Saturday, January 01, 2022


Herriman Saturday: March 9 1910

 March 9 1910 -- Herriman manages to hit a racist trifecta in this strip about black boxers contending for championships:

1. A particularly offensive racial slur in the headline.

2. An image of Jeff Johnson running away with a white woman ... we know what that's all about.

3. A possible new coinage for a racial slur, which actually seems sort of complimentary -- 'maduros' likens Jack Johnson to strong cigars with dark wrappers.


Four, including "dinge".

I have a hard time understanding how Herriman, a mulatto (though closeted), who no doubt knew many black people when growing up in New Orleans, was so detached from the effects of these kind of offensive stereotypes, even allowing that cartoonists of his circle were pretty uninhibited.
I think Herriman's racism has the same explanation as anti-Semites who turn out to have Jewish ancestry, or homophobes who are gay. As Shakespeare said, some people "protest too much."
That should say "Jack Johnson" in reference to the black character in the last panel. "Jeff" refers to the white boxer James Jeffries who was going to face Jack Johnson for the championship.
Oops, flying fingers betrayed me. Fixed.
In response to Herriman I would say your comment says more about our time than Herriman's. I fully agree these stereotypes are offensive now and have been for a long time. But I am not completely sure if they were seen as part of the oppressive culture by the oppressed. It may be that they can only hurt f you are aware of the fact that they were hurtful. Implying that this is similar to Jewish anti-semites or gay homophobes is taking our view into the minds of people 120 years ago.

It's, I think, very clear that he internalized the racist beliefs of the era. Exactly how he justified it to himself is impossible to say. The previous comment is a fair observation in that many people do not see themselves as being "in charge" so to speak, at all capable, of changing culturally embedded racial stereotypes like these. Or even necessarily view them under the same lens of 'cultural influences' that we do today. Whatever the case - whether he saw it as an arena to justify personal beliefs, or to publicly assert his image - he did engage in them for the sake of material benefit.
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Friday, December 31, 2021


Obscurity of the Day: Along Our Street


The Columbus Dispatch is well-appreciated by serious cartooning fans for its deep roster of great ink-slingers -- Billy Ireland, Dudley Fisher, Ray Evans, Harry Keys and, oh, who was that other guy ... oh yeah, Milt Caniff. 

But these are only the cartoonists who made a lasting impression. The Dispatch editors really seemed to have a deep abiding love for cartooning, and there are others who were invited to take a stab at it for the paper. One of those was Richard Brand, who created a short-lived weekly panel of vignettes about autos, public transportation, commuting, well, basically everything that happens Along Our Street.  The cartooning itself was a little rough, but I think Brand's perceptive observational gags work quite well for the feature, not counting the mushmouth black stereotypes.

Along Our Street began on September 12 1926, and used that title through October 3, then changed to using different titles each week. The feature ran until December 5 and was seen no more. Brand may have considered cartooning pretty much just a hobby, because he was also employed as a reporter on the Dispatch, and continued in that capacity for various papers for the rest of his working life.  His obituary didn't bother to mention his apparently short foray into the graphic end of newspapering.

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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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Monday, December 27, 2021


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Foster Humfreville

D. Foster Humfreville was born on March 1, 1902, in  St. Joseph, Missouri, according to his World War II draft card, Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast (1949), and Who’s Who in the West (1954). His parents were Daniel Louis Humfreville and Helen Boldt Medsker. 

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census recorded Humfreville as the oldest of three brothers. Their father was a physician who had remarried to Josephine Hardesty. The household included Josephine’s sister and a servant. They lived on Ashland in St. Joseph. 

In the 1920 census, Humfreville, his three brothers and parents were Los Angeles, California residents at 5357 Loma Linda Avenue. 

Humfreville was listed in Pasadena, California city directories from 1923 to 1928. His address was 1055 Laguna Road. 

Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast said Humfreville was a student at the University of California. He was an undergraduate in the university’s Catalogue of Officers and Students 1923–24. His photograph appeared in the 1924 yearbook, Blue & Gold

According to Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast, Humfreville attended the Otis Art Institute, in Los Angeles, from 1925 to 1926, and the California Art Institute in 1927. 

A passenger list at said Humfreville sailed from the Panama Canal on February 15, 1928 and arrived in New York on February 22. 

Who’s Who on the Pacific Coast said Humfreville, from 1928 to 1940, specialized in decorative murals; produced sculptures at the New York World’s Fair, the Museum of Science and Industry, and Rockefeller Center. He began his freelance cartooning career in 1941 which included the creation of Alfred for Collier’s Magazine

For the Works Progress Administration, Humfreville created the 1936 poster “Shame May Be Fatal”. 

The 1940 census listed commercial artist Humfreville in Manhattan on West 99th Street. In 1939 he earned nine-hundred dollars. 

Freelance cartoonist Humfreville signed his World War II draft card on February 16, 1942. His address was 318 West 102nd Street in Manhattan. In 1942 that address was crossed out and replaced with 1055 Laguna Road, Pasadena, California. Later, the street address was updated to 506 Lake View Road. Humfreville’s description was six feet two inches, 145 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

In 1944, the R. M. McBride & Company, published a collection of Hunfreville’s Alfred cartoons called Alfred, Ahoy! A profile appeared on the back of the dust jacket. 
Born in St. Joseph, Mo., Foster Humfreville blossomed in Hollywood and Pasadena, where he was not, he admits, a genius at school, having attended fifteen and having been graduated from none, chiefly because his principal interest was in collecting snakes and lizards.

His first job was in a Los Angeles bank, which he left at the end of two years to attend art school. Later he migrated to New York to become an artist via sculpture, painting, drawing, and designing museum displays. However, having doodled with cartoons and caricatures since childhood, our subject naturally would up as a comic man. In 1941 he sold his first gag to Collier’s and has drawn for that publication exclusively ever since.

In the summer of 1942 the Foster father of Alfred returned to California but continued to entertain Collier's readers with Alfred's antics. 

Humfreville says he knows very little about the Navy and that used to get his ideas and backgrounds by talking to sailors about ships and Navy life. As the war progressed, this proved to be more and more embarrassing, and he has had to curb his queries in order to prevent landing in the hands of certain Federal officials.

Like Alfred, Mr. Humfreville has never been married. “Who would have us?’ He asks. Wistfully, it seems.
The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 1, Books, 1944, New Series, Volume 44, Number 4, said Humfreville held the copyright to the book. 

In late 1948 or early 1949 Alfred stopped appearing in Collier’sAmerican Newspaper Comics (2012) said Alfred was continued as a strip by the McClure Syndicate, who hired Carl Ryman to produce it. The strip began on October 17, 1949. In 1944, Ryman moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Los Angeles, California. Ryman met Humfreville and assisted him on Alfred. 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. In 1949 and 1950, Humfreville illustrated a number of Haber Hinges advertisements. Who’s Who in the West said Humfreville was an illustrator for the Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, in California, since 1953. His home address was 301 South Kenmore Avenue, Los Angeles.

The 1963 Glendale, California city directory listed “Humfreyville” and his wife, Eleanor, at 1647 Fernbrook Place. He was employed at Rocketdyne. The Rocketdyne Engineering Personnel Assignment List, January 1965, said Humfreville was in Illustrations, Department 086, Group 309, Engineering Production Support. (See PDF page 70

Humfreville passed away on November 7, 1971, in Riverside, California. He was laid to rest at Riverside Cemetery

Further Reading and Viewing
Naval Historical Foundation: Alfred, Ahoy! Foster Humfreville and His Cryptic Cartoons of World War II 
The Fabulous Fifties: Silent Cameo 


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Sunday, December 26, 2021


Wish You Were Here, from Margaret G. Hays


Here's a nice Christmas-themed card from Margaret G. Hays. This card is copyright 1908 by the Rose Company, which is the only company for which I've seen her produce cards.


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