Saturday, March 07, 2020


What the Cartoonists are Doing, March 1916 (Vol.9 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.]

From the Christian Science Monitor
Now that the cartoon has become such an established feature of modern journalism, it is interesting to note its origin and development, and to see wherein it differs from its predecessor, the caricature. Caricature, which dates back beyond the middle ages, is the art of applying the grotesque to the purposes of satire, and takes the form of pictorial ridicule and burlesque. Both in letters and in art it seems to have touched high-water mark in the eighteenth century. We may cite, as its most notable examples, the fierce grotesques of Swift, the keen ironies of Henry Fielding, the masterly moralities of Hogarth, to mention only a few. All of these were characterized by a certain violence of expression which, in the later days of reserve and restraint, appeared quite monstrous.

It was after the downfall of Napoleon (1815) when strife was over that a change in matter and manner came about. And just as in those days of peace the manner of caricature became less violent and more restrained so in these bellicose times a tendency to overexaggerate has become noticeable in some of the cartoons of today, though many have been worthy of high praise. But the adoption of the cartoon in place of caricature practically amounted to the laying aside of the purely brutal and violent methods of the latter, for the really much more effective weapons of wit and humor, and it is unlikely that the blunderbuss methods of a Rowlandson or a Gillray will ever again become popular.

The credit for the title and, to a great extent, for the character of the cartoon seems to belong to the London Punch, which, at the time of the great exhibition of “cartoons” (1843) held for the purpose of selecting designs for the decorations in fresco of the new Houses of Parliament, jocularly ranged itself alongside the great artists of the day. The weekly cartoon quickly became an established favorite, not a weapon of venomous attack, but a humorous or sarcastic comment upon the topic uppermost in the nation's thought. In the case of the cartoon, the title plays an important part and is not simply a label to the picture, any more than the picture itself is an illustration to a title. The first Punch cartoon was by John Leach, and the title ran thus, “Substance and Shadow: the Poor Ask for Bread and the Philanthropy of the State Accords—an Exhibition.”


"Dreams,” says a writer in the Interstate Medical Journal (St. Louis), “have to be interpreted if we would know their meaning.”

In this respect, he says, cartoons also need interpreting. As an example he cites a cartoon (minus its familiar labels) of Mars consulting a timepiece beside a lamp post labeled “Spring.”

“You see here,” the writer continues, “a picture of a man, who, judging from the armor he wears, would seem to belong to the time of Julius Caesar. Nevertheless, he stands near a very modern lamp-post on a curb of what one would suppose to be Spring Street. He holds in one hand a watch of remarkable size and in the other a bouquet composed of flowers and bayonets. The picture, in short, gives the same impression of absurdity as do most of our dreams, and, like a dream, it would tempt one who saw it for the first time to say that it had neither sense nor meaning.

“But though this picture may seem as absurd as our dreams, it comes not from a dream but from a newspaper. It is a cartoon with the title ‘This Is the Place, but Where's the Girl?' and it appeared in a recent issue of the New York Times. It expresses a thought in much the same way that thoughts are expressed in dreams — namely, by indirect representation. Hence the picture, like a dream, has to be interpreted before we can learn its meaning.

“The artist was obliging enough to label his symbols. In the original of this picture the sheet of paper which lies upon the sidewalk in front of the man was inscribed with the words ‘Italy to go to war in the spring,' and the tag attached to the bouquet which the man carries bore the words 'For Miss Italy.' By the aid of these hints the picture is very readily interpreted. Evidently the thought it expresses is something like this: ‘Italy, like a fickle girl, has failed to join in the war at the time expected.' But notice the indirect representation. The artist has used as symbols a man, a bouquet, and a lamp-post to express a thought about something entirely different—namely, the attitude of a country toward expectant militarism.

“Now, this is exactly the method of representation that is used in dreams. There is this one difference, however. The symbols used in the dream are not labeled as the artist has labeled the symbols in the picture.”


It is not often that the ladies make a success of political cartooning, but Miss Edwina Dumm, of the Columbus Saturday Monitor, refuses to be handicapped by precedent. No subject is too big for her to wrestle with, and in the pages of the Monitor she interprets world events in real masculine cartoons. One of her recent drawings is reproduced herewith. In addition to her cartoon work Miss Dumm draws an entertaining feature page for her newspaper, in which the week's events are seen in scrambled form.

[I corrected Dumm's surname as it was consistently misspelled Dunn in this article. -- Allan]

George McManus, of “Bringing Up Father” fame, entertained a few friends at one of New York's table-d'hôte palaces the other night. Among the guests was an Englishman, who presumably had left his native land to prevent himself from being a slacker.

Ray Rohn, one of the staff artists of Judge, engaged him in conversation. “Do you go in for sports of any kind?” he asked.

“Oh, my eye!” was the reply. “I should say so! Rawthaw! I am passionately fond of dominoes.”

Ray in the excitement broke the crystal of his wrist watch.


W. O. Fitzgerald has been engaged as staff cartoonist on Dome Echoes, a San Francisco publication.

A recent cartoon by Nelson Harding in the Brooklyn Eagle furnished the text for a sermon at the mission of St. Gabriel's Protestant Episcopal Church of Brooklyn by the Rev. Walter Du Moulin, of Hamilton, Canada. The cartoon was entitled “Civilization,” and represented a building of noble proportions, the cornice broken, and the walls shattered and crumbling. In the middle distance a group of tiny figures of savages is seen, while the background shows deserted wastes.

A. B. Chapin, the St. Louis Republic cartoonist, besides making a daily cartoon, assists in getting out a special feature page for his paper. During the past year most of the material for this page was gathered outside of St. Louis, and Chapin in pursuit of it has traveled more than 10,000 miles, mostly in Illinois and Missouri. This necessitated his working ahead on his cartoons, but “General interest” and “Human interest,” he says, came nobly to the rescue while he was away.

 A series of these sketches, drawn many years ago, by the British nurse shot by the Germans as a spy, have been reproduced as postcards by a London firm.


Fay King, the Denver cartoonist, whom Battling Nelson, the former lightweight fisticuffs champion, brought back as a bride to Hegewisch, Ill., some months ago, has been made defendant in a divorce suit in the Superior Court of Cook County. The “Durable Dane,” as Nelson is known professionally, charges that Mrs. Nelson never loved him, but regarded him merely as a “lil' pal,” and refused to be the queen of Hegewisch. Letters by Mrs. Nelson, introduced as evidence, and referring to the ex-champion as a “Dear little woolly lamb,” admitted that she never loved him, but was “very grateful—that's all.”

In the modest little thumb-box gallery at 24 East Forty-Ninth Street, New York, Boardman Robinson, the former New York Tribune cartoonist, has been showing a collection of drawings made during his recent tour through the war zones of Serbia, Russia, and Saloniki. Says one New York critic of the exhibition, “One comes away with the conviction that here is an artist who draws with greater authority than anyone else in America. His powers of observation are extraordinary.”

Robert Minor, of the New York Call, who went to Europe recently to “rip the brass buttons off the war,” has returned. Billed as “The great socialistic cartoonist,” he has been giving lectures on the folly of preparedness. “War,” says Mr. Minor, “is like a Kentucky mountain feud. Such terms as ‘national honor' and ‘Belgian neutrality,' are only used to make dupes of the soldiers. I'm sick of it all, and bring back an uncommon contempt for the Roosevelt type of patriot.”

Broadway has something new to talk about. It is the great whisker contest waged between Herb Roth and Ray Rohn. The former is cartoonist for the metropolitan section of the New York World. The latter draws regularly for Judge. The two are room mates.

Roth bet Rohn $50 that if he, Roth, let his whiskers grow, and frequented restaurants and theaters, he would be arrested. Rohn agreed to let his beard grow, also, with the understanding that the first to be arrested would win the $50. O. O. McIntyre, manager of the Bushnell cartoon service, was appointed stakeholder. The New York Telegram is issuing daily bulletins on the progress of the contest.

To the Editor: I have just read Mr. Daake's letter in the February Cartoons Magazine, and I do hope he will believe me sincere when I tell him that never for a moment did I dream of taking a slap at the great army of contributors who never land, when I referred to them as “fame-chasers.”

Good Heavens! All of us who have ambition are that—and why not? I’m one, and glad of it. Moreover, I’ve cooled my heels in many an outer office, and despaired of ever getting beyond the gate. Everybody has to sit outside and watch other folks go in at the beginning of the game.

The spirit of my work is always kind, and I was surprised that someone had found in it a “sneer.” There's no one dearer to my heart than an ambitious amateur, for no one realizes more than I do how hard it is to “break in"—and without wishing to boast—I’ve helped and encouraged a lot of them.

Really, I'm awfully hurt in being accused of superciliousness—it is so foreign to my disposition. My point of view was merely that of one sitting on the bench and watching the big ones breeze in. I ought to know what it feels like to be thrown down. I bet I've got the largest collection of editorial regrets in captivity, but being a persistent “fame-chaser,” I’ve had the nerve to keep on trying.

Oh, no. There was no sarcasm in that story of mine! Just facts as I’ve found them as an amateur and a “fame-chaser,” in moods both timid and overconfident.

Donnell, dean of the St. Louis cartoonists, has become a strenuous Civic Leaguer. He lives in Webster Grove, and the citizens of that leafy suburb evidently have thought well enough of “Don” to elect him chairman of their town-boosting committee. While riding back and forth on the Missouri Pacific the cartoonist finds himself in the midst of spirited committee meetings, the Webster Grovites looking to him for inspiration.

Tuthill, of the St. Louis Star, in addition to his daily cartoon, has been turning out a comic strip entitled “Lafe.” Lafe is a character afflicted with rather more than his share of laziness. The same hardly can be said of Tuthill.

[I can find no evidence of this strip in the Star or elsewhere -- Allan]


Walter W. Hubbard has left the Baltimore Star, and is now staff cartoonist for the Binghamton (N. Y.) Press and Leader. He announces also the arrival of a baby boy.


Those who have smiled at Helena Dayton-Smith's little clay figures that have appeared from time to time in Cartoons Magazine will be interested in knowing that they will make their debut in real life in the Ziegfeld “Follies of 1916.” Girls will be dressed up to represent Mrs. Dayton's “caracatypes,” and the artist herself will write the lines for them to speak. Mrs. Dayton also has written a play for a Broadway producer.

James Navoni, formerly of the San Francisco Call, has for several months been in the employ of a travelogue concern, and has been zigzagging here and there across the country.

“During my travels,” he writes, “it has been my good fortune to come into contact with people of all types and classes. You can't deny that Mr. Knock-about-a-bit is quite a valuable teacher. At any rate, he has helped me toward a better understanding of human nature, the cartoonist's great est asset.”

Louis Raemaekers, the Dutch cartoonist, has been appointed Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur. M. Forain, of the staff of Le Figaro, Paris, was delegated to deliver the insignia to the distinguished artist.

E. W. Gale has Left the Los Angeles Times to Draw a Comic Strip Entitled “Mr. Wad and His Family” for the Wheeler Syndicate of New York.

After acting for a whole day at a Brooklyn movie studio, two Brooklyn Eagle men have come to the conclusion that they are not cut out for heroes. Zere, of the art staff, and H. L. Meyer, of the reportorial department of that newspaper, were sent out to the studio recently as supers, and were told to record their experiences in black and white.

Within a few minutes they found themselves in the midst of a five-reel political muddle which kept them busy for two hours. From the political maelstrom they were thrust headlong into the sixteenth century. The artist and the writer wriggled into doublet and hose, were laughed at by the professionals, and yelled at by the director. It was in this scene that they experienced their first genuine stage fright. Restoratives had to be administered before they were able to record their impressions.

R. M. Brinkerhoff, in New York Evening Mail

The captain's just home from a voyage
Clear from the porch to the stair.
The sea was the floor and the ship there he sailed
Was the seat of our old rocking chair.
So now in the harbor he climbs to my knee
And begs for the story I tell
Of the land in the skies where the dream people live
And the elfmen and gobolins dwell.
So sailing the ocean we both fall asleep!
Our dream ship is off for the West!
My silver'd head droops till it rests on the gold
Of my baby's asleep on my breast.
Baby and I go a-sailing
Over the land and the deep.
The land that we find is the land of our dream,
And the sea that we find there is sleep.


Hy Mayer, whose work is known to all readers of Puck, is a designer of costumes as well as a cartoonist. Mr. Mayer designed the costumes which were worn at the recent banquet at Delmonico's given by the Bohemians, an organization of New York musicians, in honor of Mischa Elman.


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Friday, March 06, 2020


Wish You Were Here, from Cobb Shinn

This postcard by Cobb Shinn forgoes such easygoing directives as "Tempus Fugit" or "Seize the Day", and goes straight for the jugular. Get to it, cause you're going to die!!!!

The publisher of this card is uncredited, and it is postally unused so the most I can say is that it is 1907 or later since it is a divided back.


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Thursday, March 05, 2020


Obscurity of the Day: But He Changed His Mind

New York Evening World bullpenner Jack Callahan got a hankering to try panel cartoons in 1914, and he liked the same kind that I quite enjoy, the ones where the cartoonist asks us to imagine what came next. He more or less did two weekday series of this type in tandem; Then He/She Turned Around, and today's obscurity, But He Changed His Mind (obviously titled But She Changed Her Mind instead when the target was of the female persuasion).

This series began on March 24 1914, a few months later than his similar panel series, and ended September 29 1914, a few months later.


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Wednesday, March 04, 2020


News of Yore 1952: Cartoonist F.O. Alexander Honors Newsboys with Stamp Design


 Tribute Paid To Newsboys In Stamp Issue


Given Special Recognition Nation-Wide; Ceremony at Philadelphia

Philadelphia, October 6 1952 (AP) -- The nation's great paused yesterday to pay tribute to the boy next door -- the one who delivers your newspaper.

The youthful champions of free enterprise got special recognition yesterday when the U.S. Post Office placed on sale a three-cent stamp honoring their service to community and country.

In a special ceremony at Benjamin Franklin Institute, Postmaster General Jesse M. Donaldson will present the first stamp to a newspaperboy. The Franklin Institute was chosen, Donaldson said, because Franklin was "probably the first newspaperboy."

The stamp will be sold exclusively in Philadelphia for a short time and then will be placed on sale throughout the nation. It depicts a newspaperboy carrying papers in an average American community. On the boy's bag is the legend, "Busy Boys . . . Better Boys."The stamp, printed in three shades of purple, was adapted from a sketch made by the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin's editorial cartoonist, F.O. Alexander.

The paper carriers were honored by the Bulletin at a banquet Friday attended by such prominent former newspaperboys as Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder, Harold Stassen, president of the University of Pennsylvania, former U.S. Senator Francis J. Myers and Horace A. Hildreth, president of Bucknell University and former governor of Maine.

Similar ceremonies were held throughout the country in conjunction with National Newspaper Week.


This post was possible courtesy of Mark and Cole Johnson, who sent me the newspaper clipping (from the Glens Falls Post-Star) along with the following promo photo of Alexander. Cole wrote the following on the back of the photo:

"F.O. Alexander in his office at the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin on May 28 1965. 

Alex strikes a pose with an unlit pipe at his drawing board. Out the window can be seen the northern end of the platforms at 30th Street Station. 

He gave me this original in about 1980, I have no idea where or if it was published. He passed away in 1993. He told me he lost his hair in a mustard gas attack in frontline combat in WWI. Pictures of him in the 1920s would bear that out."


Hello Allan-
Actually, It were I who wrote the description of the photograph. I put in a lot of hours at the Philadelphia library tracking down (based on the edition of the Bulletin in the foreground and the cartoon he is pretending to work on) the exact date of the picture. It was great to have lots of time and energy to spend on such things.
Still have yet to find any ultimate purpose for the photo's creation, it occurs to me he had it commissioned for his own use, if there were autograph fans, or something. The rough, unmatted edges, and the sharp quality tell me this is the photographer's proof, the last copy of the picture in his possession. It's now framed, on my hallway wall, next to a picture, undoubtably the final time ever, that he drew of Hairbreadth Harry, Rudolph and Belinda.
You will remember on New Year's day 2019 the Stripper's Guide entry about the Evening Bulletin souvenir booklet? Well, Alex's office was on the side of the building, looking across to the train station.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2020


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: W. R. Bradford

Walter Russel Bradford was born May 15, 1872 in Dayton, Ohio. The birth date is from his death certificate and the birthplace was mentioned in numerous obituaries. Bradford’s middle name was recorded on his marriage certificate.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Bradford was the youngest of five children born to Harry (Henry) and Sarah. They lived in South Bend, Indiana at 46 General Taylor Street. His father was a painter.

Bradford’s early career was described in The Camera, July 1925, said Bradford

… began work in the Studebaker Carriage Works, at South Bend, Ind., but his inherent talent for sketching led him to attend the night classes for instruction in drawing and inadvertently to the acquaintance with John T. McCutcheon and other famous cartoonists, who, appreciating his talent, encouraged him to pursue the practice.
Cartoons & Movies magazine #9, June 1925, said Bradford attended the Frank Holmes School of Illustration in Chicago.

On August 11, 1894, Bradford married Sarah Bates in Cook County, Illinois (

In the 1900 census, Bradford, his English wife and two-year-old son, William, lived in Chicago at 301 Osgood Street. Bradford’s occupation was “typewriter”.

Cartoons & Movies said

He worked on the Chicago Tribune, then on The North American, and shifted to the Baltimore Herald. When the Baltimore fire put him out of a job he returned to Chicago to work for the Journal. Then he went back to The North American for his last job.
At the Chicago Tribune, Bradford produced Animal Land (1901) The Inquisitive Bunnies, and Languid Leary and His Wonderful Tomato Can (1902). He contributed a strip to Alice’s Adventures in Funnyland.

Bradford’s strips for the North American include Animalland (1905), Doctor Domehead (1905), Tommy Tuttle (1905), The Geteven Youngsters (1905), and Fitzboomski the Anarchist (1905).

There were two strips, Mrs. Rummage the Bargain Fiend (1906) and Mr. and Mrs. Getrichquick (1910), Bradford may have drawn. The strips were signed Russel (with one L) which was his middle name.

The 1910 census recorded the Bradfords in Philadelphia at 1245 56th Street. Bradford’s occupation was newspaper cartoonist.

Bradford was a shutterbug. One of his photographs was published in Editor & Publisher, March 11, 1916. He contributed to Kodakery, November 1922, “Home Pictures That Are Different”, January 1923, “Indoor Silhouettes” and February 1923, “A New Angle on Doll Photography”.

According to the 1920 census, Bradford continued cartooning in Willistown, Pennsylvania on Monument Road. At some point he returned Philadelphia.

The Camera said

The closing down of the North American, however, was a severe blow to him, as it seemed like a separation from all that he had so delighted in for years. His desk had become his playground as much as his workshop. When his newspaper passed to the hands of the Public Ledger, Bradford was the radio editor, and his creations in that role were of the same subtle humor which characterized his exploits in other roles.
Bradford passed away on June 4, 1925, at his home, 5551 Delancey Street in Philadelphia. The death certificate said the cause was pulmonary tuberculosis and the secondary cause was toxic psychosis. In his book, Trolley to the Moon: An Autobiography (1973), Eric Hodgins wrote:
… My father took me to Philadelphia and the North American offices several times, where I met such heroes as Walter Bradford, the North American’s one and only strip cartoonist, creator of John Dubbalong and Enoch Pickleweight, to whom a son was duly born, named Dill. It was fine 1908 humor. I remember the shock my mother handed me when she revealed that Walter Bradford had a vice. He drank. That was why his cartoons were occasionally missing! …
Cartoons & Movies quoted Bradford’s wife who said

“He loved his work there,” Mrs. Bradford said. “He loved the characters he created and had fun out of them, Enoch, Maria, Dill and Pa Pickleweight — Ichabod, the old Injun fighter. The Scow cat was his mascot when he built his motorboat in our back yard in West Philadelphia about fifteen years ago and named it the Dubbalong. He and Hugh Sutherland collaborated in his strip-comics over many years.”

—Alex Jay


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Monday, March 02, 2020


Obscurity of the Day: The Inquisitive Bunnies

The Inquisitive Bunnies began on W.R. Bradford's second week supplying the Chicago Tribune with practically an entire Sunday comics section, November 17, 1901. Brad's art was pretty amateurish when he first came to the Trib, but evidently the powers that be appreciated the antic wackiness of his writing, which was already in full flower -- this stuff is completely unreined.

The less said about Brad's painfully bad poetry the better, but thankfully Brad gave this series the heave-ho in short order, dropping it with the installment of December 15 1901. His other Tribune series smartly stuck mostly to prose.

Thanks to Cole Johnson, who supplied scans of the first and last installments of this series.


Hello Allan-
The figures atop the fence in the second sample are all from the Trib's feeble lineup of characters, obviously the little girl in the Tam was the star of the the debut Tribune comic section. I can't recall what her name was, Alice, perhaps, and Boggs the optimist is the one being clonked at the far right end.
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