Ink-Slinger Profiles: Paul F. Brown

Paul F. Brown was born in Concord, New Hampshire in the early 1870s, either in 1871, according to a New York Times obituary, or in 1873 as recorded in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. According to the census he lived in Concord, New Hampshire at 179 State Street, with his mother and maternal grandparents. The fate of his father is not known. His grandfather was a blacksmith. Information about his education and art training has not been found.

The date of his move to Boston is not known. He was listed in the Boston Directory 1892-1893, found at, “Brown, Paul F. artist, 246 Wash. bds. at W. Medford”. The Times obituary said, “He started his career as a newspaper artist in 1898 with the old Boston Record, where he made chalk plates, once used in reproducing sketches. He also worked part-time for The Herald here. Later he became a Herald staff artist, serving for forty years until his retirement five years ago….He was a former president of the Boston Press Club and for many years was a member of the organization’s board of trustees.”

Brown has not been found in the 1900 census. The Boston Directory 1900 recorded this entry, “Brown Paul F illustrator 246 Washington, rms. 33 [Hancock]”. The Boston Herald reported the Boston Press Club election on March 15, 1901.

…Paul F. Brown, artist of the Boston Record and Advertiser, was elected treasurer. Mr. Brown for a number of years had charge of the stewardship of the club, and performed his work in such an able manner that his election to the treasurership was unanimous…..

He was unanimously elected president of the press club in 1903 as reported in the Boston Journal on March 13. According to the Times obituary, Brown married Anna in 1904; it was his second marriage, as noted in the 1910 census. The census said the couple lived in Boston, Massachusetts at 85 Pinckney Street. His occupation was illustrator at a studio. The Times said, “Mr. Brown during the first World War was in charge of the Navy’s camouflage division at New Orleans, where he directed the camouflaging of ships.”

The 1920 census recorded the couple in Boston at 29 Rosseter Street. The Boston Directory 1920 had this listing, “Brown Paul F commercial artist 170 Summer rm 416 h at N Weymouth”. He has not been found in the 1930 census, but he was listed in the Boston Directory 1930, “Brown Paul F art dept 171 Tremont h 11 Everett Camb”. The 1939 directory identified his employer, “Brown Paul F (Anne I) art dept Herald-Trav r 902 Beacon”; he worked at the Herald-Traveler.

The Boston Directory 1944 had this entry, “Brown Paul F administration dept Herald-Trav r W Gardner Maine”. Brown passed away, after a long illness, on December 8, 1944, according to the Times.

Obscurity of the Day: Sawdust Sim

One of the few real gems in the Boston Herald‘s comic section of the 1900s was Sawdust Sim. Most of the Herald‘s Sunday comics were reasonably well-drawn but the writing was almost uniformly execrable. Paul F. Brown’s Sawdust Sim was, in stark contrast, not just well-written but also quite avant garde. Strips that broke the fourth wall in those days were quite rare, but Brown’s strip used that motif every week in ways that still seem quite fresh today.

Brown had the good sense not to overdo the strip, and it ran for only about four months, from November 18 1906 to March 10 1907. It was one of only two comic strip series he is known to have done.

Ink-Slinger Profiles: Jean Knott

Jean Knott was born in St. Louis, Missouri on June 15, 1883, and was educated in St. Louis public schools, according to Who Was Who Among North American Authors, 1921-1939 (1976). He has not been found in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census.

Who Was Who said Knott was on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch staff from 1903 to 1916. According to the 1930 census, he married when he was 23 years old, which was in 1906 or 1907. He and wife, Bettie, lived with her parents and three siblings in St. Louis at 3314 Shenandoah Avenue, as recorded in the 1910 census. He was a newspaper cartoonist. Cartoons Magazine, April 1916, reported Knott’s new comics panel.

His Luck May Change

Gene (sic) Knott, sports cartoonist on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has been drawing a series of poker cartoons entitled “Penny Ante.” They have the earmarks, it is said, of having been inspired by one who knows, and according to an unidentified rumor, Knott is contemplating submitting to his business office at the end of each week an expense account to cover losses while engaged in getting raw material.

Three months later Cartoons, July 1916, reported his new contract.

Hearst Signs Jean Knott

Jean Knott, comic artist of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, has been graduated into the big-league newspaper class through signing a contract with William Randolph Hearst to work for the Hearst newspaper syndicate.

His salary will be $12,000 a year, of considerably more than double his present salary. He began on the Post-Dispatch as a counter clerk at $10 a week. His work recently attracted attention of Hearst, who signed him to a two-year contract.

For several years Knott divided his time between St. Louis and New York City. Columnist O.O. McIntyre said, on July 18, 1937, “He lived for several years on Riverside Drive, where a penny ante poker game, from which he got so much of this material, was in full blast almost every evening.” Another strip by Knott was That Family Next Door, which was, later, renamed Mamma’s Boy. He signed his World War I draft card on September 11, 1918. His occupation was cartoonist for the International Feature Service, and description was tall height, medium build, and brown eyes and hair. He named his wife as his nearest relative; their address was in St. Louis at 3129 Shenandoah Avenue. They soon divorced.

World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), 2/3/1918

Knott and second wife, Elizabeth, lived in St. Louis at 6300 Enright Avenue, according to the 1920 census, which was enumerated in January. She had a nine-year-old daughter. He was a newspaper cartoonist. The Kansas City Star (Missouri) published news, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, of his wife’s divorce suit on May 22, 1920. Who Was Who said Knott married Winifred Wall on February 21, 1921.

In 1930 the couple lived with his mother and sister in St. Louis at 3129 Shenandoah Avenue. He continued as a newspaper cartoonist. On July 18, 1937 O.O. McIntyre said, “Later, he went to his country home near St. Louis and dropped his cartoon idea for an advent in commercial drawing.” Knott passed away on June 5, 1937 in St. Louis. Two days later the New York Times published the Associated Press item.

Artist and Cartoonist Succumbs in Hospital in St. Louis at 54

St. Louis, June 6 (AP).—Gene [sic] Knott, artist and creator of the “Penny Ante” cartoons, died at a hospital here yesterday after a brief illness. His age was 54.

He formerly resided in New York, where he was employed by a syndicate service, but recently had been doing commercial advertising illustrations.

Obscurity of the Day: It Can’t Be Done

In the mid-teens, some weekday Hearst strips suddenly sprouted companion features. These features were meant to be used sort of like the Sunday toppers of a decade later — if the paper didn’t have the space they could be lopped off. An extra benefit of these daily ones was that the companion feature could be clipped off and run elsewhere in the paper or as ROP, a nice little boon to page composition.

Jean Knott’s Penny Ante (aka Eddie’s Friends) used these weekday companion features much longer than the other Hearst bullpenners. The first companion strip to it was It Can’t Be Done, an unassuming feature that used the same tagline every day. Although the temptation is to say the idea was too limited to last, the strip is rather like There Oughta Be a Law and They’ll Do It Every Time, so I guess no idea is so limited that someone can’t flog it for decades.

Knott included It Can’t Be Done with Penny Ante from  June 13 to September 25 1916, and then replaced it with Let the Wedding Bells Ring Out, a companion feature that proved popular enough to also run on its own for many years.

Thanks to Mark Johnson for the samples!

News or Yore: Charles L. Bartholomew

By Alfred Colle.
(History of Minneapolis, Gateway to the Northwest, Volume III, 1923)

“Charles Lewis Bartholomew” is the notation entered on the records of Lucas county, Iowa, indicating the birth of a son to Colonel Orion Alexander Bartholomew and Mary (Smith) Bartholomew. The entry was made on the 10th of February, 1869.

To the reader of the daily newspaper and the political magazine, however, the man who has been the creator of so many striking political cartoons is known at “Bart.” But Bart is not known alone to those who find a happy flash of humorous treatment in a picture editorial. Hundreds of audiences have listened to his famous chalk talks. And many hundreds of men and women, acquiring the fundamentals of illustrating, recognize the well known signature at the end of kindly letters of instruction and criticism which they receive from him as dean of the Federal School of Illustrating and Cartooning.

Bart went to the Iowa State College long enough to take all the mathematics that But writs of replevin and restraining orders held no interest for Bart. When his mother read to the family group, Bart would illustrate the action of the story with charcoal sketches. In the school room when the going became too slow for his active mind he relieved the tedium by drawing pictures.

Bart’s idea of doing something, however, was running a newspaper, and at the age of seventeen, his father, having acquired the Chariton Herald, gave him the chance to be its editor and guiding genius. It is said of him that in the full burst of his editorial dictatorship he slammed a story of the local discovery of a coal mine into the back page and ran the first page full of locals. In other words, he played up the human element.
Editorial cartoon, May 2 1912

Bart went to Iowa State College long enough to take all the mathematics that an engineering course could give, acquired a Bachelor of Science degree, a captain’s commission in the Iowa National Guard, Henry Wallace, secretary of agriculture as a roommate, and the acquaintance and good will of Miss Ella Louise Henderson of Monticello.

Miss Henderson and Bart were married on the 17th of June, 1890. Three sons have been born to them: Orlo Alf, Robert Henderson and Charles Lewis, Jr.

Shortly after graduation Bart began newspaper work as a reporter in Minneapolis; he became staff correspondent and later cartoonist. For a score of years he was in active management of the art department of the Minneapolis Journal, with front page cartoons on political subjects and current events. Bart has the distinction of being a pioneer in the newspaper cartoon field, not only in the Northwest but in the country at large, the Journal being one of the first papers in the United States to use the daily cartoon feature. Bart literally created the department in which he has made a name. His idea met with immediate success and has grown from year to year until today Bart’s cartoons are known around the world, and the Journal and Minneapolis are familiar names to many abroad who otherwise might never have heard of them.

A contemporary writer, James Gray, at one time mayor of Minneapolis, said of Bart: “In this long period of twenty-five years he has drawn daily cartoons, missing very few days of publication, an enormous drain upon the invention of any man, no matter how prolific. Bart draws cartoons as the editorial writer writes articles, from the news of the day. He is an editor in outline. His cartoon is a first-page editorial, couched in the most telling phrases and simplest grammar.” Bart’s cartoons in the Journal have been reproduced in every part of America and in England and European countries, by many daily papers and magazines. Even in far-off Australia they are frequently reproduced. In his book, “The Americanization of the World,” W.T. Stead says: “One of the most capable cartoonists in the United States is Mr. Bart of the Minneapolis Journal.” In this book and also in Mr. Stead’s magazine, The European Review of Reviews, Bart’s cartoons have appeared more frequently even than in the American Review of Re­views, whose editor, Dr. Albert Shaw, says: “The esteem in which the Review of Reviews holds the political cartoons that appear in the Minneapolis Journal is sufficiently shown by the frequency with which it has reproduced them. Mr. Charles L. Bartholomew of the Journal, whose work is signed ‘Bart,’ has not merely a very ingenious and ready pencil, but he has a remarkable political instinct that makes his drawings to a very unusual extent valuable as elucidating the situation or reenforcing an editorial position or point of view.”

For a period of fifteen years, the American Review of Reviews, Literary Digest, Current History, and leading metropolitan magazines used more cartoons from Bart’s pen than from that of any other artist. His cartoons were compiled annually in “Pictorial History of World Events” for a similar period. Rand McNally & Co., published six books of juvenile caricature illustrated by Bart. Of the wonderful advertising value of Bart’s cartoons, B.O. Flower, the editor of the Arena, has said: “We doubt if even the management of the Journal fully appreciated the enormous value of Bart’s work in familiarizing the reading world at large with the name of his paper. In the 1922-1923 edition of “Who’s Who in America,” Mr. Bartholomew is credited not only with ten volumes of current cartoons for the Journal and illustrating six juvenile books by W.A. Frisbie, published by Rand McNally & Co., Chicago, but also with twelve textbooks on “Illustrating and Cartooning” for the Federal Schools, Incorporated, Minneapolis, and his new book on “Chalk Talk and Crayon Presentation,” published by Frederic J. Drake & Company of Chicago and the Bart System and Basic Stunts issued by Bart Supplies.
Anti-Hearst editorial cartoon, Sept 27 1906

Bart has used his crayon continuously for high school and college audiences and in lecture work and entertainment. He is the editor of a complete and com­prehensive system which has served as the basis for many a chalk talk artist and lecturer using crayon presentation. In compiling information for student use in illustrating and cartooning, he puts in practical form, information from the highest sources among the modern illustrators and cartoonists, using his ability as reporter and editor, rather than depending alone upon his own individual experience. His strength in educational work lies in his ability to secure from these practical sources, latest methods used in the reproductive art. He is recognized among members of his profession for originality in clear presentation of practical requirements of the illustrator and cartoonist.

In his political views Mr. Bartholomew is a stanch republican and through his cartoons has wielded great influence in party affairs. His religious faith is that the Congregational church. He is identified with Plymouth church of Minneapolis, where he holds the office of church clerk. In an address given at a banquet in Bart’s honor by Minneapolis business men, at the end of twenty-five years of editorial and cartoon work, Dr. Harry P. Dewey, pastor of Plymouth church said that if Mr. Bartholomew’s services were available he would choose him as assistant pastor because of Bart’s able assistance in popularizing the vesper services conducted by the church. His chalk talks before factory workers, business organizations, schools and colleges have brought him, throughout his career as cartoonist and editor, into personal contact with his readers. Mr. Bartholomew is Dean of the Federal School of Illustrating and Cartoon­ing and at the present time is devoting his entire attention to editing textbooks and conducting instruction in the course in Illustrating and Cartooning, in which some ten thousand students are studying practical drawing by correspondence. The students are from every English speaking community in the world.

Bartholomew portrait from A Half Century of Minneapolis (1908)

[Charles Lewis Bartholomew was born in Chariton, Iowa on February 1, 1869. He was recorded in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, the 1885 Iowa State Census, and the 1895 Minnesota State Census. His father was a lawyer and farmer. In the 1900 census he, his wife, three sons, brother, sister and a boarder lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota at “623 18th Street East.” Bartholomew was a cartoonist. He contributed several Saturday series cartoons to the Minneapolis Journal in the 1900s; one of them was the Shanghai Twins. Ten years later they lived next door at number 625; he continued his newspaper cartooning. In 1920 he lived at 2809 Irving Avenue. His occupation was editor for an engraving company. He remained at the same address, as recorded in the 1930 census, with his wife and servant. He was the dean of an art school. Bartholomew passed away on February 15, 1949 in Minneapolis, according to the Minnesota Death Index at Two collections of his editorial cartoons can be viewed and downloaded at Google Books: Cartoons of the Spanish-American War and Expansion, Being Bart’s Best Cartoons for 1899.]

Not Herriman Saturday — Q & A Instead

Sorry folks, ran out of time to prep my Herriman post for today. So instead here’s a few questions we’re pondering; maybe you can help!

Our Gang Ad — Cole Johnson sends this Royal Gelatin ad, saying that it might be by Virginia Huget. I see no particular resemblance to the art style I associate with her, but it’s also well established that she was pretty good at aping other styles. Anyone want to weigh in with an opinion on whether this is Huget, or maybe you’d like to nominate some other cartoonist?

The Grizzwells — I was just clipping a few current strips the other day and noticed that The Grizzwells by Bill Schorr seems to have a second creator credited within the strip. Looks like ‘Smith’ to me, but at postage stamp size it is hard to tell. Found nothing on the web saying that the strip now has two creators. Does anyone know anything about this Smith person and his/her role?

Newspaper Archives on the Web — I know about, of course, and the Library of Congress has a selection of digitized newspapers, and then there’s Google Newspaper Archive as well. There’s also, which I know very little about. There’s also some localized websites like this one for Utah and one for New Jersey papers, for which I’ve somehow lost the link. If you know of other sources for digitized newspapers available on the web, either free or fee, I’d like to know about them. I think a link collection for digitized newspaper sources would be a great resource. Ideally we’d also tabulate a list of newspapers and date ranges as well, but that may be impossible to do as it is a pretty swiftly moving target.

Obscurity of the Day: Louis Kniep’s Comic Strip

October 15 1905
December 10 1905

January 14 1906
March 4 1906

September 23 1906

October 21 1906

February 10 1907

September 22 1907

November 3 1907

March 22 1908

April 12 1908

If I was to ask you to name cities that have been hotbeds of newspaper cartooning activity, Newark New Jersey would probably come pretty far down on your list. But there have actually been quite a few local features in the papers of that city. Why? Mainly because it is close enough to New York City that, in the old days of exclusive territories for newspaper comics, Newark was frozen out from most of the mainstream strips which were gobbled up by the Big Apple.

Although newspapers in Newark and other cities in the shadow of NYC always managed to make do, usually on a steady diet of B-grade syndicate features, there was an exceptional receptiveness at these papers to local features.

Blog reader Fram, who braves the dark waters of the Google Newspaper Archive in spite of an annoying interface, spotty coverage and buggy digitization, discovered the feature sampled above, perhaps the earliest local feature to appear in the Newark papers.

The Newark Call began publishing a weekly strip by Louis Kniep in their Sunday edition on or before October 15 1905. (Most of the dates cited in this post will be approximations — many issues of the Call are missing from the Google archives.) The strip usually starred animals, though none were nominated for star billing for a long while. The strips are certainly not notable for quality of art or gags — in fact they are quite firmly in the amateur category. What is notable is the level of cruelty and violence depicted — Fram aptly described them as outdoing Tom and Jerry in that department, practically verging on Itchy and Scratchy territory.

Starting in September 1906 a dog named Towser takes star billing on occasion, and kids named Peter, Freddy and Tommy are named more than once. By 1907, though, Towser has been renamed Fido, and Fido he stays for awhile.

Finally in September 1907 Kniep makes a breakthrough and comes up with a consistent star player he calls the Wooden Man. Other than being drawn in a weird blocky way, the substance he’s made of doesn’t seem to be a major plot consideration, but hey, at least Kniep finally made the effort to develop a running character. The Wooden Man’s horse, also presumably wooden, is more memorable than his master — he sports a belly-side door in the Trojan style.

While Kniep was zeroing in on the comic strip convention of recurring characters, his writing was getting increasingly disjointed. Not that Kniep’s work was ever the model of clarity, but some of the strips I perused near the end of the run were downright incoherent. Finally the Call seems to have had enough and the series ends on or soon after April 12 1908.

So, besides the minor novelty of this amateurish local comic strip lasting over two years, what can we say of interest? Fram offers this nugget — he did a little digging on this Louis Kniep fellow and discovered that a Newark native by this same name competed as a gymnast in the 1904 Olympics! If it is the same fellow, he was about as good a gymnast as he was a cartoonist. He placed 44th in his best event.

News of Yore: Charles F. Batchelder

Entry from Batchelder, Batcheller Genealogy:
Descendants of Rev. Stephen Bachiler, of England (1898)
with illustrations from the book

Charles Fletcher Batchelder (Janies L., Jeremiah S., Nathaniel, Samuel, Nathaniel. Nathaniel. Stephen), b. Cincinnati, Ohio, March 29, 1853; [married] Feb. 8, 1885, Harriet Pottle, b. Jan. 3. 1858. Charles Fletcher Batchelder was born in Cincinnati, O.; was associated with his father in the book business until the fire of 1871; went west to Clyde, Kan., where he aided in the conduct of a weekly print; was appointed postmaster and captain of a military company. Returned to Chicago in 1879-80; was reporter on the Chicago Tribune and Times; participated in an advertising agency; subsequently went to St. Paul, Minn., as an artist on the Globe of that city and illustrated for a pictorial print; took the prize for a design commemorative of the Haymarket massacre by Anarchists in Chicago; has been an artist on the Chicago Daily News from 1891 to 1896, and later the leading one on the Times-Herald of Chicago, whose designs daily appeared on the first page of said print. He now occupies the same position on the Daily News.
The Haymarket monument was erected to the memory of the policemen murdered by Anarchists. The foundation was commenced December, 1888. The cost of the pedestal and everything complete in readiness for the figure aggregated $5,000. The railings, electric lights and supports, together with the expense of placing the figure in position, added another $1,000. The figure itself increased the value of the monument to $10,000. From the foundation, the height of the pedestal is seven feet six inches. The designer of the figure was Charles F. Batchelder. Res. Ravenswood, Ill., Paulina st.

(Batchelder has not been found in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 U.S. Federal censuses. The Lakeside Annual Directory of the City of Chicago (1876) had the following listings.
Batchelder Charles F. (Batchelder & Co.) r. 817 Wabash av. [residence]
Batchelder James L. (Batchelder & Co.) r. 817 Wabash av. [his father]
Batchelder & Co. (James L. and Charles F. Batchelder) bookbinders 119 5th av.
On October 25, 1892, he had registered to vote in Chicago. He lived at 2819 Paulina Street; the same address as his father. In 1900 he lived in Chicago, Illinois at 2713 Winchester Street. He and his wife Harriet had two children. His occupation was pen and ink artist. In the book Cartoons by Bradley (1917), Luther Daniels Bradley worked at The Daily News in Chicago; his first cartoon published on July 5, 1899. “…in 1900, he was made director of the art department…he had efficient help in the routine of the art department, especially from Charles F. Batchelder, his assistant and friend…”
Ten years later, the Batchelders remained in Chicago, having moved to 656 Sheridan Road. He worked as a newspaper artist. In 1920 the family was at the same address. Retired from newspapers, he was recorded as a librarian in the advertising illustration business. In the 1930 census, he and his wife lived with their youngest daughter, a widow, and her son, in New Trier, Illinois at 120 Woodbine Avenue. The Chicago Tribune reported the passing of his wife on June 17, 1944. Batchelder passed away on September 3, 1947. The Cleveland Plain Dealer published the news on the fifth.
Cartoonist Dies
Chicago, Sept. 4—(AP)—Charles F. Batchelder, 94, newspaper cartoonist many years and retired head of Chicago Daily News art department, died last night. He was a native of Cincinnati. Batchelder began his newspaper career in 1880, working at various times on the Chicago Tribune, the old Chicago Times-Herald and the St. Paul Globe. He joined the Daily News staff in 1893 and retired in 1918.
A link to four Chicago Daily News photos of Batchelder is here. A photo of the Haymarket Moument is here.)

Obscurity of the Day: Doddlesby’s Home Tasks

Here’s a strip that lends itself to a little ‘inside baseball’ on comic strip research. Doddlesby’s Home Tasks is a Chicago Daily News strip of 1901. I indexed the Daily News by ordering the microfilm of the paper through inter-library loan, five months of reels at a time. The Daily News was notoriously cavalier about naming their strips, so I took voluminous notes on the strips that appeared and went over them with a fine-tooth comb to determine which represented continuing series.

Doddlesby’s Home Tasks, a cute little gem about a fellow who can’t seem to successfully fix anything around the house, was easy to recognize as a series once the main character was named. Unfortunately that happened months into a very sporadic run, and cartoonist Charles Fletcher Batchelder did many non-series strips and panels at the same time to throw me off the scent. Unfortunately, once I’d finally recognized the strip as a series, the previous batch of microfilm reels had been sent back to the lending library and my notes, copious as they were, did not yield a start date for the series prior to the naming of the main character.

Perhaps not fascinating information, but it is my excuse for now saying that the series first gained a named star on October 15 1901, but that the proto-series predates it by a few months. I can say with authority, though, that the series last appears on November 14 of the same year. So there.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the samples!