Saturday, November 02, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing, October 1914 (Vol.6 No.4)

[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.

In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will  reprint one issue's worth each week.]

War with its grim horrors has inspired the cartoonists with a mania for drawing skeletons. As one editor has expressed it, “they can draw skeletons by this time with their eyes shut.” Mars with his shin guards and helmet has been trotted out, while the European menagerie— the German eagle, the Gallic chanticleer, the British lion, and the Belgian hare, now make their bow.

In a way, the American cartoonists are handicapped. It is hard for them to grasp the subtleties of international politics, and their tendency is to jump at a conclusion. Then there is the necessity for remaining neutral. President Wilson has made his plea for “personal neutrality,” which phrase doubtless includes newspaper cartoons. Although the Kaiser is the most caricatured man in Europe, and the Germans themselves take surprising liberties with their ruler, the efforts of American cartoonists in that direction are frowned on. So it will be readily seen that a cartoonist takes a risk when he lampoons either the kaiser, the czar, or any of the other European monarchs as it was possible to lampoon Huerta during the recent Mexican unpleasantness. As no great leader or hero has as yet made his appearance on the horizon, it has been difficult to introduce a personal element.

The war on the food speculators, the possibility of extending our commerce, Japan’s slap at Germany in the Far East, Belgium's plucky defense, the United States' sympathy and neutrality, and similar subjects, however, have given the cartoonists plenty of material. The British artists have confined themselves mostly to the work of stirring up patriotism, and have shown little bitterness toward Germany. Most of the British newspapers, as have several of those in America, have omitted the cartoon, the space (and in England, white paper) being too valuable. On the whole, the work of the American artists has been creditable, and cartoon history of the great events now pending should be well worth recording and preserving. It should be understood that the selection of cartoons for this issue has been made impartially, and with no intention of giving offense to anybody.


Far be it from anyone to criticise unkindly the noble profession of the cartoonist, but it is only fair those young gentlemen who draw pictures settling all world questions while smoking corncob pipes should be informed the public is getting a bit restive under the sameness of their expressions. First, last and most of the time, the war cartoon consists of a skeleton and not much but a skeleton. In this respect it is precisely identical with the railroad accident cartoon, the mine explosion cartoon, the theatre fire cartoon and Mississippi flood cartoon. A chilly-looking skeleton sat on top of an iceberg in the stock cartoon of the Titanic disaster, and the same old skeleton evidently, despite a little different arrangement of clothing or the entire absence of any, leaned out of the cab of the New Haven engines, blocked the stairway at the burning Collingwood school and amused itself by driving automobiles, surf-bathing and guarding grade crossings until called to duty in the Mexican rebellion.

Now every cartoonist has skeletonized the war news at least three times a week since hostilities began in Europe. They can by this time, no doubt, draw skeletons with their eyes shut, just as the public can see them by the same method. It was so yesterday, today and will be so tomorrow, but about this time the artists should be convinced the community is thoroughly instructed in that branch of anatomy, and should devise something more original than variations in the position of the femur, the fibula, the sternum and the bony framework of the skull.

But then, of course, they won't.—Brooklyn Standard.

John T. McCutcheon
John T. McCutcheon, cartoonist of the Chicago Tribune and war correspondent, who has been for several months with Villa's army in Mexico, left early in August for Europe, where he hopes to join the French forces and report the fighting for the Tribune. Mr. McCutcheon's war experience dates back to the battle of Manila, of which he was an eyewitness. During his short stay in Chicago he contributed a number of striking cartoons to the Tribune.


Among the American tourists stranded in Europe at the outbreak of the war was R. L. Goldberg, the cartoonist. Mr. Goldberg sailed from the war zone on the liner “France” and arrived on his native shores safely.


A series of “safety-first” cartoons, many of them originals, has been collected by Lew R. Palmer, of the State Department of Labor and Industry of Pennsylvania. The cartoons are to be framed and placed on exhibition at the state capitol.

Tapestry plays only a small part in the embellishment of the modern home, but the art is by no means a lost one. Morris & Co., of London, have just produced a fine piece of work, the design of which is based on one of Bernard Partridge's finest Punch Cartoons.

In the tapestry the king is represented standing on a dais, receiving from the four virtues—Peace, Wisdom, Fortitude, and Justice—his shield, helmet, sword, and spear. His right hand rests on a charter and behind is a canopy decorated with the arms of the principal colonies.

In style it represents the craftsmanship of the fifteenth century rather than the more elaborate methods of the Gobelins factory. Though wonderfully sumptuous in effect, the tapestry is woven with great simplicity. Few colors have been used, four or five at most, and the shading is broad and expressive. The design has great distinction.


In case Billy Ireland and we should decide to recede from our position of absolute neutrality, we are always going to attack in mass formation, Billy being the front part and, in fact, practically the whole of the mass, and we cleverly assuming the crouching attitude so effective in assaults on thoroughly manned fortifications.—Ohio State Journal.


The smart newspaper fellows that used to draw cartoons of Uncle Reuben’s whiskers are now editing the columns of farm hints. —Burlington (Vt.) News.

A story going the rounds at Washington anent Secretary Bryan's purchase of the Cabinet wedding gift to Secretary McAdoo, and his bride, who was Miss Wilson, has caused no little amusement, says the Wall Street Journal. According to the popular version, the Cabinet deputized Mr. Bryan to purchase its wedding gift to the Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Bryan, always practical, wanted to get a useful present, and he consulted Mr. McAdoo.

The Secretary of State suggested that a grandfather's clock would be just the thing.

“Great goodness, Mr. Secretary,” expo tulated Mr. McAdoo, “a grandfather's clock would be the last thing in the world.”

 “Why?” asked Mr. Bryan.

“If I should receive a grandfather's clock from the Cabinet,” explained Mr. McAdoo, “every newspaper paragrapher and cartoonist in the country would make merry at my expense.”

Still, Mr. Bryan couldn't see. And they say that it took Mr. McAdoo twenty minutes to show the Secretary of State the obvious material for jest in the gift of a grandfather's clock, when Mr. McAdoo boasts of a very live and healthy grandchild.

“I seen a cartoon,” the stranger said
As we gassed about the kings
For whom a lot of dupes lie dead—
The news that the cable brings:
“I seen a cartoon”—and then he told -
What the picture he saw had taught—
The story blazoned in pen-lines bold
That the picture-man had wrought.

And the man believed what the picture said
He had seen the thing occur!
Right under his nose he had seen the dead
While the women with eyes a-blur
Were waiting in vain for their loved to come
Again to their empty arms;
He had seen the waste of the soldier home
That followed those “war alarms.”

He “seen a cartoon”—he hadn't read
A lot of the printed text.
He’d glanced at the startling front page head,
Then noticed the picture next.
He hadn’t turned to the wisdom page
Where the editorials are–
He had seen the story as on a stage—
There are millions read just that far!

A cheer for the man who writes his soul
Into “leader” or paragraph;
That sonorously tells of “death's red toll”—
There are scholars on every staff!
But the clinching tale that the sheets purvey.
To the rank and file is borne
By the man who tells it in pictured way
On the front page, night and morn. —Indianapolis Star.

Senator Thornton of Louisiana has a weakness for being cartooned. He is a close double for Santa Claus, and this has led the caricaturists all through his section of the country, and elsewhere, to draw a great variety of pictures of him. In doing so they have made a great hit with Thornton, and this goes whether the pictures were flattering or not. In fact, he has shown a preference for those that were unflattering. Every time he sees a cartoon of himself he tries to get hold of the original to frame and hang in his home.


A cartoon in the Philadelphia Public Ledger depicts the dripping sword of war held in a hand whose fingers are labelled Germany, Austria, England, Russia and France, with the caption, “Each Finger Has Its Share of Blame.” It may be that this is so.–New Haven Register.

Theophile Steinlen
A French cartoonist, known as the “artist-laureate of socialism,” is creating some interest in London and his sketches, now in the Leicester galleries, are inspected by many fashionable visitors. But his subjects are not pleasant, for the most part. His studies are made in the slums and he depicts with skill and unsparing fidelity, tramps, women of the street, young thieves, gutter children, scenes of squalor and misery, choosing these themes rather than the glimpses of beauty and happiness that are found even in dark places.

But people look at the pictures and turn away; they do not buy them for they do not wish to hang them on their walls where they will be constantly reminded of the disagreeable facts of life. Noting this, certain critics charge selfishness upon the well-to do folk who will have none of Steinlen—a determination to make a fictitious world that excludes “mean streets” and their accomplishments.—Indianapolis Star.


Clare Briggs, author of “The Days of Real Sport” and “When a Feller Needs a Friend,” was in Chicago recently looking up old friends. Mr. Briggs left the Chicago Tribune several months ago to join the staff of the New York Tribune.


Will De Beck, cartoonist of the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, accompanied by Mrs. De Beck, a bride of a few months, has been renewing home ties in Chicago.

Vandals, supposedly of opposite political views to those of Editor Morris McDermut of the Palisade Post, a weekly newspaper published at Grantwood, N. J., recently invaded the Post's printing establishment, smashed the linotype machine, and pied the galleys. Mr. McDermut's paper is nominally Democratic, but of late he has been opposing the Congressional aspirations of Archibald C. Hart, a Democrat. The editor took his misfortune philosophically, and repaired his plant, but new troubles set in apace. Unexpectedly he found himself at a loss to get a cartoon representing what he thought of the Democratic candidate. For the past three months, large front-page cartoons, indicating that the Democratic party will suffer dire calamity if Mr. Hart is re-elected, have been published weekly in the Post. The cartoons have been drawn by a local artist named Terrence, who had gained permission to use a barn behind the home of Carl Emil Ullberg of Edgewood as a studio. Walter Kuhn and several other New York artists also made use of the barn as a studio during the summer months. The other day Mrs. Ullberg heard noises in the converted barn and, on investigation, found three youths inside with a hose.

They ran when they saw her. Mr. McDermut said that the political cartoons Terrence was working on at the time were torn up and that the hose had been turned on a number of paintings Mr. Kuhn had nearly completed.

The Sioux City Tribune, taking one of Darling's recent cartoons as a text, preaches the following little temperance sermon:

“J. N. Darling in a cartoon in the Des Moines Register and Leader strikingly depicts the Iowa political treatment of the liquor issue. The bull moose is represented as being somewhat astonished at seeing himself turned into a camel by the addition of a large prohibition' hump. But in the background are the G. O. P. elephant and the democratic donkey not merely astonished but in trembling consternation exclaiming “It may be our turn next.”

“The cartoon is accurate. It is the prospect of their being compelled to take a stand on this issue and the likelihood if they do, they will be compelled to declare against the liquor traffic, that is causing the old line politicians of the old parties to quake in their shoes. The liquor crowd and the reactionary big business crowd have always hung together. They are very essential to each other. When it becomes necessary for big business to repudiate its friend, the liquor element, it loses the most valuable asset it has had on election day. That's why the elephant and the donkey in Iowa are in a blue funk.”

The one bright spot in the war situation is the fun the sporting cartoonists are getting out of it. Cad Brand's military suggestions in the Milwaukee Sunday Sentinel gets one's mind from the horrors of the battle. Among the suggestions is the consequences to the Germans if prize fighter Jack Johnson joins the French army, and R. Edgren in the Sentinel shows what Hans Wagner might be expected to do with British cannon balls, if he joined the German navy. Well, go it boys, while you have the heart to be funny. The news to come will make many a heartache.—Beloit Free Press.

A recent cartoon in the St. Louis Post Dispatch pictured the “Why” of the “pork barrel" about as aptly as anything could. It showed in the first part the righteous “statesman” standing beside a barrel of “federal appropriations” deprecatingly observing: “I object to the pork barrel”; in the second drawing the same “statesman”, making way with a huge bundle under his arm, labeled “For my constituents,” remarking with a grin, “but l don't mind bringing home the bacon.”

The only point lacking from the cartoon to complete the situation was the one recently brought out by the Bee, that the congressman, after all, is only conforming with the time-honored—or dishonored—demands of his constituents, “Get the bacon.” So, while, perhaps, the congressman ought to take his constituent in hand and educate him up to a higher level of statesmanship than this, few congressmen are apt to do it so long as it would cost them their jobs. The dear people may take most of the blame, therefore, themselves.—Omaha Bee.


Mr. Fitzpatrick's cartoon, referred to above, was widely copied, appearing in the September Cartoons Magazine, as well as in Collier's Weekly and the Literary Digest.


The cartoon series by George McManus, running under the caption of “Bringing Up Father,” has been made into a musical comedy.


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Friday, November 01, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Charles Lederer

This Charles Lederer postcard is pretty lame, so maybe it's not too surprising that it is copyrighted 1905, but evidently wasn't printed until 1907, since it is a divided back. This example was postally used in 1908, and I bet the purchaser got it at a discount.


It's badly printed, too.
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Thursday, October 31, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Edmund Frederick

Edmund Frederick was born on April 2, 1870, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to several passenger lists at and his Social Security application which named his parents, Philip Frederick and Mina V. Tonndore.

In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Frederick was the youngest of three siblings. The family of five were residents of Philadelphia.

The 1880 census recorded the Fredericks in Philadelphia at 2235 Reese Street. Frederick’s father, born in Prussia, was a gas fitter, and mother a Saxony native.

Information about Frederick’s education and art training has not been found.

The Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, at, said “Friederich” married Clara A. Huenke on September 14, 1890 at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Egg Harbor City, New Jersey.

According to the 1900 census, artist Frederick, his wife and sister, Wilhelmina, also an artist, lived in Brooklyn, New York at 322 Fenimore Street, his address through 1925.

Frederick was a prolific newspaper and magazine illustrator. He had frontispieces in December 1902 issues of Cosmopolitan and the Delineator. Other magazines include The Saturday Evening Post, Munsey's Magazine, Hampton's Magazine, Motor and McCall’s Magazine. His artwork filled serialized stories in newspapers and graced weekly covers

Frederick illustrated numerous books including The Green Mouse (1910), The Seventh Noon (1910), The Haunted Pajamas (1911), Stanton Wins (1911), The Unafraid (1913), and Betty at Fort Blizzard (1916).

The Newspaper Feature Service produced a long-running series of romantic cartoons, by several artists, beginning in 1913. Frederick contributed to the series in 1926.

On March 29, 1920 Frederick, his wife and sister returned from Bermuda.

Frederick’s wife passed away August 25, 1924 in Brooklyn.

From 1925 to the mid-1930s Frederick made many visits to Havana, Cuba. A 1926 passenger list had Frederick’s address as 330 West 58th Street, New York, New York. It would remain the same through 1940. A 1941 passenger list said Philadelphia was Frederick’s address.

Frederick passed away May 26, 1949, in Manhattan, New York City, according to the New York, New York, Death Index at

—Alex Jay


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Wednesday, October 30, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Leo Joseph Roche

Leo Joseph Roche was born on February 20, 1888, in Ithaca, New York, according to his World War I and II draft cards which also had his full name.

The 1892 New York state census said Roche was the youngest of four children born to Patrick, an Irishman and tailor, and Elizabeth. They were residents of Ithaca.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census said Roche was the youngest of three children. They lived in Ithaca at 212 Spencer Road. The address, in 1905 New York state census, was South Spencer Road.

According to the 1910 census, Roche was boarding in De Witt, New York, where he was employed as a railroad operator. Roche’s uncle, Thomas B. Grace, described what happened around this time to the Syracuse Post-Standard, September 6, 1953.

… Grace … invited Roche to live with him at Jamesville after the death of Roche’s father [May 23, 1911] and gave him his first job. Roche began as a telegrapher and assistant ticket and freight agent for the DL&W Railroad when he was 19, and from 1906 until 1916 was a part-time art student at Syracuse University. …

Roche, who was born in Ithaca, did his first cartoon for a newspaper when he was four years old, according to his uncle. The boy’s father, Patrick, read the family a newspaper story concerning a man who was killed when his buggy was struck by a train at a railroad crossing. Young Roche was impressed by it and illustrated the story. An Ithaca newspaper though[t] enough of it to publish it.

Mr. Grace, who is something of a draftsman himself, encouraged Roche to draw and helped him get his first job as an artist. In 1916 Mr. Grace contacted Ray W. Sherman, former Post-Standard reporter, who was a staff member of “Motor World,” a magazine published in New York. Roche illustrated the publication until he went to The Buffalo Courier-Express as editorial cartoonist in 1934. …

Possibly more than a coincidence, there was a Ray Sherman who drew a few cartoons, the same year as Roche, for Newspaper Feature Service. An artist by that name has not yet been found. Roche may have used Ray Sherman as a pen name.

On February 6, 1914 Roche married Emily Lavina Meldram in Syracuse, New York as recorded in the New York State Marriage Index at

Roche signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. His address was 865 West 180th Street in Manhattan, New York City. The artist/cartoonist worked for the Class Journal Company which had its office at 239 West 39th Street in New York City. Roche was described as tall and slender with gray eyes and light brown hair.

The 1920 census recorded Roche, his wife and three children in Manhattan at 5006 Broadway. The cartoonist worked for a trade paper.

The Times Record (Troy, New York), February 14, 1974, said “Roche began his career in 1916 as a cartoonist for Motor World in New York City. Between 191S and 1926, he was a contributing cartoonist to the Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s magazines.”

The Newspaper Feature Service produced a long-running series of romantic cartoons, by several artists, beginning in 1913. Roche contributed to the series in 1926.

The Times Record said “From 1926 to 1928, Roche worked for Universal Pictures Corp. art department and in 1928–30, he worked for Parents Magazine.”

In the 1930 census Roche, his three children and mother were residents of White Plains, New York at 20 Wood Crest Avenue. Roche worked as an artist for a magazine.

According to the Times Record Roche joined the Buffalo Courier-Express in 1934 and retired in 1965.

The 1940 census newspaper cartoonist Roche was a widower. His highest level of education was the fourth year of high school. Roche and his three children lived in Amherst, New York at 27 Chateau Terrace South.

When Roche signed his World War II draft card, on April 25, 1942, he resided at the same street address in the town of Snyder. His employer was the Buffalo Courier-Express. Roche’s description was five feet ten inches, 205 pounds with gray eyes and brown and graying hair.

The aforementioned Syracuse Post-Standard article also said

… A number of Roche’s original drawings are owned by prominent persons. Among them are Louis Johnson, Charles E. Wilson, Gov. James Byrnes, James A. Farley, J. Edgar Hoover and others. Several of originals are in the permanent collection of the Henry Huntington Art Gallery in Santa Monica, Calif.

Roche lives with his [second] wife at 169 Nassau ave., Kenmore. He visits the Grace home in Jamesville twice each year.

Roche passed away February 12, 1974, in Buffalo. An obituary appeared in the Livingston Republican (Geneseo, New York), February 21, 1974.

Roche — Leo Joseph Roche, a cartoonist since 1916, died February 12, 1974, at the age of 85, in Niagara Lutheran Home, Buffalo. Burial was in Ithaca, where he was born.

During his career, Mr. Roche had worked for or contributed cartoons to: Motor World (1916–26), the Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s Magazine, Encyclopedia Britannica’s Book of the Year, Universal Pictures Corp. (1926–28), Parents Magazine (1928–30), and the Buffalo Courier Express (since 1934), where his cartoons appeared on the editorial page.

In 1961 Mr. Roche contributed thirty of his cartoons at the request of the Library of Congress to its collection of original political cartoons of outstanding merit. In 1959 he received a George Washington Honor Plaque from the Freedom Foundation for a cartoon depicting a voter in the process of weighing Democrats and Republicans in each hand. Ten of his cartoons are in the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas permanent display of newspaper art.

Survivors include a son, Leo J. Roche, Jr. of Macon, Ga.; two daughters. Mrs. John Hahn and Mrs. William Birdsong, both of Amherst; five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Further Viewing
Heritage Auctions 

Library of Congress

—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Alexander Popini

Alexander Popini was born on October 6, 1877, in Bucharest, Romania, according to his World War II draft card and naturalization petition. Popini’s Social Security application said his parents were Stephen Popini and Pauline Aslan.

Much of his early life and career was told in the Fourth Estate, February 27, 1926.

Alexander Popini was born in Rumania, he says, of Rumanian—but honest—parents, who, when his turn came to pick a career, voiced strenuous objections to has selection of a career in art.

Popini graduated from Bucharest University. … When his father learned that young Popini was consecrated to artistic endeavor, he played the Roman father and in substance said that he had raised his boy to be “a gentleman—not an artist.”

So Popini’s allowance was cut off and he was left in Paris to make his way as best he could. Eventually he became a well-known illustrator for Paris weeklies.

A while later he went to London. He remained in England for ten years, working for leading English publications and at the same time serving as chancellor to the Rumanian legation. He was for a long time on the art staff of the London Daily Mail.

He was a lieutenant in the British cavalry for four years, toward the termination of the South African war.

On one of his vacations from the diplomatic service, he came to New York. He liked this country so much that he sent in his resignation to the diplomatic service and remained here. That was 16 years ago. [A passenger list recorded Popinion on the steamship St. Paul which departed Southampton, England on February 29, 1908. The ship arrived in New York on March 8. Popini arrived in America 18 years ago.] He did illustrations for various periodicals, particularly Life. Then he joined the staff of the New York Sunday World.

The World War broke out, and Popini forthwith went to Canada and joined the Royal Air Force. He became a pilot, then an instructor, then went “over” and took part in some real fighting. Just as he was about to be made commander of a squadron that was to bombard Berlin, the war ceased. Evidently the Germans had heard that Popini was coming!

After the war he was in London for a year, but receiving numerous requests to come back to America he did so, and four of five years ago, was invited by Alexander Black to join the staff of King Features Syndicate. He has been doing work for this syndicate ever since—illustrations for features, magazine covers, and social cartoons for the New York Evening Journal.

In his studio he does portrait masks. He has had exhibitions in London and Paris. He is an able writer and sculptor, working along these lines for his own amusement.

Other sources of amusement he takes ample advantage of are flying, skating and horseback riding.

“The most important thing I do in life,” he declares, “is seeking to acquire some understanding of it all. I want to know everything.

“You might say I am conducting private warfare of my own against everything that smacks of ‘hokum.’

“As far as the conduct of life is concerned, I believe in moderation in all things—even in moderation.”

On Popini’s naturalization petition it said he was in the Canadian Army beginning August 1916 and honorably discharged January 18, 1919. The petition also mentioned his ex-wife, Sybil Cox, who divorced him in 1915, and English son, Anthony. Popini’s ex-wife and son were Chicago, Illinois residents in the 1910 U.S. Federal Census. They lived with her parents. Popini has not yet been found in the 1910 census.

The 1920 census recorded Sybil, who remarried to Dorsey Hyde, and Anthony in Manhattan, New York City at 31 Morton Street. About five months after the census enumeration, Popini arrived in New York, from Liverpool, on June 5.

Popini had no trouble finding work. The Sun and the New York Herald, July 13, 1920 published the Charles Daniel Frey Company advertisement announcing Popini’s employment.

The 1925 New York state census said Popini lived at 61 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.  

William Seabrook, in his 1942 autobiography, No Hiding Place, wrote:
I met a man named Alexander Popini who was fascinated by chess, its basic nature, its astronomical variations, its possibilities, problems. Before I’d met Popini, chess was a polite, intellectual parlor game whose rudiments I’d learned from Wigfall Trenholm. A week after I’d met Popini, the chessboard became my universe, and through my mad absorption I temporarily corrupted Mr. Alexander Popini. Popini was a Roumanian who’d been in the British Royal Flying Corps, had previously studied art in Paris and London, and was now a successful illustrator. He drew voluptuous girls in fine, hard pen-line, with a technique somewhat similar to that of Aubrey Beardsley. He had a permanent contract with Life to turn in a full-page drawing every week, a basement floor and garden on East Tenth just off the Avenue, and a young New England lady-friend, Joan Martindale …

There was Joan, marvelously beautiful, who used to bring us coffee when we sat down after dinner at the chessboard, but hated me and hated chess, and there was Katie, accustomed to my vagaries, who was tolerant, but worried. Joan’s hatred and Katie’s worry were soon justified. Popini stopped drawing for Life. I stopped writing for Hearst. We’d both been spending our easy money as fast or faster than we got it. It was a problem, an outrageous one … Popini and I had ceased to earn a penny, thought only in terms of “knight takes bishop” or “pawn takes rook,” and from dawn to dark and even while asleep were absorbed in Lilliputian campaigns, victories, defeats, queens, knights and castles. Nobody pays you anything for doing that unless you become a world champion. Rent came due and ran over to the next month, grocers were patient and then impatient, and then was the time when Joan and Katie, if they hadn’t been crazy in their nicer way than we were, should have walked away from there, should have gone away, back to Boston and Atlanta. Being as crazy as we were, but differently, Joan got some money

Katie’s contribution to our prosperity was the establishment, with Alexander Popini, of the coffee house on Waverly Place which still lives in legends of the Village’s golden age, and actually had a golden ceiling—not tawdry gilt but pure gold leaf laid on by Popini. They began it more for pleasure than profit, which was perhaps one of the reasons it soon became profitable, though both showed considerable astuteness in its organization and management. …

The Fourth Estate, October 30, 1926, published two articles about Popini.
These Two Artists Certainly Have a Good Time
Alexander Popini and Louis Biedermann are favorites of fortune. Anyway, they share what is probably the nicest studio to be found within the confines of a syndicate or newspaper office.

Connected with King Features Syndicate, they are ensconced in a large room decorated in gold and black, with gold carpet. The furniture is silver and vermilion.

And on the walls are the best pictures that have been painted by each of them—authentic masterpieces. Louis Biedermann loves hunting, and there is a goodly array of swords and guns on the wall. But a pen in Biedermann’s hand is far mightier than any sword!

Popini's New Studio
Alexander Popini, famous artist connected with King Features Syndicate, is opening a new roof-garden studio on Fifth avenue near Fifty-first street, New York, where he will specialize in the making of life masks, a field in which he has attained great distinction. The studio will be among the most beautiful in New York.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012) the Newspaper Feature Service had a long-running series of romantic cartoons which were credited to fifteen artists. The series ran from late 1913 to 1931. Popini contributed from April 26 to May 20, 1926. I suspect Popini used his mother’s name, Pauline Aslan, to create the pen name, Paul Aslan, who was credited with many cartoons during 1927. That same year Popini was drawing Her Love Letters for King Features Syndicate. For several more years Popini produced romantic cartoons for King Features and International Feature Service.

Popini has not yet been found in the 1930 and 1940 censuses. He filed a petition for naturalization on May 24, 1937. His address was 88 Morningside Drive, New York City, and he married his second wife, Eloise, on April 6, 1936.

Popini signed his World War II draft card on April 25, 1942. His residence was the Sherman Hotel located at 71st Street and Broadway, New York City. He was unemployed. His description was five feet ten inches, 152 pounds, with brown eyes and gray hair. Popini wore a monocle.

The 1959 Manhattan city directory listed Popini at 2039 Broadway.

Popini passed away June 22, 1962, in Manhattan, according to the New York, New York, Death Index at Two days later a death notice was published in The New York Times.

Further Reading and Viewing
The Yellow Letter (1911)
Illustrated by Alexander Popini

The Fir-Tree Fairy Book (1912)
Illustrated by Alexander Popini

The Greenwich Village Bookshop Door

Library of Congress


Yesterday’s Papers 

One Circulation cover by Popini


—Alex Jay


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Monday, October 28, 2019


The Newspaper Feature Service Romantic Cartoon Series, Part 8 (1926)

1926 starts out so innocently, with Annette Bradshaw and Juanita Hamel (JH) each making their appointed rounds. Hamel has her typical hiccups; in January Madge Geyer (MG) has a cartoon printed, while in February Neva Harrison (NH) gets one more turn at bat.  In April - May, Alexander Popini (AP) makes three appearances, his first contributions to the feature.

Juanita Hamel's last cartoon for the series

In July the train really goes off the tracks with substitutes all over, and Hamel's output is reduced to a dribble. Her final cartoon for the series appears on September 11.

The romantic cartoon looks like an artistic cattle-call for the remainder of the year, with new and old contributors apparently jockeying for the position as Hamel's permanent replacement. Dorothy Flack (DF) seems like the leading contender at first, with sixteen cartoons printed in July - September, but then she disappears. Eleanor Hope nee Schorer (EH) is in there sparring with six cartoons. Fanny Darrell (FD), a newcomer to the cartoon, posts a very impressive 22 cartoons in the final months of the year, giving every impression that she has become the leading contender. Darrell's cartoons will indeed be with us for some time to come, though in my opinion she is one of the weakest of the contenders. On the other hand, she sure can crank out the work.

Others provide occasional cartoons; Myrtle Wood (MW) provides lovely cartoons in October and November. I wonder if her name is made up, because the only non-tree wood reference I can find to that name is a 1920s racehorse!

Popini (AP) returns for three cartoons during the scrum. Leo Joseph Roche (LR), whose given name is offered as George on his first cartoon despite a perfectly legible signature, manages four cartoons. He ended up serving a long stint as an editorial cartoonist on the Buffalo Courier-Express.

Edmund Frederick (EF), one of Hearst's premier magazine cover artists, drops in for three cartoons. Truda Dahl (TD) contributes two cartoons in December. Dahl will be back more often next year.

Ray Sherman (RS) offers up two gorgeous cartoons in August - September, but suffers the ignominy of being miscredited as "Ray Shilman" on one of them. I can find no information about the impressive Mr. Sherman, but surely he stuck to art and made good.

Paul Aslan (PA) has a cartoon in October and two in December. But if you are intrigued to find out more about this artist, don't bother searching for his non-existent biography because Alex Jay's next Ink-Slinger Profile will save you the trouble.

We have a couple of one-hit wonders this year: Walter Van Arsdale (VA) and Edgar Bakos (EB) each contributes a single cartoon.

Have you noticed that the captions seem to be getting a bit longer this year? Although just as flowery and vapid as ever, I'm wondering if a new writer has taken over. However, Winifred Black (my guess for the anonymous writer) is still writing for the page, so maybe not. 

Jan        Su                   M                    Tu                   W                   Th                   F                    Sa
1 2 JH
3 4 MG 5 FF 6 JH 7 8 9 JH
10 11 JH 12 FF 13 JH 14 15 16 JH
17 18 JH 19 FF 20 JH 21 22 23 JH
24 25 JH 26 FF 27 JH 28 29 30 JH

1 JH 2 FF 3 JH 4 5 6 JH
7 8 NH 9 FF 10 JH 11 12 13 JH
14 15 JH 16 FF 17 JH 18 19 20 JH
21 22 JH 23 FF 24 JH 25 26 27 JH

1 JH 2 FF 3 JH 4 5 6 JH
7 8 JH 9 FF 10 JH 11 12 13 JH
14 15 JH 16 FF 17 JH 18 19 20 JH
21 22 JH 23 FF 24 JH 25 26 27 JH
28 29 JH 30 FF 31 JH

1 2 3 JH
4 5 JH 6 FF 7 JH 8 9 10 JH
11 12 JH 13 FF 14 JH 15 16 17 JH
18 19 JH 20 FF 21 JH 22 23 24 AP
25 26 JH 27 FF 28 AP 29 30

1 JH
2 3 JH 4 FF 5 JH 6 7 8 JH
9 10 JH 11 FF 12 JH 13 14 15 JH
16 17 JH 18 FF 19 AP 20 21 22 JH
23 24 JH 25 FF 26 JH 27 28 29 JH
30 31 JH

1 FF 2 JH 3 4 5 JH
6 7 JH 8 FF 9 JH 10 11 12 JH
13 14 JH 15 FF 16 JH 17 18 19 JH
20 21 JH 22 FF 23 JH 24 25 26 JH
27 28 JH 29 FF 30 JH

1 2 3 JH
4 5 JH 6 FF 7 JH 8 9 10 JH
11 12 JH 13 FF 14 JH 15 16 17 DF
18 19 JH 20 FF 21 AP 22 23 24 JH
25 26 DF 27 FF 28 DF 29 30 31 DF

1 2 DF 3 FF 4 DF 5 6 7 DF
8 9 DF 10 FF 11 AP 12 13 14 DF
15 16 DF 17 FF 18 DF 19 20 21 DF
22 23 JH 24 FF 25 DF 26 27 28 DF
29 30 RS 31 FF

1 JH 2 3 4 DF
5 6 JH 7 FF 8 DF 9 10 11 JH
12 13 FD 14 FF 15 FD 16 17 18 RS
19 20 EH 21 FF 22 AP 23 24 25 EH
26 27 EH 28 FF 29 EH 30

1 2 FD
3 4 FD 5 FF 6 FD 7 8 9 EH
10 11 VA 12 FF 13 FD 14 15 16 EH
17 18 MW 19 FF 20 LR 21 22 23 PA
24 25 FD 26 FF 27 EF 28 29 30 FD

1 MW 2 FF 3 EF 4 5 6 FD
7 8 LR 9 FF 10 EF 11 12 13 FD
14 15 FD 16 FF 17 LR 18 19 20 FD
21 22 FD 23 FF 24 FD 25 26 27 FD
28 29 LR 30 FF

1 TD 2 3 4 PA
5 6 FD 7 FF 8 EB 9 10 11 FD
12 13 FD 14 FF 15 FD 16 17 18 FD
19 20 TD 21 FF 22 PA 23 24 25 ?
26 27 FD 28 FF 29 FD 30 31

Was there a different romantic cartoons
series that included Nell Brinkley? I have
seen a few by Popini that alternated with
hers in both the Syracuse Evening Telegram
and the Chicago American in late 1922.
Yes, Brinkley contributed to a separate but parallel series, usually credited to another Hearst syndicate, International Feature Service. I'd very much like to index that series as well, but I have yet to find any papers that ran it with enough consistency that I can even figure out for certain how it worked (part of a page, like this series, or standalone).

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