Saturday, April 16, 2011

E. W. Kemble (1861-1933)

Edward Winsor Kemble was born in Sacramento, California 18 Jan 1861. He lived in a villa at New Rochelle, close to New York which he could visit “whenever there is anything going on that interest the artist brotherhood.” Kemble, like A. B. Frost, was a noted character artist and cartoonist. He worked for Harper’s Bazaar and Harper’s Weekly newspaper and contributed illustrations to the New York Daily Graphic, Collier’s, St. Nicholas, the Century, and Life. He became famous when he was commissioned to illustrate the first edition of Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” in 1884.

Kemble produced two irregular color Sunday series for Hearst's Chicago Examiner in 1911 : The Chocolate Drops and In the Swellest Society.

The silent cartoon just below appeared in St. Nicholas in March 1887. In 1915 he began a short run comic strip called “Get Rich Quick” Walsingford, for the Evening Public Ledger in Philadelphia, Pa.

Kemble’s comic strip is a parody of J. Rufus “Get-Rich-Quick” Wallingford and his accomplice “Blackie Daw,” the fictional creations of George Randolph Chester. In the magazine stories Wallingford was a white man who dressed in formal attire with a top hat. In 1910 Wallingford became the subject of a Broadway play written by George M. Cohan and his first movie appearance was in 1916. Chester had been involved with newspapers for a long time; he wrote the text to Winsor McCay’s first newspaper color feature, “Tales of the Jungle Imps” in 1903.

*Thanks to Ken Kapson

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