Saturday, July 06, 2019


Herriman Saturday

December 27 1909 -- According to the LA Examiner, the Delaware and Hudson Railway Company has determined based on (pseudo-)scientific research that men who weigh less than 150 pounds are unable to perform a "normal day's work" due to their slightness. The solution to the problem is simple -- they will pink slip any man of less than that weight. Apparently 19 men so far have fallen to the axe due to their lack of avoirdupois. Looking over news from subsequent months, it appears that the D&H went through with their idiotic plan and that there was no significant backlash from the employees' union.

Perhaps even more interesting in today's item is the use of a term that gained currency for a few years in the 1900s -- Oslerization.  What does it mean? Esteemed Canadian doctor William Osler was making a speech in Baltimore when he happened to mention in jest that men over the age of 60 might be euthanized due to their lack of usefulness. Osler was definitely joking; he was 55 at the time, and made mention that he was uncomfortably close to the cut-off date. However, some newspaper reporter in the audience, looking for a story, chose to take his remarks as having been made in seriousness. The story made all the wire services, and soon poor Doctor Osler was being widely regarded as an inhuman monster who wanted to euthanize older men. His name even became a widely recognized term for the concept, giving us the thankfully now forgotten term 'Oslerization.' The National Post offers much more detail to this shameful story.


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Friday, July 05, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Percy Crosby

Here's another Percy Crosby card from the uncredited series in which headline letters get blacked out in some weird unbreakable code. EDL, get it? Wink wink, nudge nudge. No? Maybe I'm looking at it wrong. AWRCKEANGE!! Ha ha, now I see.

No I don't.

I guess I'll just have to settle for Crosby's magnificent play on words. That I get. And I'd like to give it back for a refund.


Hello Allan-
Does it appear to you this isn't really Crosby? It's pretty amatuerishly excecuted, like the misshapen hat, and feetare all wrong, unless Mr. Angle here has a gimpy right leg. This looks like maybe a redrawn sketch of a Crosby work, with his signature.
All of Crosby's postcards in this series and others was done very early in his career. They all exhibit this same painfully amateurish art. I'm amazed he was even willing to sign it.

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Thursday, July 04, 2019


News of Yore 1972: End of an Era -- Bell and McClure Syndicates End


Bell Features and Personnel move to United

[originally printed in Editor & Publisher, January 8 1972]

 United Feature Syndicate has taken over a substantial part of NANA and Bell-McClure Syndicate features as of January 1, with a number of key employes also being hired by United.

William C. Payette, president and gen­eral manager of UFS, announced that Sidney Goldberg, president of NANA and its affiliate Bell-McClure, has joined the Scripps-Howard syndicate with the title of general executive. Goldberg, former NANA editor, has been president of the NANA-Bell-McClure operations since last February. 

NANA and Bell-McClure are owned by Good Reading Corporation, and the move of the acquired features operations to UFS offices at 220 East 42nd Street is expected to be completed by the middle of the month. 

Jack Anderson's Washington column, published in more than 700 dailies, is among UFS acquisitions, as are colum­nists Bill Vaughan, Marya Mannes, Sid­ney Margolius, Ernest Cuneo; Sheilah Graham and Harry Golden; the editorial cartoons of Art Poinier, TV Time, NANA and Women's News Service, and comics "Hizzonor" by Bill Feld, "Funland" by Art Nugent, "Life's Like That" by Fred Neher, and "Little No-No and Sniffy" by George Fett. 

Al Hoff, NANA-Bell-McClure trea­surer, has joined the United Feature staff as well as Sheldon Engelmayer, an editor of NANA, who will continue in the same function. Bell-McClure editor Martin Linehan and Donald Laspaluto, sales, are among others making the move to UFS. 

[Allan's note: Bell-McClure's few remaining comics evidently weren't of primary interest to United, as the copyright slugs didn't change until March-April of 1972. TV Laffs, not even worth a mention in this article, also made the transition to United.]


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Wednesday, July 03, 2019


Mystery Strips: Howie Reed

[Here is an article that ran in the April 21 1962 issue of Editor & Publisher. Has anyone encountered Howie Reed in a newspaper? The New Orleans Times-Picayune would seem a good place to start, but unfortunately it seems to not be online.]

New Book Page Panel Drawn by Fitzgerald 

A new weekly two-column cartoon panel called "Howie Reed," created especially for book and literary pages, will be distributed by General Features Corporation, beginning May 13. The panel devoted to books is the work of Albert J. Fitzgerald, New Orleans (La.) Times-Picayune. The panel is entirely pantomime depicting the humorous side of books, always with book store or library background.

Through fictitious action, Mr. Fitzgerald shows that books do things and he illustrates the humorous reactions of people to the subject matter in current and past best sellers.

Gentle Character
The star of the panel is a gentle character, the keeper of a book store or library, as the case may be, who is witness to the most fantastic happenings imaginable in and out of books. 

Mr. Fitzgerald is originally from Braintree, Mass. He early showed artistic ability and earned his first dollar at the age of eight by selling a drawing to the Boston (Mass.) Herald-Traveler. Throughout his public school days, he continued his progress as an artist and in high school was once forced to forfeit first prize in a poster contest because the judges felt he must have copied it. Despite this discouraging injustice, he continued his creative art.

The artist developed a deep interest in books at an early age and this interest has been intensified in recent years. Before he left high school, he had accumulated a library of 300 volumes. With one of his books, he taught himself to spin a baton and led two bands.

Army Service
With the start of World War II, Fitzgerald enlisted in the Army but continued his two loves -- art and books. At Camp Plauche, La., he was assigned to the Graphic Training Aids unit, where he spent a year and a half working with other professional artists on posters and military training aids. Later he went to radio school and was active as a radio operator on an Army ship. While aboard ship, he started a lending library (free) to encourage reading. 

In 1947, Mr. Fitzgerald joined the promotion department of the Times-Picayune as creative artist.
"I started developing the idea for 'Howie Reed' about five years ago and after much experimentation, changing, improving, trial by error, consultation with editors and finally the syndicate we arrived at the present form, which we think is just right," said Mr. Fitzgerald.

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It may be that the panel changed its title from the punnish Howie Reed (How W/He Read) to something else, as there was a baseball player with the name Howie Reed at that time (1958-71).
That said, I'm not finding anything panel-wise for Albert J. Fitzgerald either.
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Tuesday, July 02, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Kreigh Collins

Kreigh Taylor Collins was born on January 1, 1908, in Davenport, Iowa. The birth date is from the Social Security Death Index and his birthplace was mentioned in several profiles.

In the 1910 U.S Federal Census, Collins was the only child of Stephen and Nora, who resided in Rock Island, Illinois at 1045 23rd Street. His father was a building contractor.

The Collins family lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan at 331 Eureka Avenue S.E., according to the 1920 census. Collins’ father was a bakery merchant.

The Grand Rapids Press, June 22, 1922, reported the student recital, “Advance piano pupils of Miss Mary Lourena Davis, assisted by the Hemingway quartet, gave a recital Monday evening in the St. Cecilia studio. The following played numbers: … Kreigh Collins …”

A search of the Kent County School Census produced a single hit for Collins in the year 1924.

The Grand Rapids Public Library has a Collins archive and said “He attended high school at Cincinnati (Ohio) High, where he majored in art, but dropped out at 16 to pursue art in earnest. He studied art in Cleveland (1924-1925) and in 1925 opened his own studio.”

Who Was Who in American Art (1985) said Collins studied at the Cincinnati Art Academy and the Cleveland Art School. In the Council Bluffs Nonpareil (Iowa), August 7, 1949, Collins said

“No brass plate indicates the place of my birth in Davenport, in 1908. And the building in which I started in the illustration world 19 years later is now, alas, a parking lot. On the third floor (walkup) of this dingy old brick structure I rented a room, called it a studio, called myself an illustrator, and hoped it would work. …”
The Grand Rapids Art Museum catalog, Artists of Grand Rapids, 1840–1980, said
Kreigh Taylor Collins was born on January 1, 1908, in Davenport, Iowa. However, he grew up in Grand Rapids, attending Central High School. Although his parents were not oriented toward art, they encouraged young Collins to draw. One day he wandered into the Grand Rapids Art Gallery in the old Monument Square Building, where he saw an exhibition of landscapes that moved him deeply. The result of this experience was that he left high school to study art at the Cincinnati Art Academy. He showed great promise and around 1927, quit the Academy to become a practicing artist. …

It was around the end of the 1920’s that Kreigh Collins was befriended by Mathias Alten. The best-established artist in Grand Rapids, Alten discerned the promise of the youthful, sometimes impetuous Collins, and encouraged him to work further in developing his oil-painting technique. Collins, at that time, had found employment producing posters and other art work for the lobbies of local theaters, with the help of another artist friend, Lumen Winter. Like many artists in Grand Rapids at that time, Collins was much influenced by Alten. When he heard that the older artist was planning another trip to Europe, he asked to accompany him. The trip across the Atlantic in Alten's company was a great adventure for the young artist …

The Mansfield News-Journal (Ohio), September 15, 1934, said Collins studied at “the Julian Academy in Paris. A sketching tour of Europe took him into the mountains of Spain and into Morocco.” On June 29, 1928, Collins arrived in Quebec, Canada from Cherbourg, France. The passenger list recorded his home address as 532 Gladstone Avenue, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A family tree at said Collins married Theresa van der Laan on January 19, 1929. She would be the model for many of his paintings and comics characters.

The 1930 census recorded the couple in Chicago, Illinois at 432 Belmont. Collins was a commercial artist.

On May 22, 1931, Collins and his wife departed Liverpool, England. They arrived in Quebec seven days later. Their address was 532 Gladstone Avenue, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Grand Rapids Public Library said “… he and Theresa returned to Paris, where he worked and studied, and first began to concentrate on his landscapes.”

The Bay City Times (Michigan), February 5, 1933, said Collins would paint the covers for the early issues Outdoors.

Grand Rapids Public Library said

Upon their return to the states, the Depression was severe, but Collins did well and in 1935 painted and sold many landscapes in the small village of Leland, Michigan. Then, in 1935–1936, he contracted with a newspaper syndicate to illustrate the “Do You Know” series by Willis Atwell for the Michigan Centennial. During the next two years, he painted portraits in Ohio, eight 20' X 40' or larger murals in Dallas, and landscapes in Taos, New Mexico. All the work caught up with him, and in late 1937 he could no longer use his right arm to paint. He discovered, however, that he could make line drawings by resting his elbow on the arm rest of a chair and his forearm on the drawing board. The Methodist Publishing House, which had until then bought only a few of his travel sketches, started sending him large quantities of work. …
Collins’ Informative Classroom Picture Series portfolios include Knighthood: Life In Mediaeval Times (1937); Life in Colonial America (1937); Early Civilization (1939); Our City Home and Community Life (1939); Clothing and Textiles: Clothing in Other Lands (1940); The Story of Textiles (1940); Transportation from Earliest to Modern Times (1940); How Man Has Put Himself on Record (1942) and Voyage and Discovery (1942).

Life in Colonial America 

The Story of Textiles

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Collins drew Do You Know? from September 2, 1935 to January 26, 1937. The strip was written by Willis Atwell and distributed by Booth Newspapers. In 1937 the strips were collected and published in a book.

According to the 1940 census, Collins, Theresa and one-year-old Eric lived in Ada Township, Michigan on Bronson Road. Collins’ parents lived next door. He was a self-employed artist.

The Holland Evening Sentinel (Michigan), July 9, 1957, profiled Collins and said

His big break came in 1940 when The Methodist Publishing Company asked him to draw comic strips, based on the Bible, to be syndicated in Church papers. So he began to draw for them. It took six months to draw his first page. But then it became easier. He drew the stories of Paul, Moses, jesus, Joseph, and others, and these became popular not only in the United States but in Australia and South America as well.
American Newspaper Comics said Collins’ strip Mitzi McCoy began November 7, 1948. The Editor & Publisher, August 26, 1950, said Collins’ NEA strip, Mitzi McCoy, was scheduled to become Kevin the Bold in October. According to American Newspaper Comics, the strip was retitled Up Anchor on October 27, 1968. The topper was called Water Lore. The writing was handled by Collins, Jay Heavilin and Russ Winterbotham. The series ended February 27, 1972.

For the NEA collins produced The Legends of Christmas which ran from December 6 to 24, 1965.

Among the books Collins illustrated are: Do You Know?: An Illustrated History of Michigan (1937); Tricks, Toys and Tim (1937); Americans All: A Pageant of Great Americans (1941); For Cross and King (1941); My Neighbor, Mexico (1941); The Torch of Liberty (1941); Explorers All (1942); The Perilous Island (1942); The Book of Courage (1943); Knight of the Wilderness, The Story of Alexander Mackenzie (1943); Marconi, Pioneer of Radio (1943); The Lone Woodsman (1944); Bible Days (1948); John the Baptist and Jesus in Galilee (1948); The Church Through the Centuries (1949); Let’s Read About Mexico (1949); The Oregon Quest (1950); Sister White (1950); Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories (1950); The Captive Princess: The Story of the First Christian Princess of Britain (1952); The Bible Story, Volume Three (1954); The Amazing Story of Christopher Columbus (1958); David Livingstone (1961); God Is with Us: The Church’s Teaching in the First Grade (1964) and Into the Lion’s Jaws: The Story of David Livingstone (1971).

Collins passed away January 8, 1974, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to the Michigan death index. The Social Security Death Index did not have the day of death. Collins’s wife, Theresa, passed away at Heather Hills Care Center in Grand Rapids on January 8, 2008.

Further Reading and Viewing

Kreigh’s Comics
Syracuse University Library

—Alex Jay


Hi Alex,
Thank you for this informative profile! I'm sorry I missed it when it was first posted in July. I've been researching my grandfather's career for some time now, and some of this info is new to me. In late 2018 I had a "Mitzi McCoy" collection published and continue to feature his work on my blog, and fb page
—Brian E. Collins
Thanks, Brian. I added links to your website and facebook page which has wonderful photographs.
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Monday, July 01, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Craig Kennedy

Arthur B. Reeve came up with the idea of a detective who solves crimes through the use of science, and started publishing stories chronicling the adventures of Craig Kennedy in 1910. He debuted in, of all places, Cosmopolitan magazine, which obviously wasn't exclusively a women's magazine back then (or am I being chauvinistic that women generally don't care for scientific detectives?).

Reeve seemed to have an endless well of stories up his sleeve, and Craig Kennedy went up against literally hundreds of nefarious criminals in his career. By the mid-1920s, though, the public seemed to have a waning interest in the square-jawed science geek. It was time to try broadening his horizons from books and magazines -- why not try his luck in comic strip form? Reeve (or one of his ghost-writers) teamed up with artist Harry J. Flemming to create a series of Craig Kennedy stories for the McNaught Syndicate starting in June 1926. The stories were reasonably well-written and didn't dawdle about -- each case was typically wrapped up in a mere two weeks. The art was quite deft, very much presaging the sort of thing we would see when the adventures strips really came into their own in the 1930s and 40s.

The strip ran in very few papers, but the longest run found is in the Syracuse Post-Herald, in which Jeffrey Lindenblatt was able to index the following stories:

Start DateEnd DateStory Title
6/7/19266/19/1926The Studio Mystery
6/21/19267/10/1926The Green Curse
7/12/19267/24/1926The White Hand
7/26/19268/7/1926The Beauty Shop
8/9/19268/28/1926Dead Men Tell Tales
8/30/19269/11/1926Mystery of the Gray Flapper
9/13/19269/25/1926The Dream Murder
9/27/192610/9/1926The Truth Drug
10/11/192610/23/1926The Second Hand Girl
11/8/192611/20/1926The Perfect Crime

Although Craig Kennedy didn't make much of a splash in the newspaper world, it really wasn't for lack of quality. You might say that it was a strip just a little ahead of its time.

PS: If you think this strip is rare, you ain't seen nothing yet. There was a second version of Craig Kennedy syndicated three years later -- now that one is rare with a capital R. More on that one of these days ...

PPS: In the samples above, one of the suspects has a flashback and narrates her tale as it unfolds in word balloons (you'll have to read it to get how odd that comes across). Although at first I thought, oh, how silly these neophyte comic strip writers are, they don't get how comic strips work. Ha! But y'know, I ended up rather liking that off-balance feeling it gives to that flashback. It's really quite disorienting and weird!


Another paper than ran it was Hearst's Chicago Herald and Examiner, but If I recall, they only had it for about three months.
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