Ink-Slinger Profiles: T.S. Sullivant

Thomas Starling Sullivant was born in Columbus, Ohio on November 4, 1854, according to a passport application issued on July 7, 1873, and the book, 200 Years of American Illustration (1977). In the 1860 U.S. Federal Census he was the third of four children born to William and Caroline. They lived in Columbus, Ohio. Ten years later the family remained in Columbus. He was the third of seven children. His father was wealthy, owning real estate valued at $200,000 and a personal estate of $40,000. The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000 said Sullivant studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He has not been found in the 1880 census.

Godey’s Magazine, September 1897, published V. Robard’s profile, “The Caricatures of T.S. Sullivant”; it can be read here. Robard wrote,

…Mr. Sullivant left Columbus at the age of eighteen and lived for several years in Europe, returning finally to Philadelphia. Though he had always drawn more or less for his own amusement, he never took his art seriously until he reached the age of thirty-three, when, after a comparatively brief study at the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts [sic] in 1887, he apprenticed himself to E.B. Bensell, an illustrator of the old school, who drew on the woodblock.

In the 1900 census Sullivant was married with two children. They lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 3820 Spruce Street. He and Agnes had been married 17 years. His occupation was illustrator. A selection of his editorial cartoons can be viewed here and here.

Life Magazine, 12/26/1901

In the following census the family of five lived in Plainfield, New Jersey at 978 Park Avenue. Sullivant was a newspaper cartoonist. Major Rupert Hughes wrote an article about people who overcame handicaps; it was published in the Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama) on October 8, 1918. He wrote this about Sullivant:

…The American cartoonist, T.S. Sullivant, who has drawn so much laughter from the readers of Life, lost the use of his right hand, too. He learned to draw with his left and his followers never knew the difference.

Sullivant, his wife and oldest daughter returned to Philadelphia, at 2117 Delaney Street, according to the 1920 census. He was a magazine artist. He passed away on August 7, 1926. The New York Times published the Associated Press story on August 9.

Thomas S. Sullivant.

Illustrator, Formerly on the Staff of Life, Dies at 71 Years

Jamestown, R.I., Aug. 8 (AP).—Thomas Starling Sullivant of Philadelphia, until his retirement one of the oldest illustrators on the staff of Life, died at Maplewood Sanatorium here last night, in his seventy-second [sic] year. He had been spending the Summer in Jamestown with his wife and became ill three weeks ago.

Mrs. Sullivant was with her husband at the end, and their son, A.V.R. Sullivant, arrived from New York today. The body will be taken to Philadelphia for burial.

News of Yore 1934: Chic Jackson Dies Suddenly

Chic Jackson, Cartoonist, Is Heart Victim

Creator of “Bean Family” Is Fatally Stricken When Leaving Office.

Indianapolis, June 3—(AP)—Chic Jackson, who created “The Bean Family,” cartoon strip for the Indianapolis Star nineteen years ago, died suddenly today. He was 57 years old.

He was stricken with a heart attack a few feet from his office door as he left his office this afternoon, and died a few minutes later.

The activities of the “Beans” had spread in recent years to other middle western and eastern newspaper comic pages, but they remained a typically Hoosier family. One feature of the strip drew especial notice—the characters grew older as the years passed. “Woodrow Bean,” a foundling on the Bean doorstep in 1914, now is a freshman in college.

Chic Jackson was born Dec. 31, 1876, in Muncie, Ind., where he attended school and was employed on the Muncie News when it was absorbed by the Muncie Star.

There he met Margaret Wagner of Springport, also employed on the newspaper, and they married on 1902. He was an illustrator and front page cartoonist.

Jackson and his bride went to Chicago, where he studied at the art institute, and then came to Indianapolis in 1907 to become artist on the Star. At first he did Sunday feature illustrating, later developing the Bean family.

Mrs. Jackson survives, with two sons, William Charles Jackson of Indianapolis, and Richard Wagner Jackson of South Bend. Two brothers are Dr. Frank Jackson and Warren Jackson, both of Muncie.

Funeral arrangements had not been complete tonight.

Kokomo Tribune (Indiana), June 4, 1934

[According to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Charles Bacon Jackson was the youngest of four sons born to William and Sarah, whose name was not recorded; her name was found in the 1870 census. The Jacksons lived in Muncie, Indiana. He and his father were recorded in the 1900 census; they resided at 1100 East Main Street in Muncie. Jackson married on September 17, 1902 (Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941 at His father passed away on November 20, 1902 (Muncie County Health Office). In 1910, Jackson, his wife and two sons lived in Indianapolis at 924 Hamilton Avenue. His comic strip Roger Bean began in the Indianapolis Star on April 22, 1913. Jackson signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918; this document had his middle name. The family remained in Indianapolis at 3029 Broadway Avenue in the 1920 and 1930 censuses. Lastly, there was a Roger Bean Coffee advertised in the Indianapolis Star.]

Wrigley’s Sunday Comic Strip Ads — Part III

Last batch of Wrigley Sunday comic ads today. First we have a nice jam page, published October 9 1926, with characters from the Katzenjammer Kids, Tillie the Toiler, Boob McNutt, Toots and Casper and Freddie the Sheik.

Next, a strip published November 14 1926 featuring one panel each of (in order) Russ Westover’s Tillie the Toiler, Knerr’s Katzenjammer Kids, Chic Young’s Dumb Dora, Freddie the Sheik by Jack Callahan, Harry Hershfield’s Abie the Agent, and Jimmy Murphy’s Toots and Casper.

Finally, bringing up the rear, we end with Pat Sullivan’s Felix, presumably ghosted, as always, by Otto Messmer. This one was published May 1 1927.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the scans of all these great ads!

Oh, and if you’re wondering what in the world P.K. stands for, it’s Philip Knight Wrigley, son of William Wrigley the gum magnate. All together now …. awww, isn’t that sweet.

Wrigley’s Sunday Comic Strip Ads — Part I

Courtesy of the Cole Johnson archives, we have with us for three days a series of Wrigley’s gum ads penned by the leading cartoonists of King Features. These ran in Sunday comics sections in 1926-27. We begin with the Katzenjammer Kids by H.H. Knerr (originally published March 14 1926) and Barney Google by Billy DeBeck (May 9 1926).

(By the way, I posted last week that Cole was being chased around by a surgeon with a knife. Well, the report is in; Cole was indeed carved up but came through the ordeal and is home again breathing those refreshing old newspaper fumes.)

Herriman Saturday

Sunday, February 16 1908 — The Great White Fleet is underway from it’s last South American port of call, and headed up the coast to California. Every coastal city in California is clamoring to receive the fleet. Despite entreaties to President Roosevelt himself, the fleet will not moor at San Diego but outside the bay at Coronado. Navy officials are too worried that the fleet could be mired in muck in San Diego Bay. Angelenos are readying a big reception for the fleet themselves, though their arrival is still a long ways off.

Obscurity of the Day: Butter & Boop

The late 1960s to mid-70s was a time when ‘relevance’ tried its darnedest to invade the comic strips. Whether advancing a social or political agenda, young cartoonists all seemed to have Something Important to say. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if all these relevant strips had been picked up by papers, it would have been like reading a page of a social studies textbook every day on the comics page. The key, of course, is to get your point across with humor. Doonesbury and Pogo were masterful at combining humor with relevant content, and Wee Pals, appealing to a less sophisticated demographic, got its point across with a smile.

Butter & Boop is an example of a comic strip that tended to forget that nagging problem of being funny. And no wonder — the comic strip was begun under the aegis of Black Light Inc., an inner city arts project that was sponsored by a do-gooder starch magnate (yes, there really is such a thing). The studio began in 1968 with a full complement of budding artists, but most drifted away until there were but two — Louis Slaughter and Edward J. Carr. For reasons that seem a little misty in the retelling, these two guys, who seemed to have basically no interest in comic strips, began producing Butter & Boop. With starch money buoying up the self-syndicated operation and a big-hearted magnate encouraging these guys to “tell it like it is”, a few papers were found to take the daily strip, which first appeared on May 15 1969.

The samples above are from two years into the run, and you’ll have to take my word for it that the quality of the strip had already improved by leaps and bounds. The early stuff is quite militant and pugnacious in its desire to ‘expose’ inner city life to suburban newspaper readers. Although that flavor is still there two years later, Slaughter and Carr were toning it down and trying to entertain a little instead of beating readers over the head.

It was at this point that they were able to interest McNaught Syndicate in distributing the strip. McNaught took over syndication on May 17 1971. Despite the marketing push of a major syndicate, the strip found few new takers. The fact that the strip was still a little on the rough side, and that the similarly themed Wee Pals was in its heyday were the probable obstacles. Butter & Boop was with McNaught for a bit over two years; they seem to have parted ways in August 1973. The creators commented later in a February 1974 Ebony feature article that they didn’t feel the syndicate did enough to market the strip and so they went back to self-syndication.

At that point the strip becomes really hard to find. Reading between the lines of the Ebony article the strip may have been down to two clients, the Kansas City Star and the Nashville Tennessean, neither of which I’ve had an opportunity to check. In the Ebony article, the creators seem to be saying that self-syndication was too much of a drain on their time and that if a syndicate couldn’t be found then Butter & Boop was not going to continue much longer. The last indication I find that it was running is a citation that the co-creators got a Lord Calvert Whiskey Men of Distinction award in 1975.

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Jerry Stewart

Gerald W. “Jerry” Stewart was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on May 18, 1923, according to the Social Security Death Index and an obituary in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel (Indiana) on October 30, 1995, which said “he moved to Fort Wayne one year later.”

In the 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Stewart was the oldest of three children born to William and Evelyn. They lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana at 1823 John Street. His father was a “car repairman” for a “rail road shop.” Polk’s Fort Wayne City Directory 1937 listed the Stewart family at 327 Melita Street.

The U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946, at, show Stewart enlisted on February 26, 1943; he had two years of college; his civil occupation was porter; his height was 65 inches and weight, 124 pounds. Polk’s Fort Wayne City Directory 1945 recorded Stewart and his father on page 493.

Stewart GW USA r327 Melita
Stewart Wm (Evelyn B) reprmn PRR h327 Melita

After Stewart’s initials it said “USA” which, I think, referred to his service in the Army; he was a resident at the address. His father’s listing included his mother’s name, his father’s occupation as repairman for the Pennsylvania Railroad, and home address. Indiana’s Laughmakers: The Story of Over 400 Hoosiers: Actors, Cartoonists, Writers and Others (1990) profiled Stewart and wrote, “Stewart joined the News-Sentinel as a copy boy on March 25, 1946. He was promoted to staff artist three months later.” The News-Sentinel obituary said, “Stewart was the first minority hired by The News-Sentinel and was a pioneer in the newsroom.” His listing in Polk’s Fort Wayne City Directory 1946, page 547, was, “Stewart Gerald W (Manda R) artist News Pub Co r327 Melita”. Stewart married some time in 1945 or 1946. His listing was the same in the following years through 1949.

Polk’s Fort Wayne City Directory 1950, on page 539, recorded him as, “Stewart Gerald W (Amanda R) artist News Pub h915 Horace”. His comic panel, Little Moments, debuted in 1961.

Indiana’s Laughmakers said, “In 1986 he received the Indiana Journalism Award from the Ball State University journalism department. In 1986 he retired after 40 years with The News-Sentinel. He and Amanda, his wife of 40 years, plan to remain in the Fort Wayne area, where Stewart continues to serve as a volunteer art teacher for inner-city children…” (The profile was based on the article, “Artist’s 40-year Career Draws to a Close Today,” published in The News-Sentinel, on May 30, 1986.)

Stewart passed away on October 29, 1995, in Fort Wayne, according to the Social Security Death Index and News-Sentinel obituary.

News of Yore: Death of Walter R. Bradford

The Camera, July 1925

Walter R. Bradford, the creator of those inimitable cartoons of the “Pickleweights,” “Scow,” “John Dubalong” and “Jingling Johnson,” which featured for so many years in the daily pages of the North American, died at his home in Philadelphia, June 4th, of tuberculosis, against the inroads of which he had courageously fought for months, arousing the admiration of his associates by his heroic cheerfulness and unabated flow of humor.

The closing down of the North American, however, was a severe blow to him, as it seemed like a separation from all that he had so delighted in for years. His desk had become his playground as much as his workshop. When his newspaper passed to the hands of the Public Ledger, Bradford was the radio editor, and his creations in that role were of the same subtle humor which characterized his exploits in other roles.

Walter Bradford was 53 years old. He was born in Dayton, Ohio, and began work in the Studebaker Carriage Works, at South Bend, Ind., but his inherent talent for sketching led him to attend the night classes for instruction in drawing and inadvertently to the [missing text] John T. McCutcheon [missing text].

He worked for some time on the Chicago Tribune and the North American, shifting to theBaltimore Herald, finally settling down again with the North American. Bradford’s whole soul was in whatever he undertook and he enjoyed the children of his own brain probably as much as those who eagerly waited for their performance in the daily issue of the paper.

Leary and his Wonderful Tomato Can

Mr. Bradford said he loved his work and got fun out of his characters as if they had actuality. Enoch, Maria, Dill Pickleweight and Scow, the black cat. Walter Bradford’s cartoon-sketches had an individuality. His characters remind us of the characters of Charles Dickens. They not only were intensely humorous, but they had that touch which made them real, reflecting the traits and frailties of human nature with geniality and sympathy, which made them more than comic representations, for Bradford had a fine mental organization and a subtle apprehension for the best in human nature, which he reflected in his cartoons. There was never anything cynical, for his sympathetic, kindly nature was foreign to anything pessimistic. Bradford was well read in English literature and could discourse on authors and analyze in a way that would have given him renown as a literary critic. He was an expert photographer and a pictorialist and his work possessed individuality of treatment, reflecting his peculiarity of temperament and his judgment in selection. He contributed papers to The Camera, written in his humorous style and illuminated by most original photographs, and arrangements were being made for his connection with the editorial staff when the sad news came of his death.

Walter Bradford’s ability as a critic in art rendition by the camera gave occasion frequently for invitation to serve on jury awards, and his decision evinced sane judgment in analysis.

While insistent on the necessity of conformance to the time-honored rules and principles of art, he was broad in his views and appreciated all the advances made by the new photography, and was unbiased in his estimation of individuality of expression. Although he never put his own work in competition, it was characterized by possession of taste and originality and emphasized by the personal equation.

His literary contributions to the photographic journals were instructive, though instruction was conveyed in an Aristophanic way, which was most delightful, accompanied by illustrations intensely funny, but hitting off to perfection the idiosyncrasies of pictorial cults.

He is survived by his widow, who was born in England, and his son, William Bradford.

Mrs. Rummage

[Walter R. Bradford was born in Dayton, Ohio in May 1872, according to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census and numerous obituaries. In the 1880 census, Bradford was the youngest of five children born to Harry and Sarah. They lived in South Bend, Indiana at 46 General Taylor Street. His father was a painter.

In 1900 Bradford lived in Chicago, Illinois, at 301 Osgood Street, with his wife Sara, of six years, and son William. His occupation was recorded as typewriter. (Bradford’s playful sense of humor at work!) At the Chicago Tribune, he produced Animal Land and Languid Leary and his Wonderful Tomato Can, and helped out on the strip Alice’s Adventures in Funnyland. Some of his strips for the Philadelphia North American were Doctor Domehead, Tommy Tuttle, The Geteven Youngsters, and Fitzboomski the Anarchist.

In 1910 they were recorded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 1245 56th Street. Bradford was a newspaper cartoonist, and ten years later, he was still cartooning but in Willistown, Pennsylvania on Monument Road. Bradford passed away on June 4, 1925, in Philadelphia. Cartoons & Movies published an obituary in its June 1925 issue, which has some of the art training information that is missing in The Camera article.]