Saturday, June 18, 2016


Herriman Saturday

November 26, 1908 -- Last night the fight card at Jeffries' Arena included a bout between Freddie Welsh and Abe Attell, and Mike Kutchos versus Monte Attell. Of the Attell brother pair, Monte was a winner while Abe lost on points.

Apparently Jim Jeffries needs to do some work on the roof at his arena, because rain failed to stay on the outside of the facility.


Comments: Post a Comment

Friday, June 17, 2016


History of Newspaper Syndicates by Elmo Scott Watson: Chapter 5


A New Medium of Service Is Introduced – 1875

The same two decades that saw the establishment of new readyprint companies and the strong competition among them also witnessed an important development in the syndicate idea. This was the addition of the stereotype plate as a medium of delivery of auxiliary newspaper service which came into use soon after 1870 as an evolution of the practice of offering ready composition to publishers.

As early as 1872 the Middletown (N. Y.) Stereotype Company was selling type-high sectional blocks of ready composition and by 1875 it had established a branch at Lafayette, Ind., under the management of G. H. Boyd. For convenience in make-up, this composition was offered in two-inch sections and was sold at 10 cents per thousand ems.

Other companies in the field at this time were Damon and Peets and M. J. Hughes, both of New York. Hughes' patented method of supplying this material was, according to his advertisement, a "cast-blocked plate with no beds, bases or complicated furniture used. All plates before being sent out are by level power machinery pressed down and run under a planing knife set exactly type-high." His price was also 10 cents per thousand ems.

In July, 1875, Damon and Peets were warning publishers against using stereotype plates manufactured by Hughes, where the plate and wood back or block were cast together, as an infringement of a patent which they held. This resulted in Hughes inventing a reversible plate with different matter on each face. Inserted in each edge of the plate was a strong strip of combined paper and cotton which held the plate firmly upon the wood base whether through being turned down and tacked in or through the pressure of the quoins upon them. After one side had been used for printing, the plate could be turned over and the matter on the other side printed. These plates had the advantage of being lighter and therefore less costly in transportation charges. The principal advantage, however, that of giving a double amount of reading matter, was not sufficient to offset the obvious handicap of a bothersome remounting process and the reversible plates failed to gain a wide popularity with the publishers.

The greatest stride forward in the development of this feature in syndicate service came in April, 1875, when Kellogg and James J. Schock made and patented an improvement in plates and their fastenings. This was done in the Chicago office of the Kellogg Newspaper Company and by June the new plates were added to the service of this syndicate.

Kellogg's plates were drilled for screws or tacks with which to fasten them upon wood bases and could be cut to any desirable length by the publisher. He offered the plates at 2 1/2 cents an inch plus the cost of the metal for the first order. When the publisher had printed from them, removed them from their bases which he kept for mounting other plates, he could ship them back to the supply house and the cost was thus held to the 2 1/2 cents only. The prime advantage of using these plates was the lower shipping charges since they were lighter than the old type-high ready composition which had either solid metal bases or those with a thin core.

The reading matter which Kellogg offered in this form was a story department, agricultural information, children's reading and miscellany. It was the type of material which dailies had been printing for many years but which weeklies, because of the cost of composition, could not supply their readers in any great amount, unless through the medium of printed sheets.

Many of them, because of prejudice against "patent insides," would not use readyprint. But they were not averse to supplementing their local news with features printed from plates, especially when Kellogg advertised that "special care will be taken to avoid sending any matter which would duplicate that furnished other papers in the vicinity." So this fact, as well as the convenience of the plates, added many more country weeklies to the ranks of syndicate service users.

Kellogg further improved his plates and fastenings in 1876, and in 1878 he and Schock perfected the "butterfly plate," one with a spring in the form of an "X" on the back. This spring was pinched together, inserted in a slot in metal bases which were then being used, and upon expanding held the plate firmly to the base. Kellogg also invented a celluloid plate, the lightness of which further reduced transportation charges and gave it a world-wide sale.

In the east the plate business enjoyed a rapid growth. In November, 1875, the American Printers Warehouse, controlled by the George P. Rowell and Company Advertising Agency, announced a new process of stereotyping and offered such feature material as wit and humor, agricultural, general religious news, home circle, short sketches and miscellany. It also announced that "an important feature, which has been suggested by many publishers who desire to keep their readers fully informed on current events in the metropolis, will be a spicy, newsy 'Letter from our New York Correspondent.' We have secured for this work able and competent letter writers, and will give, weekly, a summary of everything that is calculated to interest and entertain." Just who these able and competent letter writers were is unknown, but an examination of the product of their pens shows that their idea of what was spicy and newsy was somewhat different from that of the Odd Mclntyres and Walter Winchells of today.

The proposition of the American Printers' Warehouse was a charge of 60 cents for a column of the feature material and $1.25 a column for the news letter with an extra charge for bases and metal, but a rebate of 10 cents a pound for the metal upon return of the plates. In the same month this company, as well as Damon and Peets, advertised that they were ready to furnish the President's message in plate, "immediately after delivery," an indication of the increasing desire of the syndicates to offer their clients "spot news" so far as it was possible for them to do so.

The introduction of stereotype plates into syndicate service met with some of the criticism encountered by readyprint at its inception. Publishers who had been suspicious of the use of printed sheets were also opposed to plate matter for no other reason apparently than a sense of consistency in opposing all innovations in their craft. For those who took pride in the fact that their newspapers were "all-home-print," it meant adding another word to their vocabulary of scorn for users of syndicate service. They called it "boiler plate" with the same derogatory imputation as that conveyed by the term "patent insides," and editors who filled up their papers with plate matter cut to fill their needs were said to "edit their papers with a saw."1

To a certain extent this prejudice extended even to some of the companies engaged in supplying syndicate service in the form of printed sheets. At least in September, 1875, the Chicago Newspaper Union quoted one of their clients as declaring that "his supply house buys no stereotyped matter, nor peddles out what they use to transient publishers nor in any way duplicates it. They do not print from plates nor other economical (?) devices for producing cheap and imperfect work."

As a matter of fact, the time-and-labor-saving improvements in stereotype plates and their fastenings during the next few years permitted the syndicates to produce printed sheets more economically and gave greater flexibility to the make-up of the "insides" and "outsides." This operated to the benefit of the publisher also for it gave him a wider choice in the type of feature material and more control over what went into his paper. Significant of this fact was an advertisement of the American Newspaper Union in a trade journal of the time which said:

Our facilities are so complete and our arrangements so well systematized that our patrons can dictate the contents of their sheets to almost the same extent as when the mechanical work is done entirely at home. Our plan secures double the reading matter, state news and legislative reports, a full summary of general news, late and correct market quotations, an agricultural department, a department for young folks and a good story for everybody.

Our political editions are edited by men identified with the different parties—in full sympathy with their work—and all our editors are familiar by actual experience with the business of editing and publishing country papers. Our news columns are full and comprehensive and contain news up to the time of printing. We supply papers in the same locality with entirely different matter, being particularly careful to prevent interference in this respect. We insert home advertisements to any extent desired at reasonable rates without electrotyping, thereby admitting of changes being easily and cheaply made. All lottery, gift concert and other illegal or immoral advertisements are excluded from our columns.

That last statement is especially interesting as indicative of the newspaper reading public's tastes 60 years ago. In other advertisements in the trade journals of that period special emphasis was laid upon the high moral quality of the feature material offered publishers for their papers. For instance, in announcing a serial tale entitled 'Wooing in the Alps, or How the Colonel Won His Bride', the American Printers' Warehouse stated that "the tale is by an author who is well known as a novelist and who has acquired the rare reputation of being a thrilling, sentimental, yet withal, thoroughly decorous writer. In all tales furnished by us talented effort and propriety will be well looked to and nothing having a deteriorating tendency will find place." It would tax the imagination to apply the foregoing advertisement to some of the "Sunday features" offered by a few of the syndicates of today!

Besides aiding the readyprint business, the plate, as a medium of syndication itself, gained in popularity during the late seventies and early eighties. On August 17, 1882, Maj. Orlando Jay Smith, publisher of the Chicago Express, founded the American Press Association and began supplying all kinds of features in plate form by the page or by the column to country newspapers.2 Smith is credited with having started on their careers or furthered the popularity of such notables as C. B. Lewis, Edgar Wilson Nye, Capt. George L. Kilmer, Donn Piatt, Champ Clark, Eugene Field, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Murat Halstead, Sewell Ford, Tom Masson, Jack London, Booth Tarkington, and the Rev. T. DeWitt Talmadge.3


The company soon grew into a national organization, with its headquarters in New York and branches in Chicago, Boston, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Indianapolis, St. Paul, Omaha, Cincinnati, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Portland and San Francisco. At the maximum of its business, it had dealings with approximately 10,000 of the 14,000 publishers in this country.

In 1886 four members of the Standiford family at Chrisman, Ill., organized the International Press Association and established offices in Chicago to compete with Kellogg and the American Press Association in the plate business. However, this concern did not become a serious threat to either one until 1890, when it was taken over by the Western Newspaper Union, which heretofore had confined its syndicate service to printed sheets.

By this time plates had become an important part of the Kellogg service and had been instrumental in the expansion of that company. In 1883 Kellogg had begun furnishing a daily plate service to dailies. The next year he purchased the plate business of the American Press Association in St. Louis and in 1885 sent an employee named Partridge to England to learn the "cold process" of stereotyping. Partridge returned full of enthusiasm for the new process and Kellogg invested heavily in the necessary equipment. But the experiment proved a costly failure and was quickly abandoned.

After Kellogg's death in 1886, E. E. Pratt was elected president of the Kellogg Newspaper Company which continued its program of expansion. The first step was the purchase during that year of the National Press Company of New York, a plate house, and the "flexible plate" business of another small concern in that city. Next the Kellogg Company bought out the Mail Plate Company, thereby securing a valuable franchise with a celluloid company for the use of its material in making celluloid plates. In 1893 it established two new plate houses, one in Atlanta, Ga., and one in Houston, Texas, and installed improved machinery for supplying service through this medium from its branch offices at Memphis, Minneapolis, Wichita and Little Rock. The Atlanta branch, however, proved unprofitable and two years later it was sold to the American Press Association.

Although the Kellogg syndicate had been the pioneer in the plate business, it was soon outstripped by its competitors in this branch of the business. Its readyprint business, however, continued to prosper. In 1887 it took over the business of a small company in St. Paul, Minn., serving 95 papers, bought the Wichita Newspaper Union's list of 60 papers in 1890, and in 1892 established its last branch office in Little Rock, Ark.4 In 1895 Beals of the New York Newspaper Union established the Vicksburg (Miss.) Newspaper Union to aid his Birmingham branch in competing with Kellogg's St. Louis and Memphis houses for business in the Mississippi delta. Rather than engage in a costly war with Beals, the Kellogg Company bought a half interest in the Vicksburg branch the following year.

From that time on, under the presidencies of Fernando C. Wood and M. A. Myers, the Kellogg Company continued to maintain its leadership in the printed service field, rising to a peak of 1957 papers on its readyprint lists in 1900 and doing a gross business of nearly $1,000,000 in 1903.

----- Footnotes ------

1. The term "boiler plate" had its origin when the American Press Association established its Chicago office in the same building with a sheet iron foundry engaged in making stove pipes and kindred supplies. It was an exceedingly noisy neighbor and much disliked by the printers who worked for the syndicate. A printer for one of the Chicago dailies, meeting one of the American Press printers at union headquarters one day, joked him about working "in that boiler plate factory" and that joke, picked up and spread by other printers, fastened the term "boiler plate" upon syndicate service supplied through the medium of stereotype plates.

2. Smith was born of New England ancestors on an Indiana farm near Terre Haute in 1842. Soon after his graduation from Asbury College (now De Pauw University), he enlisted in the Union army as a private at the age of nineteen and by the time he was twenty-one years old was a major in the cavalry, one of the youngest in the service. After the war he became a cotton planter in Mississippi but returned to Indiana in 1869 to found the Terre Haute Mail. This paper was so successful that in 1878 he moved it to Chicago, where it was given the name of the Chicago Express. On both papers he became a leading exponent of the anti-monopoly and greenback movements and was the author of several books on religious and social problems. He died in New York December 20, 1908.

3. C. B. Lewis, after serving as a printer and foreman on newspapers at Lansing and Pontiac, Mich., went to Detroit, where he became widely known as a newspaper paragrapher writing under the pen name of "M. Quad." Later as the author of "The Life and Troubles of Mr. Bowser" and other humorous works he held a prominent place in the school of Western humorists which included Charles Farrar Browne ("Artemus Ward"), Eugene Field and Edgar Wilson Nye ("Bill Nye"). Nye, a native of Maine, had his first newspaper experience in Wisconsin and later drifted to Wyoming. There he founded his famous Laramie Boomerang, which established his reputation as a humorist, later increased by his writings for the New York World and his lectures. Donn Piatt was a native of Ohio who, after serving in the Civil War, became Washington correspondent for the Cincinnati Commercial and later established the Washington Capital. He is best known as a satirist and the originator of many famous expressions, among them being "twisting the British lion's tail."

4. The St. Paul company had been organized several years earlier on a cooperative basis by a group of publishers in the northwest and was operated by Hall and Meyst.


Comments: Post a Comment

Thursday, June 16, 2016


Obscurity of the Day: Bill's Friend Tom

Here's another wacky strip from the demented mind of Eddie Eksergian. Bill's Friend Tom stars cats for no particular reason (except that maybe they're easy to draw) and the plot concerns the travails of poor Bill, who has the misfortune to have a 'friend' Tom who loves to play practical jokes on him. Invariably these jokes get Bill in dutch with his wife, who then does great bodily harm to poor Bill.

Eddie Eks produced this strip for the St. Louis Star and it was also distributed to a few other client papers by what may or may not have been World Color Printing. The strip ran from November 1 1903 to April 17 1904.

All samples from the collection of the late Cole Johnson.


Always great to see more Eddie Eksergian! I'm amazed he was able to control his impulse to include any umbrellas in these strips.
Post a Comment

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Eddy

Russell Wellington Eddy was born in Toledo, Ohio, on July 14, 1888, according to his World War II draft card, Social Security application and the Ohio death index. Eddy’s World War I draft card had the birth year 1889. The World War II draft card had Eddy’s full name.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Eddy, his father, Henry, a widower, and his maternal grandmother, Lydia A. Russell, in Toledo at 2613 Maplewood Avenue. Eddy’s father was a bicycle factory machinist who had a patent in 1884 as recorded in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, June 24, 1884: “300,961. Screwtap, Henry Willcox Eddy, Toledo, Ohio. Filed Jan. 4, 1884….”

The 1905 and 1906 Toledo city directories listed Eddy as a student at 2742 Monroe. The 1909 city directory said Eddy was a clerk at the Moreton Truck & Storage Company and resided at 2360 Scottwood in Toldeo.

The same address was in the 1910 census for Eddy, his father and paternal grandmother, Charlott W. Eddy. Eddy’s occupation was gallery artist. When the 1910 city directory was released, Eddy was a draftsman, at the Ohio Electric Car Company, who lived at 2433 Monroe. The 1916 directory listed Eddy, an illustrator, at 234 Yaryan Drive, and his studio at 310 Produce Exchange Building. It’s not known where Eddy received his art training. Sometime in 1916, Eddy moved to Chicago.

According to Eddy’s World War I draft card, signed June 5, 1917, he resided at 221 East Ontario in Chicago. Eddy was a commercial artist with the Trade Press Publishing Company, at Harrison and Clark Streets. He was described as tall, medium build with gray eyes and light brown hair.

The Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers, Sailors,
and Marines in the World War, 1917–18 (1926)

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Eddy produced two strips for the Chicago Herald. Back-Yard Movies ran from August 13, 1916 to June 17, 1917 and was syndicated by the Chicago Herald/Keeley Syndicate. The Scoot Family appeared in the Herald’s automobile section, from September 23 to 30, 1917, during the annual auto show.

Eddy’s signatures on his draft card and art in 1917

Eddy was counted twice in the 1920 census. In Chicago, Eddy resided at 3054 Sunnyside Avenue. He was a commercial artist at a publication. In Adams, Ohio, Eddy was a commercial artist living in his retired father’s household on Wildwood Street. Toledo city directories show Eddy had moved his residence and studio several times during the 1920s. Samples of his commercial work have not been found.

The 1930 census said Eddy was a commercial artist living with his father at 2030 Riverview Court in Toledo. Eddy moved again, to 821 Walbridge Avenue, according to the 1940 census and his World War II draft card which he signed April 26, 1942. The commercial artist’s studio was at 905 Jefferson Avenue.

The Ohio death index, at, said Eddy’s father passed away October 19, 1942.

Eddy passed away August 21, 1959, in Toledo, as recorded in the Ohio death index. He was laid to rest at Forest Cemetery, the same as his father. Eddy’s headstone reads “Russell Willcox Eddy.” His second world war draft card had Wellington as the middle name. Perhaps no one knew Eddy’s middle name, so his father’s middle name was used instead.

—Alex Jay


Comments: Post a Comment

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Obscurity of the Day: Back-Yard Movies

Although the Chicago Herald's homegrown Sunday comic section of the 1910s looked pretty amateurish, some graduates of its academy certainly went on to big things -- E.C. Segar, Frank Willard and Billy DeBeck taking the summa cum laude honors.

What happened to 'Eddy', though, is something of a mystery. He of the mono-monicker contributed a rollicking fun strip in which a kid gang gets hold of a movie camera and proceeds to try their hands at making films. The art was on a sub-professional level but was certainly not without a delightful sense of manic energy. Back-Yard Movies had a surprisingly long engagement in the Herald, running from August 13 1916 to June 17 1917.

Thanks to Cole Johnson for the sample scan. Cole also had an interesting comment about Eddy, saying that if his art-spotting eye wasn't failing him, that 'Eddy' also did some ghosting work on Polly and her Pals and Eddie's Friends later on. Certainly I recall Polly having a pretty bad ghost working on it for awhile, but is it the same guy? I dunno.


It's odd that there was such an undistinguished talent among the usually stellar Keeley line-up. "eddy" could have benefited from DeBeck's cartooning course.
Cole did have an expert eye for spotting the hand of different artists, and he'd be the first to say so. I remember going over this and there wasn't much more that became of Eddy. Is it possible he was one of the men who worked on Charley Chaplin's Comic Capers after Carothers' sudden death?
Hi Mark --
"Eddy" never signed the Charlie Chaplin strip, but there were plenty of those CC strips that were unsigned. So if someone wanted to occupy themselves with IDing incredibly bad art, they might well find Eddy lurking there somewhere.

By the way, I think I should state for the record that I am not convinced that Alex Jay's suggested Eddy ID in the June 15 post is indeed our man. The signatures do not to my eyes have all that much in common.

Maybe they are the same guy-now,usually one wouldn't have his signature go to the right sometimes and left at another- though I notice one of the things that are supposed to be identifying traits is that in both samples, the first "d" is tightly in after the "E", and shorter than the second "d". Also the "y" in both have a straight down, unlooped tail.
Post a Comment

Monday, June 13, 2016


This Week's Heritage Auctions

This week Heritage Auctions is offering some nice original art from my collection, plus some 'slabbed' comic books, and some more great research and reading material. Here is the link to the Heritage website auctions.

I would like it known that I never 'slabbed' a comic book in my life, and I find the practice at best silly and at worst downright creepy. Heritage had these comic books slabbed, not me. I'd be delighted should buyers elect to free these innocent entertainments from their plastic prisons, and enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed. End of sermon.

Lovely Bart cartoon for a 1901 issue of the Minneapolis Journal; perfect item for the wall of your library.

I was a big fan of Larry Marder's TALES OF THE BEANWORLD back in the day. I purchased this amazing special drawing from him, featuring all the major characters. Nicely framed.

(7 photos above) -- a great collection of Roy Crane material -- a childhood drawing (!), a panel from Wash Tubbs, and most importantly a set of amazing huge watercolored portraits of his Buz Sawyer cast.

A delightful zany daily from the great George "Swan" Swanson's High-Pressure Pete

No baseball fan could resist this superb J.W. McGurk cartoon about the plethora of sluggers coming into the baseball world in the 1920s.

Two Our New Age originals, one a Sunday by Fawcette, and the other a daily by Ray Evans.

$alesman $am by C.D. Small, maintaining the familiar lunacy of this classic strip.

Two more Spuddle's Sport Shoppe pages by the great Russ Johnson -- I think these are the last of the collection. Have you gotten yours yet?

How wacky cool is this? In Things To Come, Jim Bresnahan predicts electronic dictionaries, but can't bring himself to consider the possibility that storage methods will ever get any smaller.

Another set of United Features proof books. Apparently unwanted and unloved by auction buyers. Wish I could take them home, where they were much prized.

(2 photos) group of 12 excellent and some hard to find books about comics and comics history.

Mega-huge lot of 81 issues of The Comic Reader. I bought these for the great but unattributed comic strip column -- really wish I knew who did that!

A group of 18 fanzines from the 1970s-2000s.

Group of 42 issues of the classic Love & Rockets by the Hernandez Bros.

Big batch of neat stuff here -- Comics Journals, Comics Revues, auction catalogs, Honk #2 (with Bill Watterson interview) and more.

Two comic strip printing plates from the International Cartoon Co. of the 1920s, Just Humans by Gene Carr and Little Julius Sneezer by Baker.

Complete set of Fantagraphics E.C. Segar Popeye books, both dailies and Sundays.

Comments: Post a Comment

Sunday, June 12, 2016


Heritage Auction Items Closing Today

In this week's auction I have on offer some great original art, some big reprint book lots and some valuable comic strip research material. To see all the lots on the Heritage Auctions website, follow this link.

Here's what's on offer, all auctions ending today. Surely someone wants those great runs of syndicate proof books, no? :

From the great Children's Tales series, the conclusion strip of The Saggy Baggy Elephant of 1968, hand colored art by Frank Bolle based on book art by Gustaf Tenngren

Buttons and Fatty Sunday page by M.E. "MEB" Brady, this example has been retitled in paste-up for appearance in Famous Funnies.

My lovely Clare Briggs art has been going shockingly low -- see how cheap you can get this classic 1916 golfing subject (note very minor damage to corner)

The best of my Heart of Juliet Jones originals is here -- pretty girls and great action in this 1959 Stan Drake Sunday

The great Syd Hoff placed this gag with the New Yorker in 1972. Classic New Yorker style caption (you'll have to go over there to read it!)

Pete Hoffman's supple clear line technique on this 1966 Jeff Cobb daily with a good portrait panel of our hero.

I never figured out if this delightfully wacky Charles M. Payne color splash page ended up in an early Golden Age  comic book or not. Eye-popping vivid colors.

More Spuddle's Sport Shop pages by Russ Johnson are going on the block, and they're both super examples. Oh, the headaches of being a retailer.

Two Jimmy Swinnerton special drawings in one lot. The subject matter of the top one would seem to date it to 1918, but both appear to be much earlier vintage Swinnerton to me. Both great images, though.
Two Take It Easy Pop strips by the great old-timer Charles M. Payne, late in his life when he'd got a bit weird but still wonderful. Don't know where these appeared. Remember kids, THINK!

Here's Mort Walker way back when he was drawing for the college Showme magazine in 1948. His early style is pretty much fully formed here.

A huge run of the ultra-rare NEA Comic Weekly, with Alley Oop, Robotman and all the rest of the NEA strips. Represents the years 1996-2000; Heritage counted 160 issues, but I've asked them to recheck as there should be well over 200 in an almost perfect run.

Run of the ultra-rare United Features Comics weekly syndicate books from 2000-2002. Heritage counts 119 issues in this lot, and it should be a pretty complete run.

State library official photocopy of the 1951 New York Committee Report on the evils of comic books. This is the report that started Fredric Wertham well on his road to federal hearings. The illustrations are not to be believed -- the things these people 'saw' in the backgrounds of comic panels -- sheesh!

Massive collection of 82 Gladstone Carl Barks Library books, some still in shrinkwrap, and most still containing their trading card inserts. Instant collection of these originally rather expensive items.

Set of 1-23 and 25 of the Kitchen Sink Li'l Abner library in softcover. What happened to #24 I wonder. Oh well, that was a bad year for Abner anyway.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]