with the When You Were A Boy panel, or was it only in the Evening World? Also, I'm guessing the crack wise about the statue of liberty indicates this episode is after 30 July, when the deadly Black Tom explosions shattered the lights in Lady Liberty's torch, among other devastations.
Had never heard of the Black Tom explosion. Very interesting! As far as I know, since both features constituted one daily, they both would have been made available to syndicate clients. I don't have access to the files right now, but I think this sample came from a client paper, not the NYEW. --Allan
Post a Comment

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Gerald O. MacConachie

Gerald Oscar MacConachie was born in Detroit, Michigan. The Michigan, Births and Christenings Index at said his birth date was March 15, 1888. But his World War I draft card said April 15, 1888 and the 1900 U.S. Federal Census had April 1888. His World War II draft card had the birth date April 15, 1889.

In the 1900 census MacConachie was the second of three children born to Peter and Martha, both Canadian emigrants. His father’s business was groceries and meats. The family lived at 109 Greenwood Avenue in Detroit. MacConachie was listed at the same address in 1906 to 1909 Detroit city directories.

MacConachie graduated from Detroit Central High School in January 1907. His artwork graced the cover of the school yearbook Stylus

Below is MacConachie’s second prize drawing

Below are two MacConachie Stylus illustrations.

Marine Engineering & Shipping Age, January 1922, said MacConachie attended the University of Michigan.

The Enduring Legacy of the Detroit Athletic Club: Driving the Motor City (2012) said MacConachie played baseball as a catcher for the Detroit Athletic Club Deltas.

The 1910 census recorded the MacConachie family in Detroit at 55 Noble Street. MacConachie was a newspaper cartoonist. The 1911 city directory said he was a Detroit Free Press sporting reporter.

The Detroit Times, January 15, 1912, mentioned MacConachie and his baseball team.

Three Detroit Players Slated for Jobs with Roesink’s League Club
Dickinson and Schaub, Semi-Pro. Players, and MacConachie, Have Places.
Cleveland May Come In.
Chick Lathers Is Mentioned as a Tiger Who May Be Offered Position.

A. J. Roesink returned this morning from Chicago where he attended a meeting of the magnates of the newly organized Columbian Baseball league, with a franchise for the Detroit club.

He announced that three men now in Detroit would be among the players in the new team. Horace Dickinson and Joe Schaub, outfielders who have played with Roesink’s semi-pro teams for some time, and Gerald MacConachie, who belongs to the Norfolk, Va., team, are the men.

With these three men as a starter, Manager Roesink will build up his team from players who may be obtained from semi-pro teams all over the country or from the league teams in the national organization.

… “The players in the Detroit club will be paid from $200 to $250 a month …”

It’s clear how long MacConachie played minor league baseball.

The New York Clipper, October 11, 1913, reported the Wortham & Allen Carnival at the Michigan State Fair and mentioned MacConachie as a Detroit press representative.

The 1914 city directory said he was a clerk residing at 306 Hogarth Avenue. MacConachie was at the same address in 1915 and a secretary of the Essex-MacConachie Company. 

Detroit Times 5/15/1915

In September 1915 MacConachie produced a thrice-weekly comic strip for the Free Press.

In the 1916 city directory he was cartoonist at the Free Press. MacConachie’s occupation and address were the same when he signed his World War I draft card June 5, 1917.

The 1918 city directory listed him in the United States Navy.

MacConachie was featured in Editor & Publisher’s “Little Tragedies of a Newspaper Office”, April 6, 1918. 

On November 26, 1919 MacConachie married “Neele Fornwalt” in Wilmington, Delaware according to a record at

In the 1920 census, newspaper editor MacConachie and Nell were Wilmington residents at 1103 West Sixth Street. According to Presbyterian baptism records, they had two children, Katherine in 1922 and Gerald Jr. in 1926.

MacConachie was profiled in the Fourth Estate, November 12, 1921.

MacConachie Started His Career as a Reporter
G. O. MacConachie, who, in addition to fulfilling his duties as assistant to President Joseph W. Powell of the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, will have entire supervision of the personnel of the corporation, was born in Detroit.

In 1908 he joined the editorial staff of the Detroit Free Press, later transferring to the Toledo Times. He returned to the Free Press and was with that newspaper until 1914, when he entered the employ of Campbell-Ewald Company, advertising agents.

Mr. MacConachie in 1917 joined the Harlan plant, at Wilmington, Del., of the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, and was appointed head of the service department. During the three and a half years he was stationed with this corporation he supervised the general publicity work and had editorial supervision of its weekly plant publications in the shipyards at Sparrows Point, Md., at the Harlan plant, Wilmington, Del., at the Moore plant, Elizabeth, N.J. and at the Fore River plant, Quincy, Mass.

As cartoonist for the Detroit Free Press and as a writer on industrial subjects, particularly those connected with the shipbuilding industry, Mr. MacConachie has obtained an enviable reputation.

The Evening Star (Washington, DC), January 3, 1922, said MacConachie was appointed to the Civil Service Commission personnel board.

The 1922 Washington, D.C. city directory listed MacConachie as a Shipping assistant manager who resided at the Chateau Thierry.

MacConachie pursued real estate in New York City; excerpt from the New York Herald, May 7, 1922.

When Mr. Day was asked to undertake the sale of the lots he immediately dispatched a squad of his experts to the section to look over the ground and make an estimate of the possibilities of the place from the viewpoint of both the home buyer and the speculator. In this squad was Gerald O. MacConachie of Detroit, Mich., a young man who had come to New York to take charge of the idea Incubator or to use a more technical term, the advertising department of the Day organization. All that Mr. MacConachie had to do was to produce at least one fresh idea a day, a job that he had performed satisfactorily for the Bethlehem Steel Corporation and the Emergency Fleet Corporation. On his first trip to Throgs Neck Mr. MacConachie got as far as the Junction of Eastern Boulevard and East Tremont avenues, where he was so impressed by the health and spirits of the child life thereabouts that ge forgot all about the lots. He had his one his idea for that day so he dashed back to the offive and made this report:

“They raise everything but rents in Throgs Neck section. And because they are their own landlords the folks in this rapidly developing district raise other little things. Hundreds of homes have sprung up where none existed less than a year ago and with the building of the homes there has been the sunshine of childhood to brighten them. The kiddies there are typical wholesome examples of what life in the open, with the green grass under their little feet and the blue sky overhead, will do for youthful eyes and cheeks. No crowded tenement atmosphere could have contributed to such robust happy childhood. They are red-blooded products of the out-of-doors and tributes to the far sightedness of parents who wanted their children to have a chance to grow up next to the heart of nature.”

Advertising & Selling, April 1923, reported MacConachie as director of advertising at Dunlop Rubber Tire Corp. 

The 1923 and 1924 Buffalo, New York city directories listed MacConachie as the advertising manager of Dunlop Tire & Rubber Co. and his address 840 Richmond Avenue. The same address was found in the 1925 New York state census.

In 1926 MacConachie moved to New York City. Editor & Publisher, November 20, 1926, announced the following, “G. O. MacConachie has resigned as advertising director of the Dunlop Tire and Rubber Company to become vice-president in charge of new business of the Brieger Press, New York. He was formerly advertising manager for Joseph P. Day, Inc., New York, assistant to the president of the United States Shipping Board, and publicity director for the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation.”

The Otsego Farmer (Cooperstown, New York), June 24, 1927, said New York City resident MacConachie won third prize in the twenty-third annual tournament of the Summer Advertising Golf association.

Printers’ Ink, November 8, 1928, said MacConachie started his own business, “G. O. MacConachie, for the last two years vice-president in charge of new business of the Brieger Press, New York, has started his own advertising service at New York.”

In the 1930 census MacConachie made his home at 3506 146 Street, Flushing, Queens, New York. The family of four was assisted by a servant.

MacConachie was involved in car racing as noted in the Evening Star (Washington, DC), January 13, 1931.

The New York Sun, March 13, 1934, noted the debut of Silver Lining News, published by the Silver Lining Supper Club of Hotel Piccadilly. MacConachie was the main artist on the News.

In 1940 writer-artist MacConachie was a Flushing, New York resident at 35-32 Utopia Parkway. His two children were teenagers.

MacConachie signed his World War II draft card April 27, 1942. His home was in Bayside, Queens, New York at 215-18 36 Avenue, and his employer was the U.S. Navy’s Bureau of Ships.

In 1946 MacConachie shared a copyright on a drama.

MacConachie passed away January 2, 1957, in New York. He was laid to rest at Fresh Pond Crematory and Columbarium.

—Alex Jay


Comments: Post a Comment

Monday, April 15, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The Gerald O. MacConachie Comic Strip

Gerald O. MacConachie worked at the Detroit Free Press from the late 1900s to the early 1920s, dabbling in sports writing, column-writing and every variety of cartooning -- editorial, sports and comics. He even produced at least one animated cartoon in association with the Freep in 1918. Since his byline doesn't begin appearing until 1915, there's no telling what other jobs he might have had there in the early years of his employment*.

Mr. MacConachie was very much into sports. In the late 1900s he tried for a berth with several minor league baseball teams, though it isn't evident to me if he succeeded. After his days as a newspaperman he seems to have been all over the map -- his name pops up in association with baseball, handball, even auto racing. There was also a Detroit sporting goods company called the Essex-MacConachie Company, though I can't determine if Gerald was the MacConachie in the name. Never fear -- Alex Jay will be here tomorrow with lots of information on Mr. MacConatchie's very active life.

MacConachie was probably employed by the Free Press at least partially on the strength of his sporting world ties, because I have to say that his cartooning started out pretty crude, and may have actually gotten worse over the years. He had a good lowbrow sense of humor, though, as his saving grace.

MacConachie began producing a regular comic strip for the Free Press on September 17 1915, running three times per week. The strip itself had no running title, but there were running titles to his 'bonus panel'. Some of these were Little Moments in the Lives of Big Men, Hall of Fame, Really Great Men, Wise Cracks by Kid Koo Koo, Squirrel Fodder and There's No Sense To It.

The three per week schedule began to break down before the end of the first year, and thereafter you could expect no more than one or two strips per week, with sometimes a stretch of several weeks without any. By 1918 the strip rarely ran more than once a week, and these appearances were often in the Sunday automobile section with gags related to cars.

MacConachie ended his title-less series with the installment of April 28 1918 in favor of a new series he'd just begun, called The Kaiser and his Six Simps. We'll discuss that series some other day here at Stripper's Guide.

* He was referred to as a Free Press cartoonist in a 1908 article, but I'll be darned if I can find any by him in the paper nearly that early.


He might have been at the Free Press in 1908 as a general utility guy that did such things as draw the ornate borders around photographs, which were fashionable for many years. That's what George McManus did at the St. Louis Republic before he was elevated to actual cartoonist doing strips. MacConachie seems to be a devotee of Rube Goldberg, the same anothology approach,the seperate topic panel at the end, and definately the art style.
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]