“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.

“Army Induction Center” (Among Us Mortals, 01/28/1942)


“Army Induction Center” (Among Us Mortals, 01/28/1942)
by W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962)
24 x 19 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962) was known for his masterful black and white

Sunday page, Among Us Mortals, sometimes referred to as the Hill Page.

His 1915 drawing for Puck, “My Wife and My Mother-in-law,” is perhaps one of the best-known examples of a dual image–it is a drawing that at once depicts a young woman and an old crone, where the young woman’s chin serves as the nose of the old woman. The image originally appeared on an 1888 German postcard, but Hill’s interpretation is the one that ended up in the psychology textbooks.

Hill also drew the dust jacket art for the first editions of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise(1920) and Flappers and Philosophers(1920). Bohemians and artists, commuters and theater-goers all found themselves captured (and sometimes caricatured) in drawings of W. E. Hill.

Hill’s Among Us Mortalsfeature began in 1916, starting out in the New York Tribune. It began syndication by the Chicago Tribunein 1922, and then jointly by the Chicago Tribune-New York Daily Newsfrom 1934 until it ended in 1960. Hill was a masterful observer of human beings, and each Sunday page was devoted to a particular slice of observation.

Hill’s work got a lot of attention quite rapidly. Franklin P. Adams writes in his preface to Among Us Mortals(1917): “Hill is popular, by which I mean universal, because you think his pictures look like somebody you know, like Eddie, or Marjorie, or Aunt Em. But they don’t; they look like you. Or if you prefer, like me. He is popular because he draws the folks everybody knows.” The collected volume showcases W. E. Hill’s satirical images of modern Americans, including his take on modern art appreciation.

There was no one doing pen and ink artwork in the newspapers like Hill. The original artwork, with its delicate hatching, cross-hatching, and stippling, probably to not even translate that will to newsprint.

In this January 28, 1942 edition, titled “Army Induction Center”, Hill presents a look at the swirl of emotions surrounding the event of young men signing up and going off to war.

From a profile and interview with Hill:

Practically no one who sees Mr. Hill without being introduced to him would guess for an instant that this modest and retiring young man is the creator of the most human and true life sketches ever printed in America.From coast to coast and in foreign countries his work is admired for its fidelity to nature and to types. Everyone who has seen his drawings of people one meets in the streets, in the theater or other gathering places, never fails to remark, ‘I’ve seen exactly that type, and the artist must have sketched some one I’ve seen.’

 Mr. Hill pictures people at work, at play, on their way to work, at home, at meals, or on picnics. He doesn’t try to make any one handsome who is not handsome, and men and women wearing eyeglasses appear frequently in his sketches, not because he wears them himself and likes to draw them but because he finds these people wherever he goes to faithfully and truly reproduce what he sees.

  “I learned very early in my career as an artist that if you stick pretty close to the people you see about you, every day you need not draw on your imagination for types,’ said Mr. Hill.“People, just plain, everyday, commonplace people, alive and in motion fascinate me far more than anything else in the world.” he continued.“They look and dress, and do everything that they could be imagined doing, and they are everywhere that there is anywhere to be.When I made my first sketch of people as I really found them, I had no idea of keeping it up. That was simply one day’s work. I remember the first sketch very distinctly. It was made only a year and a half ago and was a few glimpses at the Easter parade in New York City.When that was printed it suggested another sketch of human life as it is and every sketch suggests a great many others. Human nature is an exhaustible subject and a man might draw types of men, women and children for a hundred years and still not scratch the surface of his subject.”

  “I have come to Washington because life here is very different from anywhere else in the United States and types are to he found here which could not be found in any other city in the country.The vast army of Government employees rushing to their work, the crowds fighting to get on already overcrowded street cars, the blank look on the voteless inhabitants of the city, the rich and the poor, the humble and the great mingling together on your streets, the omnipresent soldier, sailor and marine; the children of the rich playing in the parks, the visitors at the Capitol, the tourists, the scenes at markets, all hold a tremendous interest for me and doubtless would for any one coming to Washington for the first time.Selection and elimination will be my only trouble here, for there are a vast number of types I have not seen before.”

“Paying off the Captain” (1919)


“Paying off the Captain” (1919) in Collier’s
by F C Yohn (1875-1933)
15 x 22 in., ink, pencil and wash 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.

“Why, yes… hello” (1890s)


“Why, yes… hello” (1890s)
by Samuel D Ehrhart (1862-1937)
7 x 11 in, ink on heavy board
Coppola Collection

American cartoonist and illustrator born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Ehrhart received his education in the New York City school system. Subsequently, he studied art in Munich. His work appeared in Harper’s Monthly (1878-79), Puck (1880, and 1888-1913), and Judge (1887). In 1920 and 1930 he reported his profession as artist and his birthplace as Pennsylvania to the Brooklyn, New York census-taker.

He died in Brooklyn, New York on October 26, 1937.

“Votes for Men”


“Votes for Men” (Jan, 1910) Harper’s Bazar 44, pp 10-12
by F C Yohn (1875-1933)
5 x 12 in., ink, wash, and gouache on board
Coppola Collection

“Votes for Men” by Mary Cholmondeley, an homage to the famous suffragette play Votes for Women, was first published in 1909 in UK by The Cornhill Magazineand then in the US by Harper’s Bazar.

It starts out “Two hundred years hence, possibly less,” which tells you everything you need to know about this allegory on voting rights from the suffrage era.

Public domain copy: ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/c/cholmondeley/mary/votes-for-men/

The year 1909 was also the founding of the Men’s League for Woman Suffrage in New York City.

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.

“Bar Talk” (1915)


“Bar Talk” (1915)
by F C Yohn (1875-1933)
15 x 16 in., ink, wash, and gouache on board
Coppola Collection

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.