“The Wild Man of Borneo”

“The Wild Man of Borneo” (June 12, 1945)
by Burris A. Jenkins, Jr. (1897-1966)
15 x 18 in., ink and crayon on board
Coppola Collection

Burris Jenkins Jr. was the son of a prominent Kansas City minister, war correspondent and newspaper editor. Jenkins Jr. was a popular sports cartoonist, whose work appeared in the New York Journal-American from 1931. His humorous published verses were also popular. Although best known for his sports themes, Jenkins was also a skilled courtroom illustrator and editorial cartoonist.

Jenkins was not afraid to provoke, and he has some strong WW2 examples, including one of the rare direct commentaries on concentration (death) camps. Among his best-remembered cartoons are his angry piece on the discovery of the dead Lindbergh baby, and his sentimental image of Babe Ruth’s farewell to Yankee Stadium.

He was fired from his first job at the Kansas City Post for a series of pessimistic Christmas cartoons, a firing that prompted his father’s resignation from the same newspaper.

His father was an interesting guy. Jenkins, Sr (1968-1945) was ordained in 1891 and served as a pastor in Indianapolis. He received advanced degrees from Harvard and went on to serve as a professor and president of the University of Indianapolis and president of Kentucky University. He left Kentucky to return to Kansas City as pastor of the Linwood Boulevard Christian Church. The church burned in 1939, and Jenkins chose Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect for the church’s new home overlooking the Country Club Plaza.

Jenkins served as editor of the Kansas City Post from 1919 to 1921, hoping to fight for the establishment of the League of Nations. The Jenkins, Sr., biography tells the story about his leaving the Post slightly differently that for the son: “After two years, it became necessary for him to choose between the newspaper and his pulpit and, without hesitation, he resigned from the Post.”

“Live dangerously!” Jenkins would thunder from the pulpit, embracing his own philosophy against all adversaries. Unconventional in nearly every aspect of his chosen field, Jenkins often preached from non-Biblical texts, such as the latest book or his travels abroad. The church frequently hosted motion pictures, dances, card games, and fundraising boxing matches. These activities led to opposition to Jenkins and his Community Church from other churches in the city.

The island of Borneo, with its oilfields and strategic location for the offensive against British Malaya and Dutch Java, was one of the prime targets of Japan’s military offensive of 1941-42. The Japanese systematically and swiftly secured their objectives in Borneo during the early months of their push into the resource-rich Southern Area (South-East Asia) following Pearl Harbor.

In 1945 the task of retaking from the Japanese the former British Borneo territories of Sarawak, Brunei, and North Borneo (Sabah) was entrusted to the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). The 20th and 24th Brigades of the 9th Division launched an amphibious offensive, codenamed OBOE 6.

In order to facilitate his re-conquest of the Philippines, MacArthur struck a deal with the Dutch that he be given “complete authority in the East Indies during any military operations.” In return, he promised to restore Dutch authority in their colonies as rapidly as possible. Therefore, the recapture of the Netherlands East Indies, particularly Java, became part of MacArthur’s plans. The seizure of Borneo was to offer bases to launch his offensive against Java. Furthermore MacArthur argued that the Bornean oilfields would be denied the enemy and instead deployed to Allied advantage.

Nonetheless MacArthur had no intention of committing American land forces in the Borneo campaign. Instead, Australian troops would spearhead the offensive there. Two main landings were undertaken by the Australians in North Borneo on June 10 and June 20.

“Making Real Strides”

“Making Real Strides” (late 1944)
by AW Mackenzie (1895-1972)
11 x 15 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Mackenzie was a student of Van Dearing Perrine and attended the Art Students League about 1915. He started as a freelance cartoonist in 1941 and in May 1945, he attended the first United Nations Conference on International Organizations in San Francisco as a political cartoonist for the New York Post newspaper. His cartoons appeared daily on theeditorial pages of the New York Post, Newsday and inthe New York Daily.

A notation about “Bagration” on the back puts this into context.

Because we write our own histories, particularly of wars, the D-Day Invasion is embraced by the West as the beginning of the end of WW2. Operation Overlord (starting June 6, 1944, and going into August) was the codename for the Battle of Normany, which began with Operation Neptune, the “D-Day” Normany landings.

What is missing from that story is the coordination with the Russians, who were taking on a parallel and coordinated attack on the Eastern Front at exactly the same time.

In Operation Bagration (June 23, 1944), the Russians set out to retake Byelorussia (now Belarus), and in the process, destroy the Army Group Center (the name for the coordinated Nazi efforts in the East). The scale of the operation, in the words of some contemporary historians, makes D-Day “look like a skirmish.”

The Wehrmacht had 58 divisions in the west, of which only 11 were deployed against the D-Day landings. At the same time, however, the Germans deployed 228 divisions in the east. Thus, the Germans had almost four times as many troops facing the Soviets. And they had less than 1/20 of that number in Normandy. That alone is an indication of where their priorities lay.

At no time after June 6, 1944, did the German high command contemplate transferring forces from the east to the west to counter the Normandy landings. The battle has been described as the triumph of the Soviet theory, as their front commanders left their adversaries completely confused about the main axis of attack until it was too late.’

As Eisenhower broke though at Normany and liberated Paris and then Brussels, Nazi Germany finally needed to be fighting a two-front war in northern Europe. It is no coincidence that on July 20, 1944, dissident officers tried to assassinate the Hitler (for the movie version of this story, see Operation Valkyrie) in a bid to make peace before Germany was ruined.

“Falernus versus Thor Bräu”

“Falernus versus Thor Bräu” (est. 1885)
By Henry (Hy) Mayer (1868-1954)
four examples, all are 5.5 x 7.5 in., ink on heavy paper
Coppola Collection

Hy Mayer was a German-American cartoonist whose work appeared in such publications as Life,Puck, and Judge. Mayer also followed a number of other cartoonists into the burgeoning animation field at the early part of the 20th century. Known for work with a strong line, and seeming caricature attributes throughout, Mayer remains one of the less heralded greats of the early cartoonists.

After working as a magazine illustrator in Munich, Paris (Le Figaro Illustré), and London (Pall Mall Gazette), he emigrated to the United States in 1886. In 1893 he moved to New York, and illustrated a number of children’s books. He was a political cartoonist for the New York Times from 1904, and then in 1914 chief cartoonist of Puck.

From 1909 to 1917 he contributed artwork to early films such as the Universal Animated Weekly newsreel series. He created and directed the original “Travelaughs” series, released through Universal Studios from 1913 to 1920, and the “Such Is Life” series, with titles Such Is Life at a County Fair (1921) and Such Is Life in Munich (1922), released by Film Booking Offices of America from 1920 to 1926. These two short subject film series combined animation with live action film taken in exotic locations. He is credited with directing over 100 short films from 1913 to 1926.

There are no publishing marks that give any substantial clue as to where these four drawings I have saw print. Here what you can see.

They all bear the same numerical stamp: 15036
The few words are all in German.
There are blue pencil Roman numerals on three of the four, also suggesting they were part of the same collection.
Thematically, they are all about wine or beer, and suggest a certain history.

Mayer is associated with the German language story and humor publication “Fliegende Blätter,” which was quite early in his career. So until I hear otherwise, this is when I am placing them.

An Egyptian-looking fellow mixes an elixir.

The Cyclops is drinking from the wineskin (provided by Odysseus and handled by Selinus, father of the Satyrs)

Thor Bräu (a famous beer in Germany) stabs at the king of Italian wine, Falernus.

The heavens are celebrating beer with flying steins and horn-playing nymphs.

“And I saw Tom go into the room…”

“And I saw Tom go into the room…”
by F C Yohn (1875-1933)
The Saturday Evening Post (vol 181, October 3, 1908) p. 17
14 x 22 in., ink, wash, and gouache on board
Coppola Collection

“Yes,” says Master Willie. “And I saw Tom go into the room five minutes before Ridges came up and shut the door after him, and then I saw Ridges come up.”

In “The Butler’s Story” (4th Installment of 6: “Mr. Tom and His Father Fall Out”)

The Saturday Evening Post (vol 181, October 3, 1908, pp 16-17, 34-36) Story by Arthur Cheney Train

Arthur Cheney Train, also called Arthur Chesney Train, was an American lawyer and writer of legal thrillers, particularly known for his novels of courtroom intrigue and the creation of the fictional lawyer Mr. Ephraim Tutt.

The Butler’s Story: Being The Reflections, Observations And Experiences Of Mr. Peter Ridges, Of Wapping-on-velly, Devon, Sometime In The Service Of Samuel Carter, Esquire, Of New York… by Arthur Cheney Train (1909, Scribner’s), which chronicles the life and (often trying) times of an English Butler in service to American “nouveau riche” families. Described in The Book Buyer in the early 1900’s as “a keen, witty and highly amusing story of some newly rich people from the point of view of the Butler.”

“The Decadence of Sir Dinadan”

“The Decadence of Sir Dinadan” (McClure’s Oct 1913, p 130)
by F C Yohn (1875-1933)
14 x 18 in., ink, wash, and gouache on board
Coppola Collection

The third adventure of “The Industrious Chevalier” appeared in the October 1913 issues of McClure’s. The story (“The Decadence of Sir Dinadan” pp 129-137) and the series were published in McClure’s.

The Caption reads: “’Lady Spinner,’ I said, ‘I saw a very suspicious-looking man hanging round your carriage door. Have I your permission to warn your footman?'”

A renowned painter of historical themes, Frederick Coffay “FC” Yohn’s illustration work appeared regularly, in the early 1900s, in publications including Scribner’s Magazine, McClure’s, Harper’s Magazine, and Collier’s Weekly.

Illustrations such as this one were common in his work between 1910-1920, with examples in all of these magazines.

Yohn is noted for his strong sense of anatomy, detail, and spatial composition.

“The Foolish Flamingo”

“The Foolish Flamingo” (St. Nicholas, vol 14, p 434, April 1887)
by Reginald Bathurst Birch (1856-1943)
17 x 12 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

Reginald Bathurst Birch was an English-American artist and illustrator.

From 1873 to 1881, Birch studied and worked in Europe, attending the Royal Academy in Munich and illustrating various publications in Vienna, Paris, and Rome. On his return to the United States he took up residence in New York City, where he became a magazine illustrator. His work appeared in “St. Nicholas,” “The Century,” “Harper’s,” “Life,” and “The Youth’s Companion,” among other publications. He also became a founding member of the Society of Illustrators in New York.

His first great success was his illustration of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s book “Little Lord Fauntleroy” (1886, serialized in “St. Nicholas” in 1885-86), whose young protagonist’s long, curly hair and velvet and lace suit were widely imitated by mothers as a pattern of dress for their little boys. Birch’s name was indelibly associated with Burnett’s protagonist forever after, rather to the illustrator’s irritation. During the period of his initial popularity he illustrated over forty books, many of which, along with his drawings, had initially seen publication in serial form. He also provided illustrations for books by Dickens.

He produced a series of illustrated nursery rhymes for “St. Nicholas” magazine in the 1880s, including this one, featuring “The Foolish Flamingo,” a popular but anonymous tale of prideful behavior, right about the time that his landmark work on Fauntleroy was published.

Demand for Birch’s work faded after 1914, and by the 1930s he was living in poverty. His career was revived in 1933 by his illustrations for Louis Untermeyer’s “The Last Pirate,” and he went on to illustrate about twenty additional books before retiring due to failing eyesight about 1941.

As can be seen in the published version (below), the artwork was edited considerably to fit into the available space.

The editorial pencil marks for the cropping appear on the original art.

“Six Day Bike Race”

“Six Day Bike Race” (ca. 1930)
by Barbara Shermund (1899-1978)
7 x 15 in., ink on heavy board
Coppola Collection

From about 1890-1930, the six-day bike race was one of America’s most popular spectator sports. More or less, the most laps in six days was the winner. Often called “The Jazz-Age Sport,” it started in Great Britain and quickly spread. It derived from the six-day walking contests as a test of endurance (endurance being a genre of craze, giving rise to dance marathons, flagpole sitting, etc.), which used to bring out tens of thousands of spectators. A British promoter got the idea to put the people on bicycles. It was a big money sport for betting, and was featured in venues such as Madison Square Garden (which is likely where Shermund saw it happen) or the old Chicago Stadium. There was a 1934 film about six-day racing, and Edward “Nighthawks” Hopper made a famous painting about the sport in 1937 (supposedly after a few years of listening to his wife complain about his spending so much time at MSG watching the races). Shermund contributed to The New Yorker between 1926-1944, so I am estimating ca. 1930 for this piece.

One of the first female cartoonists at The New Yorker, Barbara Shermund (1899-1978) was one of the most edgy, whimsical, and cutting cartoonists of the past century.

Barbara Shermund produced 599 cartoons in the New Yorker between the ages of 26-45 (1925-1944). From Michael Maslin’s (michaelmaslin.com) Ink Spill blog:

“Barbara Shermund, who died in early September, 1978, had the misfortune of passing away during a newspaper strike that affected the paper of record, The New York Times.  An extensive search has turned up just one obituary for her, a four-sentence notice that ran in a newspaper covering the New Jersey coastal town where she lived for a number of years toward the end of her life.”

“Her subjects, executed in pen and ink and wash, were often hip young women, just a bit jaded – the sort that famously inhabited F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise. “

She once offered up this brief glimpse into her private life, saying she liked “fancy dancing and dogs,” says Liza Donnelly, author of Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and their Cartoons. “Barbara Shermund was one of the more prolific cartoonists of the early New Yorker. Her breezy drawing style and humor reflected the new attitudes of urban women in the twenties and thirties, and she can be considered one of the early feminist cartoonists.”

I bought up a bunch of her work and I have dedicated a Comic Art Fans gallery to Shermund; and I am slowly (slowly) finding the publication location of these cartoons.

“It’s My Draft Notice”

“It’s My Draft Notice…” (1970)
by Tony Auth (1942-2014)
11 x 14 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

After graduating from UCLA in 1965 and working as a medical illustrator, Auth began doing political cartoons.

Initially he did one cartoon a week for a weekly alternative newspaper, the LA Free Press. Sawyer Press represented Auth for syndication. They also represented Ron Cobb, one of the most widely recognized underground cartoonists of his day. Auth and Cobb were featured together in the Sawyer solicitations with three other cartoonists (Badajos, Evans, and Urbank).

After being encouraged by Paul Conrad at the Los Angeles Times, Auth contributed three a week for the UCLA Daily Bruin. Six years later, in 1971, Auth was hired as staff editorial cartoonist by The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 41 years.

The five examples I have are likely from his work at the Bruin (1970-71) just before he moved to the east coast. They are the earliest known original works from Auth, who won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.

As of this writing (July 2019), the question of women and the Selective Service is by no means a settled issue. Consider this entry a companion to my musings about my 1968 “Fuck the Draft” poster.

February 26, 2019 (Military.com, by Patricia Kime)

A federal judge’s decision Friday that the law requiring men — but not women — to register for a U.S. military draft is unconstitutional has no immediate impact on women or the U.S. Selective Service System. But it does revive debate about whether the country needs a military draft system and, if so, whether all 18-year-olds, regardless of gender, should be required to register.

Judge Gray Miller of the U.S. Southern District of Texas ruled Friday that the Military Selective Service Act discriminates on the basis of gender. He said the U.S. Selective Service System’s arguments in defense “smacked of ‘archaic and overbroad generalization about women’s preferences.'” The arguments, as interpreted by Miller, included concerns that a draft for both genders would have a negative impact on military recruiting because women might believe they will be forced into combat positions if they enlist.

“At its core, the defendant’s arguments rest on the assumption that women are significantly more combat-averse than men,” Miller wrote.

The ruling does not order the federal government to change its policy on who must register, nor does it make any recommendation to Congress, which would have to change the laws governing the Selective Service System to require women to sign up.

A system for conscription has been used off and on since the Civil War. The Selective Service System was created in 1917 to ensure that the federal government had the ability to draft all eligible men as needed for war. The draft was abolished in 1973 by President Richard Nixon, and registration for the Selective Service System was suspended in 1975. However, under the administration of President Jimmy Carter in 1980, it was revived to ensure rapid mobilization in an emergency.

Support for women registering for the system gained steam after the Defense Department abolished all restrictions on women serving in combat positions in 2013. Several plaintiffs, including the National Coalition for Men (NCFM), subsequently filed lawsuits challenging the “men-only” requirement of Selective Service. In 2016, Congress created the blue-ribbon panel to study the issue.

A few samples of 1969 solicitations from Sawyer:



“Concerning Our Parrot”

“Concerning Our Parrot” (ca 1901)
by Paul Clarendon West (1871-1918)
6 x 7 in., ink on heavy board
Coppola Collection

This entire drawing and its verse just cracks me up.

A playwright and a songwriter, West was also a cartoonist for the newspapers and humor magazines. He moved from the Boston area to New York City in the late 1800s, adding newspaper editor to his resume credits.

In 1908, he co-wrote a comedy called “The Newlyweds and Their Baby,” with Aaron Hoffman, which was based on the cartoons by George McManus.

A captain in the service, he joined the battle of Château-Thierry, NE of Paris, a May 1918 action during a German spring offensive in WWI, as a part of a Red Cross support unit. He was hospitalized for some time after being gassed.

In mid-October, West disappeared. A week later, his body was found in the Seine.

Paris (The Sun), Oct. 29 —The body of Paul West of New York, who came to France to work for the American Red Cross and who disappeared last week, was found yesterday in the River Seine.

The Paris edition of the New York Herald says the body was found close to the bridge where he left his cap with a note, and which was found after his disappearance. The body had lodged beneath a barge, and was fully dressed in the Red Cross uniform and overcoat.

In general, West’s drawings have not been well loved for some of their exaggerated cartoon style.

This example is quite different, and the verse highlights the poetry that West was renowned for.

I found three examples of this one-panel strip, with verse, in “Life Magazine” (Feb 21, Mar 7, and Mar 21, 1901), with none before or after. My drawing shows the word “Life” circled with what could be “March 6” written next to it. I am guessing that this nasty parrot never saw the light of day.

“Sanguinary Jeremiah”

“Sanguinary Jeremiah” (Collier’s September 25 1915)
by F C Yohn (1875-1933)
18 x 24 in., ink, wash, and gouache on board

A renowned painter of historical themes, Frederick Coffay “FC” Yohn’s illustration work appeared regularly, in the early 1900s, in publications including Scribner’s Magazine, McClure’s, Harper’s Magazine, and Collier’s Weekly.

Illustrations such as this one were common in his work between 1910-1920, with examples in all of these magazines. This example is not marked for time or place.

Yohn is noted for his strong sense of anatomy, detail, and spatial composition.

“You couldn’t bet ‘em diamonds against doughnuts on that horse. They’ve been stung too often.”

“Sanguinary Jeremiah” is an Old Man Curry racehorse story by Charles E Van Loan.