Saturday, August 06, 2022


Herriman Saturday: April 16 1910


April 16 1910 -- Sam Langford and Jim Barry met in the ring again, and again, Mister Barry became closely and painfully acquainted with the business end of Mr. Langford's gloves. One hopes that Jim Barry was at least well-paid to take these repeated drubbings.


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Friday, August 05, 2022


Obscurities of the Day: Woman's First Thought is Man and In Darktown


Here are a pair of obscurities I've been meaning to post for years and years, hoping for some help on an IDing question.

In Darktown ran sporadically in the New York Evening World from September 12 to December 29 1904*, usually as a panel, sometimes as a strip. It's your typical distasteful stereotyping of blacks, the sort of thing that was quite commonplace in papers of the era. The art on this feature, though, has a certain quality that impresses me. The series was signed with the name "Dalg".

Also by "Dalg", Woman's First Thought is Man ran six times in the period January 13 to March 13 1905 in the same paper. It's nothing greatly memorable as a series -- just strips about how women, supposedly supportive of their men, can be anything but. Been done many times before and many times since. This strip, despite the less than original hook, is written and drawn with an appealing style as well. 

These are two of a total of three series, all from late 1904 to mid-1905, carrying the signature "Dalg" (or is it "Salg"?). There are plenty of aspiring cartoonists that came and went not having left us their full names, but in this case, the guy was actually pretty good, and I'd love to credit his full name.

Of "Dalg"s three series, these two were for the New York Evening World, and one was for the Evening Telegram, so he was obviously a New Yorker shopping his wares around. Beyond that I can offer no clues. I can find a few people with the surname Dalgleish popping up in New York City papers at the right time, but none is identified as an artist. 


* There was one additional panel using this title, run on January 2 1905, by R.E. Leppert. Since the series does not use continuing characters but just a common theme, hard to say if Leppert piggybacked on the series or just happened to use the same title.


Looking at that signature on certain DARKTOWN strips (see link) I'm thinking the initial letter might even be a "P."
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Wednesday, August 03, 2022


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ethel Hays

Ethel Maude Hays was born on March 12 or 13, 1892, in Billings, Montana. The Montana Birth Record, at, had 12 as the birth day. The Social Security Death Index said 13. Hays’ parents were George Miller Hays and Jennie Jones, who married on November 19, 1886 in Minnesota.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Hays was the third of four siblings. The family of six plus a servant resided in Helena, Montana at 916 Eight Avenue. Hays’ father was employed at the Department of State Treasury. At some point the family moved to Billings.

During 1908, Hays was mentioned in the Billings Gazette newspaper. 

The Hays family were Billings residents, at 421 Terry Avenue, in the 1910 census. Hays’ father was a bank cashier.

On Yellowstone Valley Woman, Virginia Bryan wrote 
Ethel had two aunts who recognized and nurtured her artistic talent. In 1911, they encouraged Ethel to study at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design. Once there, Ethel received a scholarship to the Art Students League of New York. 
Hays was mentioned three times in one sentence of The Graphic, June 21, 1913: 
In the last week two leading art schools in Los Angeles have been holding exhibitions of pupils’ work. The College of Fine Arts, U. S. C., held its annual display Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and the Los Angeles Schoo! of Art and Design, at Sixth and Alvarado, exhibited Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The work of students at the School of Art and Design is always of interest and while the collection this year is not so large as usual I am inclined to think that it is selected with great care and shows a healthy progress in artistic perception, The studies all show earnest, painstaking effort. The aim of the school is the practical as well as the beautiful and the instructors strive to point out the great truth that the real can never be successfully divorced from the ideal. The classes have been particularly successful in their work in design and many strong, well-considered plates are shown. Honor students in various branches are as follows: oil painting, S. Sasaki, Y. Hiaao, Miss F. Schilling, and Mrs. E. Kohler; drawing, Mrs. Grace B. Stuvert, S. Ito, and W. Crawford; pen and ink, Ethel Hays; design, Vera Barrett; anatomy, Ethel Hays; normal work, Mrs. Robbins; perspective, Ethel Hays.
The June 20, 1914 issue of The Graphic said 
Careful selection and artistic arrangement characterize the annual exhibition of pupils’ work at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design, which was held Friday and Saturday of last week. Many well-considered studies from life were shown which reflected much credit on pupils and teachers alike. The work of two graduates who will go abroad to seek careers deserves special mention. The oil canvases by Seijiro Sasaki have the touch of the professional and indeed are worthy to be hung in any art collection. The pen-and-ink illustrations by Ethel Maude Hays are excellent and no better work along this line is being done in the west today.
American Art News, June 13, 1914, also mentioned Hays.
The Los Angeles School of Art and Design held its 27th Annual Reception and Exhibition June 12–13. The standard of the students’ work was exceptionally high, showing a training which is fundamentally strong and thorough as evidenced in the variety of work shown in life, composition, illustration, landscape, modeling, anatomy, perspectives and the department of Normal Art. The work of S. Sasaki in painting, Ethel Hays in illustration, May Mott-Smith and Ora Pierce in sculpture, call for special commendation. S. Sasaki has been awarded a scholarship. Hamilton A. Wolf, of New York City, is one of the faculty of this school.
Hays’ life drawings were included in The Art Students’ League of New York Season 1918–1919

The New Britain Herald (Connecticut), May 13, 1914, was one of many newspapers that published the story about Hays the “Perfect Woman”
The perfect woman, the American Venus, has been found. The discoverer is Hamilton Wolf, a New York artist and son of a New York artist, Henry Wolf. The American Venus is Miss Ethel Hays, the daughter of a Billings banker, and only three years out of school. She also is an artist with dreams of a career. Her discoverer is putting her on canvas and the painting is to be exhibited in the Paris Salon if the genius of the enthusiastic painter can win a place in the line.

Hamilton Wolf is living in Los Angeles just now, and here is his critical judgment of the American Venus:

“Every line, from the graceful wave of her hair to the curve of her ankle, is perfect. The broad shoulder, the broad, undulating waist, the long lines of arm and leg, all mark her as the prototype of the woman who posed for the Venus de Milo.”

Miss Hays was graduated from the Billings high school three years ago. She is now twenty-one years old, determined to make a name for herself. While in school she was the mainstay of the school publication's art department, and after graduating followed the advice of friends who saw possibilities in her work and decided on a career of art. As the scene of her work she selected Los Angeles.

That is how she became acquainted with Hamilton Wolf, how she became his pupil, and later his model.

Like other artists, Wolf long had cherished an ambition to find and paint the perfect woman. It was to be his masterpiece. Where was she to be found?

Then, one day, she came and work on “Woman” was begun. The artist settled down to a long grind, and in a few weeks or months, according as his temperament and physical power permit, “Woman” will be on her way to Paris.

“I hope to paint a picture which, before it is sent to the salon, will make our naturally beauty loving people realize how far from the great ideals of the masters they have strayed,” says the sanguine artist. “I have drawn Miss Hays from every angle in merciless black and white—and she stands the test.”

But Miss Hays herself takes her beauty less seriously than Wolf, and seems to regard the fact that she is hailed as the one perfect woman of less consequence than her work and progress in her chosen field.

“I feel art is the greatest of all things,” she wrote in a recent letter to a friend. “I believe an artist is at once the happiest and unhappiest person in the world. The happiness comes from the knowledge and indulgence of a creative power, and the unhappiness from knowing that absolute perfection is never attained.”

“Miss Hays might almost be called a genius,” declares Wolf. “She has everything at her command—love of beauty, humor and the quality of taking definite pains, which Carlyle says is genius. She can sketch for hours in a dusty studio, depicting the streams and hills of nature’s great outdoors; she can trace with wonderful exactness the lines of the human body, and can turn from that to evolve a cartoon possessing an instantaneous appeal.”

“Woman,” with which Wolf hopes to capture Le Grand Prix at the Paris Salon, will represent the utmost in femininity, according to its creator. Although idealistic in every line, it will but portray the perfection of Miss Hays.

“Miss Hays's body is almost inconceivably perfect in construction,” says Wolf. “It is just eight times the height of her head, her closely and delicately modeled ears are exactly even with the top and bottom of her nose, her neck is just the right proportion—every feature is in perfect harmony. Look at the space between her eyes—equal to the breadth of one eye! The fine line of her brows, the masculine strength of her chin, feminized by the soft moulding, the finely chiseled nostrils and the swelling of the throat recall visions of marbles seen in the great museums and galleries o the continent.

“Her superb physical condition can be attributed largely to the exercise she has taken in the bracing mountain air of Montana. She walked, where we of the more crowded centers ride. People today do not walk enough—even the doctor, preacher of health, if he has three blocks to go takes a car or cranks up his machine. We ride, ride, all the time, and some day we'll lose the use of our legs, like a fish in the waters of a cave loses its eyesight. Miss Hays walked, and as a result her body is absolutely symmetrical, strongly but gracefully muscled and suffused with the glow of perfect health.”

No bothersome rules of diet worry Miss Hays. She eats what she likes, in moderation—she has never followed any complex rule of diet, exercise or "beauty" culture. Early in life it was impressed on her that health is largely a matter of appetite, and about the same time her father impressed the value of moderation.

“These,” she says, "have been my governing rules—eat and exercise in moderation. I take long walks and practice deep breathing, but I believe every woman who has regard for her health now does that.”

Wolf went to Los Angeles about a year ago and since then has painted portraits of many prominent Los Angeles citizens.

Miss Hays will finish her present course next June. Later she will go east for a year’s work in New York and Boston before continuing her studies in Europe. 

Miss Hays is the daughter of George M. Hays, assistant state treasurer of Montana from 1897 to 1901 and state treasurer from 1902 to 1905.
According to the 1920 census, commercial artist Hays was counted in her parents’ household. They lived in Billings at 607 31st Street North. Hays’ father was a bank vice-president. 

Hays was a guest at West Point’s Easter hop according to the Army and Navy Journal, April 6, 1918. 
The Easter hop was especially enjoyed because there have been so many weeks without any social pleasures whatever during the long quarantine. The beautiful weather over the weekend also added materially to the enjoyment of the many weekend guests who were here. The hotel was crowded, and there were many guests visiting officers’ families. ...

... Major and Mrs. Matheson’s guests for the hop and week-end were Miss Ethel Hays, of New York, and Miss Annabel Arnott, of the National Cathedral School at Washington; Miss Dorothy Chapple, who is a student at the same school and is spending her Easter vacation with Major and Mrs. Matheson. ...
Hays enlisted in the Army on January 29, 1919 and was discharged on May 27, 1920, according to her veteran’s file which was transcribed at The History of the World War Reconstruction Aides (1933) stated specific dates of Hays’ service. 
Served at Camp Lewis, January 1919 to July 1919. Fitsimmons, July 1919 to May 1920. Johnson City, Tenn., November 1921 to June 1923. Dayton, Ohio, October 1924 to November 1924. 
The New Britain Herald, August 1, 1928, explained how Hays served and later drawn into newspaper work. 
... Then the war came. Ethel had suspected for a long time that there was something bigger in the world than painting blue iris in crystal bowls, and now she knew. She dropped her paint brushes, enrolled in a Red Cross course; passed her examinations, obtained her passport, and was all set for Europe. She went home to tell the folks good-bye. While home she saw a newspaper pica for art instructors for government hospitals.

It wasn’t because Ethel feared mal de mer, but because she saw here a chance to help win the war and also stay right on in her own field that she switched from Red Crossing to art instructor for Uncle Sam.

The Chuckle Girl

Then began her six years of work as aide to Uncle Sam. They called these girls who taught the soul-sick body-sick veterans how to draw and who made funny cartoon posters for hospital wards, “Uncle Sam’s Chuckle Girls.” And Ethel Hays’ “Chuckle Girl” was most famous of all. At Camp Lewis and government hospitals at Denver, Johnson City, Tenn., and Dayton, O., she taught and entertained sick soldier boys. And by the time this work was ended she knew without a doubt that she had found her line funny pen and ink drawings, featuring the modern American girl. Meanwhile she took a correspondence course in drawing. [Who's Who in Northwest Art (1941) said Hays took the Landon Course in cartooning.] 

The director of this correspondence art school knew the editor of The Cleveland Press. He showed some of Ethel’s drawings to him. Within an hour the editor had talked with Miss Hays on the phone at the government hospital in Dayton, where she was finishing up her war work, and asked her how soon she could begin work with The Press.

Months afterward Ethel confessed that she thought she was being offered a lay-but job, meaning a touching up of photographs and a making of borders for them.

But she came. Within a week the whole city knew Ethel. She and a girl reporter did a picture feature stunt a day. They interviewed and a “drew” every celebrity who came to town. They climbed church steeples and went down in diving suits. They rode speed boats and broke ice in the lake in order to go in swimming. Ethel’s girl drawings were a city fixture.

NEA Service realized that here was something more than a local stunt. This girl artist, they knew, had a universal understanding of human nature, its griefs and joys, its high spot’s and low spots, which is why today Ethel’s pictures, her “Flapper Fanny” and her larger drawing or some phase of human experience at its funniest, and her gorgeous color Sunday magazine pages are seen by millions of people daily.
Another version of Hays’ service was featured in Editor & Publisher, October 4, 1924. 

The Star-Tribune (Minneapolis, Minnesota), December 29, 1925, reported Hays’ marriage. 
Plymouth Congregational church was the scene yesterday of a very quiet wedding when Miss Ethel Maude Hayes [sic] of Cleveland, Ohio, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George M. Hayes of Billings, Mont., and sister of Mr. George M. Hayes, Jr., 3214 Colfax avenue south, became the bride of Mr. William Sims [sic], of Kansas City. The Rev. Harry P. Dewey read the service, with only close friends and relatives present. Evergreens, palms and ferns decorated the chancel of the church for the ceremony. The bride, who was given in marriage by her brother, Mr. George M. Hayes, Jr., wore a straight line gown of brown chiffon velvet with satin to match. She carried an arm bouquet of orchids. Mr. Sims, who met his bride at the altar, was unattended. Mr. and Mrs. Sims left immediately after the ceremony for Kansas City where they will make their home. Sunday evening, Mr. and Mrs. Hayes entertained with a bridal dinner at the University club for the young couple. 
This was the second marriage for Hays’ husband who had married Ida Marie Walbert (1893–1968) on July 30, 1913 in Jackson County, Missouri. On their son’s 1916 birth certificate was Ida’s occupation, artist retoucher. Simms’ World War I draft card said he had two children. In the 1920 census, he was a “widower”.

Editor & Publisher, October 1, 1927, reported Hays’ contract with NEA. 
Ethel Hays, artist, has signed a new long term contract with NEA Service, Inc. In addition to continuing her Flapper Fannies” and “Ethel” cartoons, she will also draw a cover each week for the forthcoming NEA Sunday magazine. A little less than three years ago, Miss Hays became connected with NEA. Previously she had been an artist on the Cleveland Press.
The Tarrytown Daily News (New York), May 23, 1928, published the Hays profile, “The Artist Who Made the Flapper Famous”. 

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Hays produced Flapper Fanny from January 26, 1925 to March 20, 1930; the series was continued by continued by Gladys Parker and Sylvia Sneidman. Ethel ran from March 5, 1925 to 1934. Hays’ third and last NEA series was Marianne starting around February 1936 to December 26, 1937. The series was handed over to Virginia Krausmann. For the Christian Science Monitor, Hays drew Manly Manners which was written by Ruth Crowther. The series debuted November 8, 1938 and ended October 5, 1940.

Image found in 2014, publication date not stated

During the 1930s Hays illustrated several short stories published in Sunday newspapers. 

The 1930 census said Hays, her husband, stepson William, daughters Barbara and Dorothy, and a nurse were living in Kansas City, Missouri at 5418 Westover Road. Hays’ husband was an insurance underwriter. 

The address was the same in the 1940 census which said commercial artist Hays had four years of college. 

By 1940 Hays left syndicated work and turned to illustrating children’s books for Saalfield and other publishers. Her books include Rumpelstiltskin (1938); The Three Bears (1938); ABC Book (1940); Baby’s Book (1940); Biggest and Best Coloring Book (1940); My Tracing and Coloring Book (1940); Mother Goose (1941); The Night Before Christmas (1941); Little Black Sambo (1942); The Little Red Hen (1942); The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1942); The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse (1942); The Goody-Good Book of Stories (1943); Quack, Quack (1943); Red, Yellow, Blue and Green (1943); Animal Book to Color (1944); Bob and Betty Paper Dolls (1945); Dot Book (and Henry Muheim, 1945); Baby’s Treasure Book of Words (1946); The Cat That Would Be King (1946); Cleety the Clown’s Coloring Book (and Henry Muheim, 1946); Raggedy Ann’s Own Coloring Book (1946); Poco and the Parrot (1947); Raggedy Ann’s Mystery (1947); Raggedy Ann at the End of the Rainbow (1947); Raggedy Ann and the Slippery Slide (1947); Puzzle Pages, Book 1 (1948); ABC Coloring Book (1952); Little Bear’s Coloring Book (1954); and Fun with Phonics (1961)

In The Pictus Orbis Sambo (1998), Phyllis Settecase Barton said
… Mary Young, author of Paper Dolls and Their Artists (1975), told the author that Ethel said to her during a 1970s telephone interview: “The favorite story that I illustrated was The Cat That Would Be King.” 
Around 1948 Hays and her husband moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Their address in the 1950 census was 444 East Coronado Road. They were listed in the 1949 and 1951 city directories. The 1952 directory is not available but they were Santa Fe residents that year according to the Kansas City Star which reported the marriage of their daughter, Dorothy. Hays was not in the 1953 directory.

In the mid-1960s Hays and her husband moved to Mesa, Arizona. The Arizona Republic (Phoenix, Arizona), July 2, 1972, published his obituary. 
Mesa—Mr. William C. Simms, 80, a retired insurance man who came to Mesa seven years ago from Santa Fe, died Friday at Mesa Lutheran Hospital. 

Mr. Simms. 5354 E. Dodge, was born in Kansas City, Kan. He was a World War I Army veteran and a Mason and Shriner. 

Survivors include his wife, Ethel, of Mesa; two sons, William and Preston, both of Santa Fe: two daughters, Mrs. William Spink of Cos Cob, Conn., and Mrs. Del Kath of Van Nuys, Calif.; a sister. Mrs. Huldah Simms of Phoenix, and another sister out of state; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 

Services will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow at M. L. Gibbons Mortuary, 9702 E. Apache Trail. Mesa. Private cremation will follow. 
Hays passed away on March 19, 1989, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An obituary appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican, March 21, 1989. 
Simms, Ethel Hays, 67—A resident of Santa Fe, passed away Sunday morning, March 19th at her home. She was born March 13, 1893 at Billings, Montana, the daughter of George and Jennie Hays. She trained at the Art Students League in New York, followed by a life long career in commercial art and as a syndicated newspaper artist for Hearst Publications.

During the 1920s she illustrated the “Flapper Fanny” cartoon series. Originally living in Kansas City, Missouri, she moved to Santa Fe in 1948. During her retirement years she painted numerous portraits of Indians of the Southwest. She was active in the Santa Fe Altrusa Club and served for several years as a volunteer at the old St. Vincent’s Hospital. She was preceded in death by her husband, William Coy Simms in 1972. 

Survivors include her two sons: Preston W. Simms and wife Marion of Santa Fe, and William C. Simms and wife Helen of Templeton, California; two daughters: Barbara Simms Spink and husband Bill of Santa Fe, and Dorothy Simms Kath and husband Delbert of Megilto, California; and 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. Cremation taken place in Santa Fe and a Memorial Service and burial will take place at a later date in Billings, Montana. Arrangements an under the direction of McGee Memorial Chapel, 1320 Luisa, 963-9151.
Hays was laid to rest at Mountview Cemetery

Further Reading
Hogan’s Alley, Ethel Hays, Pioneering Female Cartoonist
The Comics Journal, The Flapper Queens: Women Cartoonists of the Jazz Age


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Monday, August 01, 2022


Obscurity of the Day: The Flapdoodles


Per Ruse, who created comics under the Americanized pen name Pete Hansen, is one of my guilty pleasures. Even in the 1970s, when male bigotry was still a popular sport, I imagine even a chauvinist pig like Bobby Riggs would have flinched a little at Hansen's horribly sexist comic strip about a dippy blonde bombshell secretary, Lolly. But Lolly ran in my hometown paper, and I have to admit, though it sometimes made me almost as uncomfortable as Andy Capp's wife-beating episodes, something about the art and style was so darn appealing that I read it religiously every day. 

The same would not have been true of Flapdoodles, Hansen's first comic strip. The art style is already coming into focus, but the crushing boredom of domineering wife gags practically every day, over and over and over ... my gosh, doesn't Bringing Up Father pretty much have that subject sewed up? As best I can tell from the relatively small number of Flapdoodles strips I was able to force myself to read, this seems to be about the sum total of the strip.

Evidently the King Features salesmen knew dirty secrets about enough editors to nudge this stinker over the brink as a launchable feature. The title was originally going to be The Noodles, but was changed shortly before the launch to Flapdoodles. The launch was supposed to have been on September 12 1949*, but perhaps due to the name change, it was pushed back to October 10 1949**. It was a daily-only strip, giving readers a well-deserved day off from it on Sundays.

King Features is notorious for sticking with a strip to the bitter end, and they stuck by Flapdoodles for four years, which may qualify the syndicate editor for sainthood. The strip was finally put out of its misery on September 12 1953***. Less than a year later Hansen would launch the much more successful Lolly through a different syndicate.


* Source: Editor & Publisher, 8/27/1949.

**Source: Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph

*** Source: Ottawa Evening Citrizen



Your line about launching the feature made me laugh a lot harder than any of these strips did!
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Sunday, July 31, 2022


Wish You Were Here, from Phil May


Davidson Brothers, an English firm, put out a memorial series of postcards featuring works by the late great Phil May. The reverse says this is series #6076, but that number actually appears to be a code for this particular card in the series. 

This card was posted to a recipient in the town of Abertilly, Wales, by someone who was, based on the message, regularly trading postcards with a friend. Abertilly is today a village of about 4,000 residents, but back when this was posted (apparently around 1907) it would have been a booming mining town of 20,000 or more.


Hello Allan-
Phil May was a very highly regarded cartoonist in late Victorian times. I have a circa 1898 deck of cards for a Yellow Kid game of some kind. They all depict him going through Europe, and one has the Kid visiting Phil May, happily sitting in his lap as May tells him a story.
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