Saturday, December 07, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing, March 1915 (Vol. 7 No.3)


[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.]

We wonder that no sustained outside effort has been made to hold in check the tremendous power of newspaper cartoonists, whose pictures were characterized a few days ago by Frank I. Cobb of the New York World as “pictorial editorials.” This is not saying that cartoonists are not answerable to managing editors, or that they are given unlimited license. Rather, we mean that they are permitted to say in pictures what managing editors would not permit in words.

There is a general impression that the cartoonists of certain opposition newspapers so stirred enmity against President McKinley that morally they could be charged with complicity in his assassination. For two decades cartoonists have been potent instruments in arraying class against class. Newspapers that have made the greatest use of cartoons have very generally made their appeal directly to persons who do not think closely, and whose minds can be inflamed more easily by vision than by reason.

The European war has inspired many cartoons of doubtful propriety, some of positive viciousness. Newspapers of the East are not as careful to maintain neutrality as those of Minnesota. Some of them are almost violently partisan and they admit editorial expression not calculated to help the President in keeping free from foreign entanglements. These cartoons serve as a somber background for what their editors say.

Cartoonists generally are genial men, and many are men of liberal education and broad reading. Perhaps most of them are artists first, and as artists they are trained to distort faces and to accentuate defects in order to give their cartoons the desired “punch.” In their pictures they permit themselves far more extravagance of expression than any editorial writer or special correspondent would dare. They do not stop short of sacrilege in their efforts to make their ideas telling.

Frankly we do not believe in allowing such fateful power in the hands of men whose training has not tended to bring out the qualities of judicial interpretation. The keen instruments of a surgeon belong in the hands of men qualified to use them; firearms, in the hands of those who can use them with discretion or under competent direction. Cartoons are “loaded” else they have little value; the man who aims them should have the coolest head.—Minneapolis Journal.

The “Wonders of Science,” reproduced on another page of this issue, was drawn by Will Dyson, of the London Daily Herald, and is said to be the largest cartoon ever published in an English newspaper. It was printed in the London Daily Mail, and has since been put on exhibition among a number of Mr. Dyson's other war cartoons at the Leicester Galleries, London.

Mr. Dyson came into the limelight several years ago when his cartoons in the Sydney Bulletin attracted widespread comment. Later he went to London, but failed to gain recognition until his labor cartoons began to appear daily in the London Herald. Mr. Dyson gained the name of “the cartoonist of revolt,” because of his opposition to all existing conditions. Since the outbreak of the war, he has turned his satirical talents against Germany. H. G. Wells, the famous novelist, has this to say of the Australian artist:

“Mr. Dyson perceives in militaristic monarchy and national pride a threat to the world, to civilization, and all that he holds dear; and straightway he sets about to slay it with his pencil, as I, if I could, would kill it with my pen. He turns his passionate gift against Berlin.”

T. A. Dorgan, “Tad” the cartoonist, was dining alone in a restaurant in Fulton Street the other night. A stranger dropped into the seat opposite and fell to discussing cartoons.

“Now take my old friend Tad,” said the stranger. “I like him personally. In fact we are the best of friends, but as an artist he is punk.”

“You know Tad then?” Tad asked.

“Know him ! I should say I do.”

“I’ll bet you $5 you don’t know him,” said Tad, reaching for his wallet. The $10 was deposited on the table.

“Now,” said the cartoonist, “how are you going to prove that you would know Tad if you saw him?” “That's a cinch,” chuckled the stranger, as he gathered in the money. “You are Tad.”—St. Joseph Gazette.

The Alsatian caricaturist, M. Waltz, who is known as “Hansi,” has been decorated with the cross of the Legion of Honor, says a recent dispatch to the Associated Press from Paris. Some time before the war broke out, Hansi was sentenced to one year's imprisonment at Leipzig for cartoons he drew ridiculing everything German in Alsace-Lorraine. He escaped, however, and volunteered as an interpreter in the French army. He has been mentioned in dispatches for his courage and as being a splendid example for his comrades.

Mr. H. T. Webster was roped and then branded with a full evening dress suit the other night and carted away to a swell musical event in Carnegie Hall, says the Passaic (N. J.) News.

When he was awakened after the first intermission by his companion he was told that the next number on the bill was the great Efram Zimbalist, the violinist.

“Do you mean to say there is such a person as Efram Zimbalist?” inquired the cartoonist. “I always thought he was a typographical error.”

Ambitious young men will find an excellent opportunity to pursue work in cartooning at the South Brooklyn Evening High School, according to the Brooklyn Eagle. Anyone with any talent in drawing is admitted to the class, and expert instruction is being given. The attractive features of the instruction are free tuition and free materials with which to work. The class is expected to be one of the largest in the evening high school.

“The advantages of this work,” says the instructor, “lie in the fact that there is no time wasted. A student is advanced according to his ability. The instruction is absolutely individual, and there is no fake encouragement given. If a pupil does good work, he will be told so, and if he does poor work and shows no improvement, we will not encourage him to continue the work.”

These verses by Mary Moncure Parker were suggested by Mr. Bradley's cartoon, reproduced elsewhere in this issue.

What ho! Grim War! I, I am here. I, Earthquake, the Mighty One!
Beneath your chariot's lumbering wheels, these mankind things you've crushed,
Drunk with this warm, young human blood, along the highway rushed,
Calling above the cannon's roar, “War, War, the Mighty One.”

In egoistic orgie wild, a challenge you have hurled
To forces of the Universe, the tidal wave, the lurid fire
Unglutted, you have laughed to scorn. On and on, in mad desire
For blood of men, for power supreme, you’ve plunged o'er half the world.

Your bloody gauntlet I have seized. What, ho! The fight's begun!
With my great hands I cleave the earth. Behold the trenches wide and deep!
Into the yawning, ghastly gap whole busy, pulsing towns I sweep.
What ho! Grim War! I, I am here. I, Earthquake, Mighty One!


A West St. Paul paper speaks of the noted cartoonist of another generation as “Petroleum V. Nast.” Both Nast and Nasby will shudder at this mix-up and its source.—St. Paul Pioneer Press.


Clare Briggs, of the New York Tribune, has profusely illustrated a new book by Mrs. Charlotte Hay Meredith, of Peoria, which has just been published.


Mrs. John F. John has been secured as a special cartoonist by the New York World. Mrs. John’s home is in Bloomfield, N. J.

Sam M. Copp, an employee of the Illinois Central Railroad at Fort Dodge, Iowa, has broken into the limelight as a cartoonist, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Mr. Copp proves his good nature by directing his satirical drawings at his own line of railroad work—that of a claim agent.

“The railroadman-artist pictures the ‘downs' of a claim agent,” says The Picayune, “as he declares that there are no 'ups.' Among the ‘downs' portrayed in a recent issue of the Illinois Central Magazine, is a picture of the claim agent sleeping, or attempting to sleep, in a village tavern; flirting with acute indigestion at the railroad lunch counters; trying to convince irate farmers that their hogs would have died anyhow if the train had not hit them, and in various other positions that go with his job.”

A display of war cartoons from the pen of A. G. Racey, of the Montreal Star, has been attracting a good deal of attention in London, according to the London Times. Mr. Racey has drawn some striking cartoons on the war and his work is said to be on a par with the best that has been produced in England since the start of the world conflict.


The Chicago Daily News has issued, in book form, a collection of war cartoons by L. D. Bradley. The cartoons date from the beginning of the war, and form a pictorial history of the first five months of the conflict. The cartoonist has taken a neutral stand in his drawings, although much of his work indicates that he is a bitter foe of militarism.


Ryan Walker, socialist cartoonist, recently purchased a neat little bungalow at Great Notch, N.J., and does most of his work far from the “busy marts of trade.”


Apprehensive lest royalty fall into disrepute, and socialism assert itself too strongly, if the license of the cartoonists goes unchecked, King George and Queen Mary of England, according to a dispatch to the New York World, are using their influence to suppress some of the grosser caricatures of the kaiser which have appeared in certain London newspapers. The “Kaiser's Kalendar,” published by the London Daily Express, and reproduced elsewhere in this issue, and the “Adventures of the Two Willies,” in the London Mirror, on which were modeled the amusing “cartoon dolls” shown also in this issue, and some of Jack Walker's drawings in the Daily Graphic, will probably be found among the offenders. The censor has been given instructions to prohibit further publication of one series, and to keep his eye on others. The war office already has made a ruling that the cartoons cannot be sent to soldiers in the field, and publishers have been obliged to make statements to that effect.

Emperor William, the dispatch states, has been repeatedly represented as a butcher and as a man whose character is so detestable that the slum boys and girls ought to be applauded for throwing mud at him. The crown prince has been almost universally referred to as “the Clown Prince” and drawn by the cartoonists for the newspapers and magazines as a half-witted fellow with no claim whatsoever to the consideration and esteem of anyone.

The Iron Cross, with which the emperor decorates his soldiers for bravery on the battlefield, has had its mock representation offered for sale in the London streets, a death's head and the emperor's name upon it. Hucksters dressed in fantastic German garb made sales with “Old iron, who will buy?”

Never since the French Revolution was precipitated by the slanderous and satirical lampoons of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette has there been such a campaign of offensive abuse as the London press has indulged in against the German royal family; and as King George and Queen Mary are both members of the same family, with hardly a drop of blood in their veins which is anything but German, the wave of scorn and hatred of German royalty whipped into fury by the newspaper writers and artists of the English capital is bound to surge up to the very steps of the British throne unless drastic action is taken by the British authorities themselves.


R. M. Brinkerhoff, magazine illustrator, and former cartoonist of the Cincinnati Post, has embarked in the confectionery business in New York.

Dr. Ernest Amory Codman, a prominent surgeon of Boston, angered the surgical section of the Suffolk District Medical Society, of which he was chairman, by displaying a cartoon he had drawn, satirizing the “Harvard Medical Ring,” as he labeled it. The cartoon so offended the members of the society that Doctor Codman was forced to resign as chairman of the body.

In the offending cartoon, an ostrich, representing the Back Bay population, was shown feeding on a “Hill of Humbug” and laying “Golden Eggs” for the “Medical Ring,” represented by figures labeled with names prominent in the “ring.” President Lowell of Harvard University, the Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital were thus singled out.
In explanation Doctor Codman accused the medical ring of operating at fancy prices for appendicitis, on the slightest excuse. He announced that it was easier to remove the appendix than to determine before the operation if there was really anything the matter with the organ.


Clare A. Briggs, of the New York Tribune, has yielded to the blandishments of musical comedy, and his famous “Skinnay” is to be dressed up, as to book, by Ring W. Lardner, and set to music by Aubrey Stauffer. The production will open soon in Chicago.

A newly employed bell boy at the Hotel LaSalle, Chicago, recently created a laugh in the lobby of the hostelry by paging “Doctor Yak,” Sidney Smith's comic-section character. The “green” bell hop evidently had not seen a comic section of the Chicago Tribune, as he took his order to page the doctor seriously, and kept up his call for nearly fifteen minutes. Finally he reported back to the desk clerk.

“Doctor Yak isn't here.”

“Why, Doc Yak is a goat,” said the clerk. “He appears in the funny papers.”

The new bell hop got red about the ears and remarked that he guessed he was the “goat” instead of Old Doc Yak.


A cartoon by Mr. Blackman, of the Birmingham Age-Herald, was used recently by the Rev. Willis G. Clark of that city, to illustrate a sermon on Christianity.

Under this caption the London News and Leader, in a recent issue, announces to its readers the startling fact that “Mr. Eugene Zimmerman, the famous American caricaturist, is dead.” The News and Leader continues:

“The deceased, who was 52 years of age, started life as a boy on a farm doing odd jobs, and was successively assistant fish peddler, baker, and sign painter. He was connected with “Puck,” and afterwards as cartoonist for ‘Judge.” Mr. Zimmerman is perhaps better known to the public as ‘Zim.’”
Which reveals the remarkable fact that the News and Leader does not know its own aristocracy. Mr. Eugene Zimmerman, the Cincinnati railroad magnate, was the man who died. He was the father-in-law of the Duke of Manchester. “Zim,” who also enjoys the name of Eugene Zimmerman, refused to take the announcement of his death seriously and drew the accompanying cartoon of himself attending his own funeral.


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Friday, December 06, 2019


Wish You Were Here, from Albert Carmichael

This card is unsigned and the maker is also anonymous. But we are so goshdarn well-informed around here that I can hear a chorus of readers chanting, "Albert Carmichael, Taylor & Pratt series #728, circa 1913-1914."

Bravo to you all!


Is the gal pantomiming a cell phone call?
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Thursday, December 05, 2019


Toppers: Cousin Juniper

Under the direction of its original creator, Sidney Smith, The Gumps was the gold standard for comedy - soap opera strips, a genre that it created. When Smith died in 1935, however, the Chicago Tribune - New York News Syndicate made what is pretty universally considered an error in judgment by handing the strip over to Gus Edson.

The heir apparent for The Gumps was Stanley Link, but according to legend, Link thought he had the syndicate by the short hairs. He made some pretty big demands and acted as if he was indispensible. According to a story told to me by Jim Ivey, Link put the final nail in his coffin when he came to a meeting with syndicate chief Joe Patterson and put his feet up on the Captain's desk. Apparently Link was not totally out of favor, because he continued Ching Chow, Tiny Tim and originated other features for the syndicate for many years hence.

I find Edson's version of The Gumps to be really tiresome, but perhaps through inertia alone the strip maintained a very healthy list of newspaper clients through the 1940s and even into the 50s.

The Sunday page of the strip had a topper for awhile in the Sidney Smith years, a revival of Smith's popular Old Doc Yak strip that was his first big hit back in the teens. But Smith or his syndicate seemed to have little interest in it, and it was dropped in early 1934. From then on the strip ran without a topper at all (a rarity in the 1930s) until the first Sunday of 1944, when the Gus Edson version suddenly added a one-tier topper called Cousin Juniper. Juniper was a pre-existing character in the strip, a bald sailor who had befriended young Chester Gump. In the topper he became a bland vehicle for weak gags.

The topper made The Gumps function better in the newly popular third page size; rather than trying to shoehorn a whole tab's worth of strip into that small format, the main strip was shortened so as not to end up with a very busy looking three tier third.

The new strip was emininetly forgettable, but appeared as a part of the half-page and tab versions of the strip for over a decade. In 1955 Edson for some reason dropped Cousin Juniper in favor of a new topper strip titled Grandpa Noah. Unfortunately, finding The Gumps Sundays in either of those formats by 1955 is so unusual that I can't give you a specific end date for Cousin Juniper, and I don't know how long Grandpa Noah ran. (I can say that based on original art for the feature, the topper seems to have disappeared by 1957.) Any information readers can give would be much appreciated.


Have you check out neither the Chicago Tribune or New York Daily News Sundays on yet? You might find those toppers there!!!
Based on my spotty index, the Daily News ran the Gumps as a half-tab by 1955, and had dropped it by 1956. The Chicago Tribune had dropped the Gumps by 1955, and if they did shoehorn it in they would have run it as a third.

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Wednesday, December 04, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: The History Of Marriage

In 1927 King Features produced a short-run daily strip that cherry-picked odd and unusual facts about marriage from a recently published book titled A Short History of Marriage by Edward Westermarck. The strip ran from July 12 to August 6 in the San Francisco Examiner, and ran in some client papers as a weekly (as shown above, using two strips per weekly episode).

The strip seemed to end rather abruptly after that that three week run. Perhaps they were out of material, or perhaps there was enough blowback from clients over the contents of the strip that they dumped it. Alexander Popini, freed from his usual job of drawing chaste romance cartoons, was having a field day depicting bare-breasted native girls in the last few installments, and maybe he went too far. Here's the final installment:


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Tuesday, December 03, 2019


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Albert Levering

Albert L. Levering was born in 1869 at Hope, Indiana, according to Herringshaw’s National Library of American Biography, Volume 3 (1914). The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded his birth date as March 1870. The middle initial was included in numerous city directories.

In the 1870 census, Levering was the youngest of three siblings born to Levi [Lemuel] Levering, a stair builder, and Sarah [Martha Youngling]. The family lived in Columbus, Indiana.

The 1880 census said Levering was the third of four siblings whose father was a carpenter. Their home was in Columbus.

By 1882 the Levering family was in Kansas City, Missouri. The 1882 city directory listed Levering’s father and partner, G.M.D. Knox, as the architectural firm, Levering & Knox, on Main Street. The 1883 directory said Levering’s father had his own practice at 527 Main Street. In 1886 the address was 605 Delaware Street.

The New York Daily Tribune, August 23, 1902, said “Levering was educated to be an architect …”. Kansas City directories for 1887 through 1889 said Levering was a draughtsman at his father’s firm, L. L. Levering. Levering resided with his parents at 1007 Harrison Street.

The 1890 directory is not available. Levering’s occupation was architect in the 1891 directory. He lived with his parents at 2137 Lexington. The 1892 directory listed Levering as an artist at the Kansas City Journal. He was an architect in the 1893 directory.

Levering was listed in two 1894 city directories: an architect in Kansas City, and a draftsman at Orff & Joralemon in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he stayed at the Hotel Clinton. In 1895 he was listed in the Kansas City directory but, more likely in Minneapolis directory, he was a resident living at the Victoria. Levering was an artist studying with Burt Harwood.

The Minneapolis Journal, January 3, 1903, said

… Mr. Levering began his artistic career here [Minneapolis]. He was one of the best of the many good architectural draftsmen who have worked in the twin cities. While doing his best work in architecture he abandoned this work to do newspaper illustrating. He was a hard worker and made rapid progress, studying in the night classes of Burt Harwood’s art school and doing a phenomenal amount of work for his paper. From here he went to the Chicago Tribune, and then to the New York Journal, and after two or three years newspaper work went to Munich for two years’ study abroad.
The Kansas City Journal, January 6, 1895, said “Mr. Albert Levering, of the Minneapolis Times, visited friends in this city during the holidays.” Six months later the Journal, June 7, 1895, reported the Western Authors and Artists’ Club meeting and said “… Albert Levering, of Minneapolis, Minn., formerly of the Journal …”.

The 1896 Chicago, Illinois city directory said Levering was a Tribune artist residing at 294 Erie Street. Obituaries said Levering moved to New York City in 1896.

In the late 1890s Levering went abroad. The Indianapolis Journal, August 25, 1902, said Levering “studied art at the National Academy, Munich, and finished that portion of his study by spending four months in Italy on a bicycle, investigating all sorts of delightful by-ways and out-of-the-way corners. …”

Sara Duke said in her book, Biographical Sketches of Cartoonists & Illustrators in the Swann Collection of the Library of Congress (2014), artist Will Crawford “… shared a studio with John Marchand and Albert Levering.” According to the 1900 census, Levering, Marchand, Crawford and Percy Gray, all artists, resided at 53 East 59th Street in Manhattan, New York City.

Levering contributed to Harper’s Monthly Magazine, September 1900, and Harper’s Weekly, November 17, 1900.

Levering was located at 27 West 30th Street in the 1902 city directory. In 1902 Levering illustrated the books, Grimm Tales Made Gay, The Adventures of M. d’Haricot, Mollie and the Unwiseman, and Alice in Blunderland: An Iridescent Dream (1907).

The following Philadelphia Post story was printed in many newspapers in early 1904.

Albert Levering, the black-and-white artist responsible for so many ‘comics,’ used to live in Chicago, but recently transferred his allegiance to New York. He took his hypochondrical [sic] tendencies with him, and they are still in good working order. His favorite pastime is to read of some deadly disease, preferably a new one, lie awake all night, seek his doctor in the morning and get assured that he was in perfect health and then go back to work cheerfully.

One morning he turned up at the doctor’s just as the man of medicine was getting into his carriage.

“I’m in a hurry,” called the doctor, “and can’t stop to see you—but it’s all right—you haven’t got it.”

“Haven’t got what?” demanded the astonished artist.

“Whatever it is you think you’ve got. Not a symptom of it. Good-bye,” and he drove away.

“Well, now,” said Levering, turning to a lamp post as the only witness of the scene, “that’s the time he’s mistaken. I know I’ve got it—ten dollars in my pocket to pay my last bill; but if he’s sure I haven’t I’ll try and get in line with his diagnosis,” and he went around the nearest junk shop and invested the money in a pair of brass candlesticks and a brass kettle.

Indiana’s Laughmakers: The Story of Over 400 Hoosiers (1990) said Levering married Francis Jewell Levering of Bloomfield, New Jersey on May 31, 1905. 

The Chicago Tribune, April 29, 1906, announced that John T. McCutcheon, a Tribune cartoonist, was going on vacation for five months. The Tribune made arrangements with 31 cartoonists to cover for McCutcheon. Thirty American cartoonists committed to providing a cartoon for the month of May. Levering, of Harper’s Weekly, was one of them. Englishman Tom Browne would replace McCutcheon from June through September.

Pacific Commercial Advertiser 7/3/1903

Hampton’s Magazine 7/1909
Hampton’s Magazine 10/1909

In the 1910 census Levering and his wife were Manhattan, New York City residents at 206 West 106th Street.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Levering produced two comic series: Artful Arty and Alex Smart, from October 15, 1905 to October 14, 1906, for the Philadelphia Press; and The Flatt Family, from August 7 to September 10, 1918, for Press Publishing.

From 1911 to 1812 Levering illustrated George Ade’s New Fables in Slang.

Levering contributed many cartoons to the New York Tribune from 1916 to 1917.

In 1919, Levering illustrated Potash and Perlmutter series that appeared nationally in newspapers.

Levering’s address was 617 West 170th in the 1920 census. The 1925 state census recorded self-employed artist Levering at 222 West 23rd Street in Manhattan.

Levering passed away April 14, 1929, in New York City. The Rhinebeck Gazette (New York), April 20, 1929, published an obituary.

Albert Levering, illustrator, died of heart trouble, from which he had been suffering for several weeks, Sunday morning in his apartment at the Hotel Chelsea in New York city. His wife, Mrs. Frances Jewell Levering, who is formerly from Red Hook, was with him when the end came.

Born in Hope, Ind., sixty years ago, the son of Levi Lemuel and Sarah Martha Youngling Levering, he studied architecture with his father, and later took up drawing in Munich. He practiced architecture several years in San Antonio, Texas, and then became a newspaper artist, working successively in Kansas City, Minneapolis and Chicago. Coming to New York in 1896, he joined “The Journal”, now The New York American. Later Mr. Levering was on the staffs of Puck, Life and Harper’s Weekly and other magazines, and then began a Sunday page for the New York Tribune. Many humorous books contained his Illustrations.

Mr. Levering is well known in Red Hook, having spent several summers there and was one of the prominent figures about town when the trout season opened.

Surviving him are his wife and a brother and two sisters of Kansas City. Funeral services were held on Tuesday at the Campbell Funeral church, Sixty-sixth street and Broadway, New York city. Burial was in Rhinebeck cemetery.

Several obituaries said Levering practiced architecture for eight years in San Antonio, Texas, before becoming a cartoonist. I have found no documentation supporting that claim. It’s possible Levering worked on projects for San Antonio clients. For eight years, from 1887 to 1895, Levering’s occupation was draughtsman or architect in Kansas City and Minneapolis city directories.


Further Viewing
Indiana Illustrators and Hoosier Cartoonists
Library of Congress
Metropolitan Museum of Art
WikiMedia Commons
Bibliography of Ellis Parker Butler

—Alex Jay


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Monday, December 02, 2019


Obscurity of the Day: Scientific Experiments

George Frink debuted on the daily comics page of the Chicago Daily News in 1901 and produced a ton of material, both in series and one-shots. His fifth of dozens of series for the News was Scientific Experiments, a strip in which a scientist would show some scientific principle or demonstrate a new invention with wacky results. The strip only ran a handful of times from January 23 to March 18 1902.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples.


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