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Campbell, E. Simms (02 January 1906–27 January 1971), cartoonist and illustrator, was born Elmer Simms Campbell in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Elmer Cary Campbell, a chemistry teacher and assistant principal at a St. Louis high school, and Elizabeth Simms, an elementary school teacher and amateur watercolor painter who encouraged her son's taste for art. An enthusiastic and skillful sketcher from early childhood, Campbell began his professional career at the age of eleven with a sign he drew for a local grocer and for which he skillfully negotiated the price of seventy-five cents. He graduated from his neighborhood elementary school and at the age of fourteen went to live with his aunt in Chicago, where he attended Englewood High School. Englewood was very supportive of the arts, and his editorial cartoons for the school paper, the ...

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Clay, Edward Williams (19 April 1799–31 December 1857), artist and political cartoonist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Clay, a sea captain, and Eliza Williams. Clay, whose father died when he was five, was reared in the house of his grandfather, Curtis Clay, a Philadelphia merchant. Members of the Clay and Curtis families were educated, prosperous, and prominent as merchants and ministers during the eighteenth century and as bankers, lawyers, and politicians during the early nineteenth century. Clay received a liberal education, read law, and was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1825. His interest and training in art probably began after his mother’s brief marriage in 1814 to Joseph Anthony, a goldsmith and jeweler. Goldsmiths and silversmiths often engraved their work and engraved metal plates for printing. Although he served no known formal apprenticeship, Clay had learned the basics of engraving before he went to Europe to study art in 1825....

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Charles Dana Gibson Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1918. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G432-2257).

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Gibson, Charles Dana (14 September 1867–23 December 1944), illustrator and social cartoonist, was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, the son of Charles De Wolf Gibson, a salesman, and Josephine Lovett. He showed youthful skill in art, achieving local recognition as a silhouette cutter at the age of five. His parents and teachers encouraged him, and while still a schoolboy, he worked briefly with the sculptor ...

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Godwin, Frank (20 October 1889–05 August 1959), cartoonist and illustrator, was born Francis Godwin in Washington, D.C., the son of Harry R. Godwin, a newspaper editor, and Annie Stoppard. He began an apprenticeship with the Washington Star, where his father was city editor, around 1905, at the same time taking classes at the Corcoran School of Art. He later studied at the Art Students League in New York under illustrator ...

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Gray, Clarence (14 November 1901–05 January 1957), cartoonist and illustrator, was born in Toledo, Ohio, the son of Val Gray, a store manager, and Laura Jane (maiden name unknown). After graduating from high school, he went to work for the Toledo News-Bee in the art department and was later promoted to be the paper’s editorial cartoonist. In that capacity he became a respected, even feared, pen-and-ink editorialist, and his reputation was such that his drawings were rumored to have helped elect at least one mayor. At the same time he was contributing cartoons and illustrations to national magazines, and all this activity eventually brought him to the attention of the ever-vigilant ...

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Held, John, Jr. (10 January 1889–02 March 1958), cartoonist and illustrator, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the son of John Held, Sr., an artist, engraver, and amateur bandmaster, and Annie Evans. Held began sketching and painting at a very early age, and at the age of nine, he was paid for a block print he produced, his first earnings as an artist. In high school he worked on the school paper with ...

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Irvin, Rea (26 August 1881–28 May 1972), artist and cartoonist, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of George C. Irvin and Mary Jane Morse, who had made the journey west by covered wagon in the 1850s. Although Rea attended Hopkins Art Institute in San Francisco, he also entertained the idea of a career in acting, which he pursued briefly beginning in 1903. He served in the art departments of several newspapers, including the ...

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Kirby, Rollin (04 September 1875–09 May 1952), cartoonist and illustrator, was born in Galva, Illinois, the son of George Washington Kirby, a shoe merchant, and Elizabeth Maddox. When Kirby was still a small child, his family moved to Hastings, Nebraska, where he was educated in the public schools. At the age of nineteen he went to New York City, where he studied art with ...

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Newell, Peter (05 March 1862–15 January 1924), cartoonist, illustrator, and humorous poet, was born Peter Sheaf Hersey Newell in McDonough County, Illinois, near the small town of Bushnell, the son of George Frederick Newell, a wagon maker, and Louisa Dodge. Named for his father’s business partner and relative Peter Sheaf Hersey, Newell showed an early taste for drawing and was encouraged in it by his family. While in high school, he did a large oil painting, ...

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Petty, Mary (29 April 1899–24 September 1976), cartoonist and illustrator, was born in Hampton, New Jersey, the daughter of Robert Davison Petty, professor of law at the New York Law School, and Florence Servis, a schoolteacher. Petty attended the Horace Mann School in New York City, from which she graduated in 1922. She never formally studied art; rather, she painstakingly taught herself. Drawing had been an avocation since she was a child, and according to Cheryl Ann Saunders, “her art displayed a satiric nature early on” (p. 6). When she met the ...

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Steig, William (14 Nov. 1907–3 Oct. 2003), cartoonist, illustrator, and children’s book author, was born in New York, New York, the son of immigrants Joseph Steig, a house painter, and Laura Ebel, a seamstress, both amateur artists from Lvov in what later became Ukraine. He grew up in the Bronx and attended local schools, where he contributed cartoons to his high-school newspaper. He attended the City College of New York from ...