Friday, October 08, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Margaret Ahern aka Margarita

Margaret Ahern was born Margaret O'Connell on February 16, 1921, in Manhattan, New York City, according to the New York, New York Birth Index at Ahern’s Social Security application said her middle name was Teresa and parents were John McCrohan and Margaret M. O’Connell. McCrohan was an Irish emigrant who arrived in New York City on August 11, 1921, almost six months after Ahern’s birth. He and O’Connell obtained a marriage license on April 29, 1922 in Manhattan. On November 30, 1927, McCrohan became a naturalized citizen. McCrohan’s Petition for Naturalization said he resided in Detroit, Michigan at 4249 West Maypole Avenue, and his daughter lived in Chicago.  

The 1930 U.S. Federal Census said Ahern and her parents lived in Chicago at 4701 Gladys Avenue. Her father was a factory worker. 

According to the 1940 census, Ahern lived with an aunt in Chicago at 4159 Adams Street. Ahern completed four years of high school and was a new worker. 

The Irish American Who’s Who (1984) said Ahern’s art training was at the American Academy of Art in Chicago. 

Ahern visited Mexico in June 1946. A Pan American Airways passenger list said she returned to the U.S. through Brownsville, Texas. 

Ahern’s marriage was reported in The Garfieldian (Chicago, Illinois), July 17, 1947. 
Creator of ‘Little Reggie’ Is Married
Miss Margaret McCrohan, 4159 Adams, known to readers of the Garfieldian and Austin News as “Margarita,” artist and creator of the comic strip “Little Reggie,” was married in St. Mel’s church last Saturday to Edward M. Ahern of Wheaton, Illinois. Miss McCrohan was graduated from Providence High school and attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. During the war she was editorial cartoonist of the “New World,” Catholic Diocesan weekly newspaper, but is now a free lance artist. She has used the pen name “Margarita” since returning from a trip to Mexico. “Little Reggie” is syndicated throughout the United States.

Miss McCrohan wore a wedding dress made with a satin bodice and marquisette skirt. Her fingertip veil fell from a headpiece of orange blossoms. The bridal bouquet was made of gardenias, white roses and gladioli. Attending the bride were Miss Mary Lauer, maid of honor, and Miss Katherine O’Grady, bridesmaid. They wore gowns of aqua marquisette and carried bouquets of red carnations. Ahern was attended by James A. Newsham, best man, and George Peper and Thomas A. Wood, ushers. Following the ceremony a breakfast was held at the Graemere hotel.

The groom, son of Mrs. John J. Ahern of Wheaton, is secretary of the Chicago Post Office Clerks association, and a clerk at the Garfield Park post office. He was graduated from Crane Technical High school and attended Crane Junior college and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. An ex-sergeant of chemical warfare intelligence with the air corps he saw service in England, France and Germany.
American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Little Reggie was distributed from December 20, 1945 to May 26, 1949 by Western Newspaper Union. 

Wikipedia said Ahern worked for the Chicago Archdiocese’s New World newspaper and WGN’s television show, Cartuna. The Chicago Tribune, August 28, 1999, said 
Her cartooning skills paralleled the pioneering days of television in Chicago and were featured in an early 1950s program called “Cartuno.” The program, essentially a game show, had Mrs. Ahern illustrate some aspect of a song while contestants tried to guess its title.

“On the screen you could see her hand drawing clues to the song,” said her son.
For The Waifs’ Messenger, Ahern produced two series, Beano and Angelo. Her best known series was An Altar Boy Named Speck for the Catholic News Service. The Speck cartoons were compiled in three books. Ahern used a pen name, Peg O’Connell, for the series, Our Parish

Ahern passed away on August 27, 1999, in Wheaton, Illinois. She was survived by her husband, two sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren.

Further Reading
Bleeding Cool, After 70 Years, About Comics Revives Speck The Altar Boy 
Lambiek Comiclopedia


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