Friday, May 15, 2009

Irving “Knick” Knickerbocker (1898-1930)

Irving “Knick” Knickerbocker was only active for a very short period, from 1925 to his early death in 1930. If he had survived he may have been numbered among the great cartoonists. After his tragic early death he was quickly forgotten. His obituary follows.

‘Tinymites’ and ‘Little Joe’ Mourn as “Knick” Passes On.

Noted Cartoonist will be Buried at Auburn, Washington.

Cleveland, Feb. 3 1930 (NEA).--

Irving S. Knickerbocker, known as “Knick” to thousands of newspaper readers through his comic drawings and sketches, which appeared daily in newspapers throughout the country, is dead as the result of injuries received in an automobile accident here.

Knickerbocker, who at 32 had established himself as one of the leading comic artists in the country, was killed when the automobile in which he was riding was struck by another car.

With a group of friends, Knickerbocker was on his way home from a dance. The force of the collision drove the car in which he was riding into a telephone pole, and Knickerbocker died of a fractured skull and punctured lung.

Funeral services will be held at Auburn, Wash., the home of Knickerbocker’s parents.

Three feature drawings gined “Knick” a wide following. These were “The Tinymites,” an imaginative daily story for children by Hal Cochran with illustrations by “Knick;” “Dizzy Dugan,” a popular sports feature, and “Little Joe,” a humorous daily sketch of general appeal. In addition “Knick” drew illustrations for feature stories on the news and sports pages.

Knickerbocker was born in Auburn, Wash., and roved over the country in search of adventure while he was still in his teens. He worked on a farm, in a lumber camp and on a railroad, enlisted in the army the day the United States entered the world war, and served in France with the A. E. F. After the war he spent some time as a sailor on an ocean liner, and then came ashore and studied art.

His knack of putting humor into his drawings quickly gained him recognition, and NEA Service, an organisation supplying more than 700 daily newspapers with feature stories and pictures, secured his services.

He is survived by his father and mother, a brother and two sisters, all of whom live in Auburn.

Two coincidences, striking in the light of the tragedy that befell him, marked his last day of life.

Just before leaving his office for the last time, “Knick” dropped five “Tinymite” drawings on the desk of Hal Cochran, NEA art director, and remarked, “Well that’s ‘30’ for me.” “Thirty” is the newspaper expression for “the end.”

The last sports cartoon Knickerbocker drew appeared on the day of his death. Over it “Knick” had written the heading “It was fun while it lasted.”

*Directly above: the opening of the baseball season.

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