Saturday, June 27, 2009

Walt McDougall (1858-1938)

Walt McDougall, Cartoonist

Made Famous by his Caricatures of the Late Bill Nye.

Walter McDougall, the artist who for years illustrated Bill Nye’s articles, is today one of the most famous cartoonists in the country, although he is a comparatively young man. Nye used to say that McDougall robbed him of his hair in order to avoid work. The first time that the artist drew a picture by which the humorist became so well known was on their first meeting. Nye had just arrived in New York to go to work on The World. He met McDougall, who took him to visit the courtroom where a criminal trial was underway. During the trial McDougall drew the picture, and it was such a good caricature of Nye, who was then thin and angular, that it was used in The World soon after. McDougall stuck to the original, although Nye became fleshy and lost all the angularity that he possessed when he came out of the west.

At that time McDougall had been employed on The World but a short time. He had been endeavouring to sell sketches and jokes to the illustrated comic papers, but with poor success. One day he made a cartoon of Blaine which he took to Puck, where it was promptly refused. As a last resort he sent it up to The world office by the elevator boy. It was printed in the next issue and created something of a sensation. When the artist called to see how much he was to get for his picture, he was told that Mr. Pulitzer wanted to see him. The result of the interview was that McDougall was engaged to draw funny pictures for The World at a liberal salary. He has been there ever since, although he has done other work.

McDougall began drawing as an engraver and designer and once accompanied a party through the Colorado canyons to furnish the illustrations for the report that was made. He has also tried his hand at writing and with no little success. He has published a novel, “The Hidden City,” which is a good story, and he has written many shorter articles and stories. In the artistic line also he has attempted more serious work than drawing cartoons. For a local New York paper called The Suburban he did some work in illustrating of which he is quite proud. He was part owner of the paper, which was not a brilliant financial endeavour, however.

McDougall is almost 40 years old, but his hair is so light and his complexion so fresh and boyish that he does not look more than 25. He is a good natured, amiable young man, whose bright, clear eyes always seem to be seeing something funny, as they probably do.

Pictures in the Papers by Walt McDougall HERE

Rowdy Days on Newspaper Row HERE

Old Days on the World HERE

Click on images below for full Sunday Pages >


  1. What paper is this transcribed from, John?

  2. The article is one I found on one of my old cd's in which I had forgotten to take down the particulars, the illustrations of Bill Nye by McDougall were from an 1895 Toronto Saturday Night.