Wednesday, December 29, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Carl Ryman

(This profile is an update of the 2016 version.) 

Carl Ryman was born Carl Adolph Reimann Jr. on May 10, 1903, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to his World War II draft card. Ryman’s birth name was found in his father’s biography in the book, German-American Artists in Early Milwaukee: A Biographical Dictionary (1997). 
Reimann, Carl A., b. 3-13-1873 in Milwaukee, d. 12-17-1937 in Milwaukee. Muralist, religious painter, and designer of stained glass windows whose name is sometimes given as Charles A.F. Reimann. The son of a Swiss immigrant father and German immigrant mother, Reimann grew up in Milwaukee and was educated in Lutheran schools. He was a pupil of Richard Lorenz and later studied at the Weimar Art School under Max Thedy (1858–1924)….Reimann’s name appears in Milwaukee city directories from 1891 until his death, his occupation being variously given as artist, designer, and craftsman in stained glass. His church decoration firm, the Carl A. Reimann Company, went under during the Depression….Reimann’s son, who spelled his name Carl Ryman, was a cartoonist and gag writer living in California.
The 1905 Wisconsin state census recorded Ryman and his parents in Milwaukee. 

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Ryman, his parents and brother, George, lived at 844 Fourth Street in Milwaukee. Ryman’s father was producing art glass works.

The Milwaukee Journal, November 3, 1949, profiled Ryman and said he attended a Lutheran parochial school where he  was “drawing comics for the other kids in exchange for school supplies and candy.” He went to the Lutheran high school and “graduated from Northwestern college, Watertown, where he was welterweight boxing champion and a top swimmer.”

On September 11, 1918, Ryman’s father signed his World War I draft card which had his address as 914 Island Avenue, Milwaukee.

The 1920 census said Ryman was a Milwaukee resident at 168 Wright Street. The Journal said Ryman worked for his father as a stained glass artist and salesman. They also raised dogs. 

Ryman was married with three children in the 1930 census, which said Ryman was 21 years old when he married Edna. The family resided in Milwaukee at 1679 4th Street. Ryman was a designer of art glass. The 1933 Milwaukee city directory listed designer Ryman at 116 East Wright Street. He was a painter, at the same address, in the 1936 directory. The Great Depression ended his father’s stained glass business. 

According to the 1940 census, Ryman’s widow mother was the head of the household which was in Milwaukee at 116 East Wright Street. Ryman was the proprietor and designer of a stained glass studio. He had attended college for three years. 

The Journal said Ryman had been a taxicab driver, brewery worker, swimming pool attendant, tea salesman and gag writer. 

On February 14, 1942, Ryman signed his World War II draft card. HIs description was six feet, 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. According to the Journal, Ryman was rejected for military service, and “worked as an inspector in a defense plant until 1944.”

The Journal said Ryman had a chronic throat ailment and sinus trouble, causing him to experience bouts with pneumonia. In 1944 he moved to Los Angeles, California, where he was, at different times, a stained glass worker and caretaker of a park. Ryman’s 1948 voter registration, at, said he was a Democrat who lived at 7015 St. Estaban Street in Los Angeles.

According to American Newspaper Comics (2012) Ryman produced the strip, Alfred, for the McClure Syndicate. Alfred debuted October 17, 1949 and ended in 1954. The Alfred character was created by Foster Humfreville who produced the panel, which was published in Collier’s magazine, beginning in 1941. Editor & Publisher, October 1, 1949, explained how Humfreville and Ryman produced Alfred
The gag-a-day strip ... is the outgrowth of a Collier’s panel drawn by Foster Humphreyville [sic] with Carl Ryman supplying the gags. Mr. Humphreyville relinquished the character to Gag Man Ryman and trained another artist who will draw the strip under Mr. Ryman’s direction. 
After leaving Alfred, Humfreville found work in advertising and the aerospace industry. 

Ryman was selling Alfred original art in Writer’s Digest, January 1953. 
“Alfred” Comic Strips. Genuine Originals of Nationally Syndicated Feature. $2. Three for $5. Carl Ryman, 1012 2nd St., Santa Monica, Calif.
The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 5, Parts 7–11A, Number 1, Works of Art, etc., January–June 1951, listed three cartoon characters by Ryman. The following year, Ryman and his wife, Edna, received copyrights on two cartoon characters

Ryman illustrated a BarcaLounger advertisement in the December 1952 issue of Esquire.

According to Ryman’s California voter registrations, he was a Republican who lived in Los Angeles at 1311-C 23rd Street in 1950, 1952. Santa Monica, California city directories, from 1952 to 1954, listed Ryman as a cartoonist who lived in the Fairmont Apartments at 1012 2nd Street, apartment 5. The 1958 directory said Ryman was a salesman with the Trans-Western Land & Investment Company in Los Angeles. In 1962, Republican Ryman was a Joshua Tree, California resident on Sunny Vista Road. 

The Journal, July 24, 1963, reported the passing of Ryman’s mother and said in part: 
…Mrs. Reimann, the former Sarah Geiger, died Monday of a heart attack at St. Mary’s hospital. She lived at 116 E. Wright st.

Her husband, who died in 1938, operated the Carl A. Reimann Co., which specialized in church decoration. Their son, Carl, jr., Joshua Tree, Calif., is a comic strip artist. His strip, “Alfred.” formerly appeared in The Milwaukee Journal Green Sheet….
Ryman passed away September 23, 1963, in San Bernardino County, according to the California Death Index. He was laid to rest at Westminster Memorial Park


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