Saturday, May 30, 2020


What The Cartoonists Are Doing, July 1916 (Vol.10 No.1)

[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.]

“Caricature and moral criticism” was the subject of a lecture delivered recently in Philadelphia by Prof. Louis W. Flaccus of the University of Pennsylvania.

After praising cartoonists for their display of moral strength on occasions, and condemning them for their display of shiftiness at times, Dr . Flaccus spoke of the characteristics of cartoonists in different countries.

"Why is it,” he asked, “that French caricaturists make marriage a thing of ridicule, American caricaturists do their best to discredit the presidency, and papers of the type of Simplicissimus and the Pasquino carry irreverence to great lengths? Moral radicalism will always have a place in caricature, and there is a moral individualism which would rather praise the devil in secret than God en masse. But the general drift of caricature is socially protective in spirit. The license is that of the artist, not the moralist. What seems a foul, satiric underthrust at morality or religion is often merely a bold imaginative stroke aimed at strong artistic contrasts."

Mr. Flaccus mentioned feminism and war as favorites with the cartoonists. “One might imagine in regard to feminism, where the issues are so grave, that caricature would become earnest and significant,” he said. “But the great bulk of such caricature plays with the idea, leaving moral matters untouched. The tide of this fun runs against feminism, because the world of caricature is a man's world. War is a favorite, for the caricaturist likes sharp contrasts, and as a moralist he thinks in black and white.

“Which way does caricature, morally speaking, lean? I find in it much defensive criticism, much that is strong, and little that is subtle. It chastises simple vices, as drunkenness, and presents simple standardized ideals such as honesty. It strikes hard at the moral laggard; it sees to it that there is no wide breach between average conduct and average ideals.

"Yet caricature often attacks, without judgment, what rises above as well as what falls below the common social level. It shows little insight into, and less sympathy with, reform movements. As a matter of history, caricature rarely has seized the real meaning of a new movement. Abolition, prohibition, the peace movement, socialism, feminism, have received from it unintelligent abuse. Do the Civil War cartoons express at all the seriousness of the issue or the greatness of Lincoln? What, one might ask Tenniel, had the man's lankiness to do with the measure of his greatness? And there is not much to choose between a cartoon which sets a cultured woman over against a lot of drunkards and asks: 'If these vote, why not we?' and a cartoon that draws a woman voting, her children hungry, and household ruined. Both are unjust distortions, melodrama, and alike intolerant."

In conclusion he mentioned the strong appeal of the cartoon to the man in the street and to the newspaper reader. “Let us be cautious, however," he warned, "against accepting without very close inspection the caricaturist as a reliable moral guide. In 1884, Gillam attacked Blaine in caricature in one humorous paper and attacked Cleveland equally unjustly in another. But often the caricaturist has shown courage and great moral strength.”

In connection with the recent capture of Sir Roger Casement, W. A. Rogers, cartoonist of the New York Herald, recalls the fact that in 1887 he drew a cartoon for Life in which he depicted the first Irish parliament under home rule. In the cartoon Mr. Rogers had Prince Bismarck in charge of the department of foreign affairs for Ireland, while the head of Michael Davitt was displayed on a pike inside the house of parliament. About ten years later Davitt actually was stoned by an Irish mob.

Mr. Rogers was asked if the cartoon made any prediction as to the end of the present war, but his answer was :

“A prophet must not be overworked."


James Henderson, of Charlotte, N. C., a brother of Russell Henderson, designed a souvenir postcard recently commemorating President Wilson's visit to his city. Mr. Henderson added a verse which read:

Me and Woody is on our way,
To Charlotte for the twentieth of May;
 Come and join us if you can;
 We'll have a big time hand in hand.

Thousands of the cards were printed and distributed throughout the Carolinas.

from Paterson (N. J.) Call
Future historians are going to use the cartoons as found recorded in the daily newspapers more than they have ever been used in the writing of history. And it is well that they should do so.

The newspapers of this country have never had working for them such able cartoonists as are now devoting their talent to the making of pictures. There have been a few great cartoonists in the past -- some as good, perhaps, as any who are making cartoons at this time. But never have there been so many good ones as are with us at this time. And certainly they have never so completely sensed the meaning of the events of the war.

One does not have to read the words of the correspondents nor of the diplomats to understand the spirit of the struggle, its portents and its intents. All he needs to do is to study the cartoons. They are clean and wholesome. They are refined - and full of meaning. They show that the cartoonist possesses something else than the ability to make pictures. For within the most of them there is that which shows that the cartoonist is a man of deep reasoning and of splendid mental equipment, as well as being endowed with the genius of art.


"Some 'Frightful' War Pictures" is the title of a new cartoon book by W. Heath Robinson, the London artist. The pictures are not really so frightful as the name suggests, as Mr. Robinson is one of the best-known British humorists. The book is published by E. P. Dutton and Co., New York.

from Western Christian Advocate
Our eye has fallen upon a suggestive cartoon in one of the humorous satirical papers, namely, Judge . It is a picture called “Dollars and Sense.” On the left hand there is shown a rather vacant-faced and dapper young dude who stands for dollars, and because he has the ducats, a half dozen eager and adoring young women are hanging over him with pleading gaze, trying to hypnotize him into some response to their sincere and inspired admiration for his greatness. We will not raise the question of the real image within their minds. On the right there is a picture of the young student who represents sense (cents), who is sitting all alone, looking studious, a book man, earnest, pondering over a volume in his hands; but there is not a single female in his vicinity.


Under the auspices of Mrs. P. N. Cook of the Salt Lake City Board of Health, the school children of that city submitted original cartoons recently in a contest designed to further the interests of "clean up week.” The first prize was won by Miss Maxime Maxom, a senior in the high school. The cartoons have been placed on exhibition.


 "Billy" Ireland, of the Columbus Dispatch, on arriving at Chicago for the republican convention, immediately sought out Clare Briggs, of the New York Tribune, and challenged him to a game of golf. "Cliff" Berryman, of the Washington Star, who had offered to serve as caddy for Ireland, excused himself.


A Chantey of the Kiel Canal

W. A. Rogers, cartoonist of the New York Herald, frequently adorns his work with verse. The following appeared over his signature shortly after the German government had denied torpedoing the "Sussex."

She loomed up on our stabbud bow,
And she looked like a man o' war,
Nor peaceful hornless mooley cow
Was liker to a savage boar.

And straightway, for a fighting ship,
Her decks with women folks were crowded:
Her bows were fitted for a ferry slip;
Her guns were carefully enshrouded.

With cunning truly diabolic
This fighting ship defied us;
For on her decks in romp and frolic
Even the babes seemed to deride us.

No wonder then we launched a huge torpedo
Her impudence to quell.
It struck — a glorious deed, O,
Listen now what next befell.

Out of the smoke that spread across the sea
A second ship from Davy Jones's rose,
And like our damaged quarry, she
Had also lost her nose.

Then , then it was our brave commander
Bade us to fire no more;
"Another shot may raise about us
Warships by the score."

Maybe, sir, we saw things double,
Seeing like a stereoscope;
Very likely that's the trouble,
Peering through a periscope.

Jean Knott, comic artist of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has been graduated into the big-league newspaper class through signing a contract with William Randolph Hearst to work for the Hearst newspaper syndicate.

His salary will be $12,000 a year, or considerably more than double his present salary. He began on the Post-Dispatch as a counter clerk at $10 a week. His work recently attracted the attention of Hearst, who signed him to a two-year contract.

Under the caption "Offensive Ignorance," the Rochester Herald prints the following anent a recent McCutcheon cartoon:

"If the famous Chicago cartoonist is lacking in a sense of decency it is rather strange that his newspaper employer should encourage it, to say nothing of betraying his ignorance, by giving publicity to the McCutcheon cartoon the other day entitled 'The Double Standard.' In this Janus-like figure the president is represented as saying to the Americans in Mexico: 'You are warned to leave Mexico at once.' To the traveler boarding an outward-bound vessel he is made to say: 'You will be protected.' Further is the legend: “Where Americans are Warned to Abandon Their Rights , and 'Where Americans are Told Their Rights must be Respected.'

"It is a striking illustration of the influence of vicious partisanship that we find in this cartoon. Its crass ignorance appears to have had no restraining influence on the editor who passed on it.”

Louis Raemaekers, the famous Dutch cartoonist, has drawn for the National Committee for Relief in Belgium one of the most remarkable and certainly the most heartrending of all the war posters.

The misery of the millions now in Belgium has inspired this notable artist to his finest effort. A Belgian woman, with a ragged red cloak over her shoulders, is holding tightly to her breast an infant in a shawl. Around the child is clasped the mother's hand - a hand which spells starvation . In the woman's face there is the infinite sorrow of motherhood, driven to despair by the inhumanity of it all, and the pitiful, helpless yearning to relieve the child's suffering. Any reader of this magazine can secure a copy of the poster free by sending a postcard to the Secretary, National Committee for Relief in Belgium, Trafalgar Buildings, Trafalgar Square, London.

Word was received recently of the death at Los Angeles of Mrs. Clara Woolson Darling, mother of Jay N. Darling, cartoonist of The Des Moines Register. She is survived by one other son, Frank W. Darling of New York. She was the widow of the Rev. Dr. Marc W. Darling, who was one of the most widely known ministers in Iowa.


Reub Goldberg, the New York Evening Mail's cartoonist, was one of the star attractions in the Friars' Frolic on its recent tour.

Dudley Logan of Los Angeles is now drawing cartoons for The Western Comrade, a monthly labor publication.


Clare Briggs, of the New York Tribune, was the guest of Percy Cowen of New Bedford, Mass., recently. He was much interested in a visit to a whaler, and is still recovering from the effects of a clambake.


“Bill" Steinke, formerly cartoonist for the Scranton (Pa.) Republican, and who is now in vaudeville, was given something of a reception recently when he appeared in Allentown, where he has a multiude of friends. He was escorted into the city by the mayor and the board of aldermen, and was met at the station by the town band.


The Western Union Life Insurance Co., of Spokane, Wash., offers a prize of $1,000 for the best original trade-mark submitted before Oct. 15. Sketches may be submitted in pencil, crayon, oil, or water color.


The Rev. Bouck White, of the Church of Social Revolution, of New York, after a recent term on Blackwell's Island, is again in trouble for desecrating the American flag. According to the charges against him, he was distributing a cartoon showing the figure of a monster labeled “Militarism" grasping a money bag, sprawled across the national emblem. Red blots labeled "War" also defaced the flag, while a bolt of lightning, marked "Internationalism" was pictured as striking the monster.


A Briggs cartoon in the famous "When a Feller Needs a Friend" series, and representing the small boy appealing to his father for a vote for mother, has been distributed by the thousands throughout the state of Iowa in the interests of the equal suffrage campaign.

"Cousin Jim, or The Mystery of the Stolen Fraternity Pin" is the title of a film comedy which John T. McCutcheon of the Chicago Tribune has written for the Casino Club of that city.


John L . De Mar , cartoonist of the Philadelphia Record, began life as a railroad brakeman .


On the occasion recently of John T. McCutcheon's forty-sixth birthday, a writer in the Cedar Rapids Gazette paid the following tribute to the Chicago cartoonist:

“Of all the cartoonists who ply their gentle art on this side of the well known Atlantic ocean, perhaps the most widely and favorably known is John T. McCutcheon of the Chicago Tribune. Like so many other middle western geniuses, Mr. McCutcheon was born in Indiana. It was forty-six years ago today, May 6, 1870, that he started life in Tippecanoe county, spending his youth on a Hoosier farm. Agriculture did not appeal to him, however, and while still in short trousers he began studying art. He advanced so rapidly that at the age of nineteen he landed a job on the art staff of the Chicago Record. Later he went over to the Record-Herald and afterward to the Tribune. For nearly a score of years he has held a place among the foremost newspaper cartoonists of the world. Mr. McCutcheon is a chronic globe-trotter and has had many unusual and thrilling experiences. He was a member of the party of American war correspondents who invaded Belgium soon after the outbreak of hostilities, and, with Irvin S. Cobb and several others, served time in a German jail, but finally escaped to Holland. In 1898 Mr. McCutcheon made a tour around the world in the dispatch boat McCulloch, and he was an eye witness of the battle of Manila Bay. The Chicago cartoonist was in Africa during Col. Roosevelt's hunting trip, and recorded his impressions of that distinguished nimrod in a volume, ' T. R. in Cartoons.' He made a balloon ascension at Nairobi, and from a safe height gazed down upon the wild beasts of the jungle. Besides having a ringside seat at Dewey's victory over the haughty Don, Mr. McCutcheon has had experience in warfare in the Philippines, the Transvaal, and, latterly in Europe. In many of his globe-trotting expeditions the cartoonist has traveled with that other celebrated Hoosier, George Ade, and as a result of his association has illustrated many of Mr. Ade's books. As an artist McCutcheon has a style that is strictly his own. A McCutcheon cartoon may be recognized at a considerable distance, and may be approached with the certainty that it contains the 'makings' of a laugh."

Rube Goldberg, sporting editor and cartoonist of the New York Evening Mail, drove his automobile on the wrong side of the roadway at Washington bridge the other afternoon, and as a consequence found himself before Magistrate Levy in the Morrisania court.

Goldberg told the magistrate that he was not familiar with the rules of the road in this case, and was not aware of the fact that he was violating any ordinance.

It is alleged that when he was asked by the magistrate why he did not study the traffic regulations, Goldberg replied with the sentence he has put into the mouths of the characters in so many of his cartoons, “I never thought of that."

The magistrate found him guilty but suspended sentence.


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Friday, May 29, 2020


Wish You Were Here, from J.K. Bryans

Here's a postcard drawn by the comic page's number one silhouette cartoonist, J.K. Bryans. This card was issued by Home Life Publishing in 1905. If you read about Bryans' newspaper work of this time, you'll note that there is a gap in 1905. Perhaps this postcard drawing job explains his absence from the funnies?


"Home Life" was the name of a homemaker magazine of that time, maybe this has something to do with it.
There seems to be three heads there, shared between two people. Bryan may have been the best silhouette cartoonist in 1905; but maybe that art form had a bit of improving yet to do. Or maybe in 1905 some people had two heads. I bet that's it.
Permit me, Katherine Collins,
What you see in the silouette is not a mistake or phantom head between the couple, (though you will notice it isn't there in the shadow they cast), but a typical ladies' hair style of 1905, that is, piled high at the sides, and a bun on the top centre. If you follow her neck up, you will see the bun is in straight alignment.
I have mounds of material on J. K. Bryans if anyone's interested (,, I'm working on a biography of his second wife, Zoe Anderson Norris!
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Thursday, May 28, 2020


Obscurity of the Day: Phyllis and Fang

Phyllis Diller, one of the first female stand-up comedians, was near the top of her career in 1968 when she teamed up with the Register & Tribune Syndicate to offer a daily comic strip featuring her self-deprecating humor. If you are over 50 and had a TV growing up, you certainly remember her fright wig, loud dresses, cigarette holder, and cackling one-liners on the variety programs and celebrity game shows, in which a favorite subject was her lazy, boozing, good-for-nothing husband "Fang".

Her comedy, some of which was written for her by cartoonist ghost-writer Mary McBride, was full of one-liners, making it seem like a natural for comic strips. However, the constant references to alcohol and other quasi-adult topics probably made newspaper editors a little nervous. They also might not have seen the appeal of the artwork supplied by Marvin Myers. Myers' style was definitely avant-garde compared to the normal comics page fare, and it did take some getting used to. It certainly didn't help that due to some odd production problem the strip was often full of type lice, which make Myers' noodly lines look like an unholy mess (the samples above have had the problem corrected).

Phyllis and Fang debuted on January 29 1968 in very few papers, and it only took four months for the syndicate and creators to give up on the strip. In the Des Moines Tribune itself, home paper of the syndicate, which may be the only paper that ran the series from beginning to end, the strip ended on June 1 1968.

In case you are too young to remember Ms. Diller's striking stage presence, here's a little taste:


Hello Allan--
Phyllis was funny, at least at first. I think she was oversold,until any novelty she had was drained out. Same thing happened to Steve Martin. Maybe you or some readers will recall her sitcom, "The Pruitts of Southampton"? They put her into something that erased her wacky, witchy persona and cast her as a member of a poor but lovable family of grifters that bluffed their many creditors while living in their mansion (the Biltmore Estate in N.C.!), sort of like "The Rogues". I know, few remember that show either, but suffice to say, it stunk, and gave Phyllis's career a blow.

I remember this strip, it ran in the Philadelphia EVENING BULLETIN. I liked it, although I was a child at the time. I'll guess that the strip was a failure not from the gags, but because it just looks so terrible. If I'm any judge of potential client editors, I would think Miss MacBride's amatuerish scrawl style was a quick turn-off.
If I recall it right, one day the Bulletin dropped it and offered an excuse like, "Phyllis and Fang are on hiatus while Miss Diller is on tour" or some such nonsense.

The Register and Tribune's strips are always the worst-reproduced on any comics page. I discovered that they sent out a daily strip for Cecil Jensen's "Elmo" that had a hair photographed on it. I would guess they used the lowest-quality materials for whatever they supplied newspapers. They weren't alone--e.g., the newsprint proofs King Features sent to newspapers to shoot from. I've seen one for a week of "Bringing Up Father" daily strips.
Your point is well taken, that sometimes the KFS proofs were less than perfect, but as the onetime archives for the syndicate, I must hasten to add that, considering the hundreds of thousands of them I have seen and worked with, from the 1920's onward, the really defective ones were in a very small minority.
The worst problem seemed to be that sometimes, when we issued everything on slick clay stock, they would be improperly stacked, before the ink dried. Then they would stick together and prove from hard to impossible to fix. These would be of course, replaced by us, but if the deadline for the client was too close, they might use a messed up strip anyway. I imagine all the other syndicates had problems now and then, too.
Probably the whole process bypasses printed proofs now, computer generated ones go directly to the client paper.
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Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Chester Sullivan

(An updated profile is here.) 


(The following profile is based on finding only one artist named Chester Sullivan. An article identifying him as the artist of Men Who Made the World was not found.)

Chester Milo Sullivan was born on March 12, 1898, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to his birth certificate at His parents were Frank and Margrethe. Sullivan’s middle name was on his World War II draft card.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census Sullivan was the youngest of four siblings. His family resided in Minneapolis at 759 Washington Street NE. Sullivan’s father was a post office clerk. The family’s address was the same in the 1910 census.

Information about Sullivan’s art training has not been found.

During World War I Sullivan enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 3, 1918. He was a gunnery sergeant stationed with the Central Reserve Division.

According to the 1920 census, Sullivan’s mother, a widow, was the head of the household. They lived at the same address. Sullivan was unemployed.

Sullivan continued his education at the University of Minnesota. He was a member of the fraternity, Delta Tau Delta, and the Aero Club.

Minneapolis city directories from 1922 to 1928 listed Sullivan as a commercial artist and his home address.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Sullivan was the first artist on the series, Men Who Made the World, which ran from September 21, 1925 to April 16, 1927. The following artists were not credited. Writer Granville E. Dickey was replaced by Dr. Elliott Shoring who may or may not exist. John F. Dille Company was the syndicate.

In 1929 Sulllivan’s address was 2555 Bryant Avenue South. The 1930 directory said he was married to Marian and resided at 2808 Chowen Avenue South. The same address was recorded in the 1930 census. Sullivan was a self-employed advertising artist. He had a five-month-old daughter.

The Sullivan trio lived at 2100 Dupont Avenue South in Minneapolis. Sullivan operated an art studio.

On February 16, 1942 Sullivan signed his World War II draft card. His home and studio was at 3517 West 28th Street in Minneapolis. He was described as five feet eight inches, 150 pounds with gray eyes and brown hair. He enlisted in the Army on on June 24, 1942. His rank was first lieutenant.

The Army Air Force magazine, Brief, August 15, 1944, mentioned Sullivan’s contribution to the Tarawa Cricket Club.

Acutely conscious of certain trends, 1st Lt. Robert North of Alhambra, Calif., decided that something drastic should be done to offset the inroads made in the Pacific by that amiable, sprawling outfit labeled the Short Snorters.

He conferred with M.Sgt Norman Hoch, a citizen in good standing of Oklahoma City, and they decided that there was a crying need for some sort of exclusive organization in the South Seas, where all sorts of improbable things happen. The Short Snorters, they opined, was getting pretty loose. It used to be limited to those persons who had flown over a body of water, but now it could happen to anybody, like Athlete’s Foot, or rundown heels.

So they founded the Tarawa Cricket Club, and might have run something up a pole to commemorate the occasion, but poles are scarce in that country. Instead, they enlisted the aid of Maj Peter S. Paine of New York City, and Maj Chester M. Sullivan, of Minneapolis, Minn., to help them get under way.

In case you've wondered, the name comes from the fact that there are a lot of idle cricket fields laid out on the islands. The English used to play the game there before the war, but have given it up for more strenuous activities.

Maj Sullivan designed a stamp, and unless you’ve had some business in the Pacific war you won’t ever get any closer to it than you are right now. That’s how the thing was made exclusive. Stamps are being distributed to other points—there will be a Kwajalein Chapter, Saipan, Guam, perhaps a Truk Chapter, a Philippines, and no doubt a Tokyo Chapter under the parent Tarawa nucleus.

The stamps will be held on each island by some responsible officer, probably the S-2, and if you care to join, look him up and he’ll stamp a replica of the informal coat of arms on your stationery, birth certificate, a pair of souvenir panties, or anything else that will take the ink. It costs you a dollar, which is used to buy more stamps for other chapters.

It was felt that the club would promote a certain comraderie [sic] among the men, for it is a thing that is really exclusive. No outsiders can join—you absolutely have to be on the island before you can join.

You can have a bill stamped and dash around collecting signatures if you like, but the originators look down their noses frostily on the practice.

The club is open to everyone from Dogfaces up, and there’s some highpowered company in it. Even generals—especially generals—are potential members, and some belong now. Maj Gen Willis H. Hale belongs, and plugs the club for a commendable venture, according to Lt North.

Membership won’t make you any money or when you get back home (wars always HAVE cure very many of the ills man is heir to, but ended) you’ll have something as exclusively South Seas as atoll-fishing.

Sullivan’s veteran’s file said he was a lieutenant colonel at his discharge on September 9, 1944. Presumably Sullivan resumed his advertising career in Minneapolis.

Sullivan passed away on February 10, 1973, in Minneapolis. He was laid to rest at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery.


—Alex Jay


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Tuesday, May 26, 2020


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Granville E. Dickey

(An updated profile is here.)

Granville E. Dickey was born on June 24, 1902, in Washington, District of Columbia (DC), according to his World War II draft card. In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Dickey was the oldest of two children born to Raymond and Rose. The family and two servants resided in DC at 1358 Otis Place. Dickey’s father was an attorney. At age six Dickey was hit by a truck as reported in the Evening Star, February 13, 1909. Dickey attended Central High School where he excelled in swimming the backstroke.

The Dickey family continued to be DC residents, at 1702 Kilbourne Place NW, in the 1920 census. In 1924 Dickey graduated from the College of Journalism of Northwestern University in Chicago. He was a member of the varsity swimming team, and in his senior year was named a member of the all-American swimming team.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Dickey was the first writer of Men Who Made the World, which was drawn by Chester Sullivan. The strip started on September 21, 1925 and after five dailies Dickey’s name was replaced by “Dr. Elliott Shoring, Noted Eminent Historian”. Records of this person have not been found. Shoring may have been a pen name. The John F. Dille Company series ran for many years as reprints.

The Evening Star, April 4, 1928, reported Dickey’s wedding.

The marriage of a former Washingtonian, Mr. Granville E. Dickey, to Miss La Verne Carnes will take place this afternoon in Chicago, the home of the parents of the bride. After an extensive trip to Cuba and Spanish Honduras, they will return to Chicago, where Mr. Dickey is advertising manager for a large wholesale house.

He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. R.B. Dickey of 1702 Kilbourne place. In 1920, when he graduated from Central High School, he was captain of the swimming team and a captain in the Cadet Corps.

According to the 1930 census, the couple resided in Oak Park, Illinois at 402 South Cuyler Avenue. Dickey was an advertising copywriter.

At some point Dickey moved. The Official Register of the United States 1938 listed Dickey as a statistician in DC. On November 25, 1941 Dickey testified before the House of Representatives’ committee hearings on the conservation of wildlife.

On February 14, 1942, Dickey signed his World War II draft card. He lived in Silver Spring, Maryland at 8003 Eastern Avenue, apartment 104. Dickey was employed at the U.S. Conservation Corps in DC. His description was five feet eight-and-a-half inches, 145 pounds, with brown eyes and hair. Dickey had divorced in 1941.

An Evening Star death notice said Dickey’s second wife passed away April 5, 1945.

Dickey passed away on January 28, 1948. A death notice appeared in the Evening Star, January 29, 1948. 
Dickey, Granville E. On Wednesday, January 28, 1948. Granville E. Dickey, father of Rosemary Dickey, son of Rose M. Dickey and the late Raymond B. Dickey, brother of Mrs. Alice Beaton, John Maxwell Dickey and Raymond R. Dickey. Funeral from the W.W. Deal Funeral Home, 4812 Georgia ave. N.W. Notice of time later.
He was laid to rest at Cedar Hill Cemetery.


—Alex Jay


Granville Dickey's daughter Rosemary was my mother-in-law (she passed in 2016, age 85). When I first started dating her daughter, I was an avid comic book collector. Rosemary often talked about how her dad taught her to read by reading the newspaper. However, she was forbidden to read the funny pages, because they would rot your brain, her dad told her. So she'd tease me about my comic books. Several years after I married into the family, I learned of the existence of Men Who Made The World. Rosemary was completely unaware of the strip's existence. I tend to think that Shoring probably was Granville's pen name, because he clearly was embarrassed by any association with comics, and didn't want his daughter to know he'd written the strip.

Thanks for this writeup.
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Monday, May 25, 2020


Obscurity of the Day: Men Who Made The World

Once J. Carroll Mansfield's Highlights of History proved itself a surprise hit, other syndicates began dipping their toes in the history comic strip genre. John F. Dille was keenly interested in educational features anyway, so he was one of the first to jump in with a me-too strip.

Dille's offering was called Men Who Made The World, and the daily strip offered biographies of important figures in history. The strip debuted as early as September 21 1925*, though many papers started it later. The strip began under the helm of Granville E. Dickey, who was billed as an historian, but whose only other credit I can find is editing Dille's weekly college humor round-up page. Art was provided by a complete unknown, Chester Sullivan. In a bizarre twist, Dickey's name was stricken from the feature after a mere five dailies and the new writer was "Dr. Elliott Shoring, Noted Eminent Historian." That eminence is debatable, or at least I can find no other proof of the fellow's existence other than this single credit.

Despite being put together by a pair of questionable unknowns, the strip was actually pretty darn good. They started off with a biography of Alexander the Great, which managed to be both entertaining and quite thorough. The bio ran for 33 strips, with lots of well-written text accompanying Sullivan's reasonably attractive art.

When Alexander the Great ended, a much longer bio of Napoleon ensued, but the art chores were taken over by Dick Calkins, a Dille go-to guy who would later rocket to fame as the artist on Buck Rogers. Calkins was a good fit for the assignment, since his art tends to look a bit like woodblocks out of a medieval manuscript, a nice look for a history feature.

The next story was Joan of Arc, which caused some clients to rename the strip Personalities that Made the World given the subject personage. Many clients seem to have given Joan a pass; whether that was an anti-Catholic bias, an anti-woman bias, or just because the art on this story was by a rather unappealing anonymous hand (or two, actually -- I think Calkins might have been brought in to finish off the story), I don't know.

For the remainder of the series, though the art was very rarely signed, I'm pretty confident that it is mostly or all Dick Calkins. Here's a rundown of the stories and their lengths:

Story Artist # of Strips
Alexander Chester Sullivan 33
Napoleon Dick Calkins 69
Joan of Arc Anonymous artist possibly followed by Calkins 27
Julius Caesar Dick Calkins 45
Fernando Cortez Dick Calkins 59
George Washington Dick Calkins 55
King Richard I Dick Calkins 55
Sir Francis Drake Dick Calkins 60
Peter the Great Dick Calkins 48
Louis the XIV Dick Calkins 41

I have yet to find a paper that runs this strip with perfect regularity or runs all the stories, but if such a paper were to exist, the series would have ended on April 16 1927. Although Dille closed up shop for new biographies, he certainly didn't stop trying to sell the ones he had. I have seen parts of this series running in papers as late as 1947!

* Source: Windsor Star


Beleived to be a complete run in color, transalted in French by Montréal newspaper LA PRESSE in 1927-1929.
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