Thursday, January 28, 2010

Judy’s “Jolly Books”

Judy’s “Jolly Books”


Judy; or the London Serio-Comic Journal, was launched on May 1, 1867 (lasted until October 23, 1907), and introduced Ally Sloper F. O. M. (Friend of Man) into the world on August 14, 1867 in a comic page with a strange title, Some of the Mysteries of the "Loan and Discount,” written and illustrated by editor Charles Henry Ross. In 5 years Judy had a large amount of used wood-engravings stocked away and began re-publishing the blocks in Shilling Books. They were hawked in the streets by newsboys, sold in newsstands and at booksellers, and tempted commuters from railway bookstall racks.

Judy was not the only publisher of these ephemeral books, the proprietors of the older rival Fun, founded September 21, 1861, where Ross had contributed a Dickens parody, produced competing works, including Hood’s Comic Annual for 1889 and Fun’s Funny Scraps in 1892. The first comic reprint publication advertised from “Judy’s” Office was titled Judy’s Christmas Number (December 18, 1872.) The cost was three pence for a short 20 page collection of cuts and possibly text.

Judy’s Book of Comicalities (May 7, 1873) came next with 500 Humorous Pictures advertised as “A Book for the Road, the River and the Rail” and “The Best Traveler’s Companion.” The title harked back to a weekly feature in Bell’s Life in London and Sporting Chronicle (previously Pierce Egan’s Life in London) called ‘The Gallery of Comicalities.’ They were collected and reprinted separately as a single-page broadsheet on January 2, 1831 with caricatures by George Cruikshank, Robert Seymour and Kenny Meadows.*

A newspaper called The Englishman reprinted The Gallery of Comicalities as ‘The Englishman’s Comic Annual’ followed closely by George Goodyer’s piracy, four pages of cuts titled The Gallery of 140 Comicalities (June 24, 1831) and William Clement’s annual The Gallery.*

About August 1836 radical penny publisher John Cleave put out Cleave’s Picture Gallery of Grant’s Comicalities. The caricaturist named in the title was the popular C. J. Grant, a hack cartoonist and illustrator, (see earlier post on Renton Nicholson’s Cockney Adventures) in a rough and rowdy style.

By 1844 the title had shortened to Cleave‘s Comicalities. “Each number of this “gallery” is a full-sized newspaper sheet, filled with laughter-provoking caricatures and comic hits.” the sheet carried 150 “comic and humorous cuts for one penny.” The tradition of printing comic broadsheets was carried on into December 1876 when Edwin J. Brett released the Boys of England Grand Comic Sheet for Christmas and the New Year which featured 100 comic cuts.

After Judy’s Book of Comicalities came Judy’s High Jinks ; Being 500 Humorous pictures with descriptive letterpress selected from the pages of “Judy” (July 9,1873). It was said to be similar, “even so much better,” than Judy’s Book of Comicalities.

Judy’s Christmas Book title was Some Playful Episodes in the Career of Ally Sloper (late of Fleet Street, Timbuctoo, Wagga Wagga, Millbank, and elsewhere) With Casual References to IKY MO, by Charles Henry Ross and his wife Marie Duval. It was advertised on October 29 and available to the public as a “companion” to Judy’s High Jinks on November 19, 1873 with the cover-title Ally Sloper : a Moral Lesson, with the full title shown on the title page. All “Judy” titles thus far were advertised as ‘The Biggest Comic Books on Record’ until July 22, 1874.

Phiz ! Phiz ! Phiz ! hollered the advertisements; Hablot K. Browne, of Pickwick Papers fame, had recently joined Judy, and this was his first collection. “A Shillingsworth of Phiz !” Bottled by “Judy.” Uncorked by C. H. Ross was published on Sept. 16, 1874. In November 1874 the Judy Almanac for 1875 went on sale at 2d. There were no new publications until July although on April 14 Comicalities, High Jinks, Ally Sloper and Phiz were advertised as “Judy’s Jolly Books,” a name change that stuck until February 16, 1876.

A brilliant caricaturist was about to debut, however, in the person of Archibald Chasemore. He contributed humorous illustrations to Rattletrap and Tootletum !! whose long title was Rattletrap Rhymes and Tootletum Tales; a Book for Big Babies (July 1, 1875). Ambrose Clarke and Ross supplied the letter-text. The Sunday Times said “the reader who wants a shillings-worth of fun, will nowhere get more for his money, either in quantity or quality.”

By this time the talented cartoonists gathered around Judy and her editor Charles Henry Ross included Fred Barnard, W. Boucher, E. G. D., Adelaide Claxton, Archibald Chasemore, Marie Duval, J. Mahoney, William Reynolds, H. Holland, and the ‘inimitable’ Phiz. Boucher was a popular illustrator of serials in James Henderson’s The Young Folks Weekly Budget at the same time he worked for Judy.

With a growing stock of wood-engravings on hand reprints of comics that had previously been circulated in Judy cost only the paper and ink. Another title was added that fall, A Shillingsworth of Sugar-Plums containing Several Hundreds of Num-nums and Nicie-nicies by Adelaide Claxton; and an equal number of Mottoes, Labels, and other Literary Sweetstuff, by Charles. H. Ross (Sept. 15, 1875).

The Wonder of the World ! read the advertising headline on November 10, 1875. Something new was added to the Judy comics with Ally Sloper’s Comic Kalendar for 1876. The popular shilling books, aimed at the middle class, received delighted reviews in the press. The Comic Kalendar offered twenty four pages of pictures for one penny and must have helped spread the name of Ally Sloper through working class and middle class communities.

The Comic Kalendar was described as a “Marvel of Cheapness. The First Time Sloper has ever appeared for the Small Charge of One Penny.” Publication was delayed, “in consequences of large orders,” until November 22, 1875 when it was for sale in newsstands, booksellers and railway bookstalls along with There and Back (June 28, 1876) another shilling book by Claxton and Ross. The Comic Kalendar was to be published annually from 1875 to 1888.

In 1909,Charles Ross Junior was convinced he held ownership rights to The Comic Kalendar and was about to publish a publication under the title of Ally Sloper's Comic Kalendar of Fashion, Fact and Fiction, Pathos, Poetry and Romance, but was prevented by the courts. A dummy copy which was printed which “had upon its outside sheet a caricature of Ally Sloper.” Ross claimed that as executor and universal legatee of his father he was entitled to the use of the title and character. Picture Press argued that this would mislead customers into mistaking it for a publication of the proprietors of Ally Sloper's Half Holiday, (they also regularly published an annual called Ally Sloper's Christmas Holidays.) Ross Junior lost his case but continued working for Gilbert throughout the twenties.**

Crackers and Kisses came out on Nov. 22, 1876, and in the New Year “Judy” Office offered the Illustrated Catalogue of “Judy’s” Shilling Books on application to the publisher. Chasemore and Ross teamed up again for “All the Way, One Shilling” (June 27, 1876.)

Two Sloper books are next in line; Ally Sloper Tackles the Eastern Question (July 18, 1877) by Ross and Duval, (bound in a coloured wrapper for 6d.,) and Ally Sloper’s Book of Beauty (Oct. 25, 1877). The Twopenny Twins (Nov. 27, 1877) was by Major Penny and Archibald Chasemore. Ally Sloper’s Guide to the Paris Exhibition (May 2, 1878) preceded Sand and Struggle (June 20, 1878), a Book for the Seaside.

Yoicks ! Judy’s Comic Sporting Book (Sept. 12, 1878) contained a colour cover and eight coloured hunting pictures, all by Phiz. The interior featured various Judy cartoonists. Two titles were advertised on January 1, 1879 : A Shillingsworth of Moonshine and The Penny Wedding a Romance of Love and War. High Tide a Book for Low Water and Low Spirits (Aug. 13, 1879.) Ally Sloper’s Sentimental Journey (May 26, 1880) sporting a colour cover.

And finally Ally Sloper’s Summer Number joined Ally Sloper’s Comic Kalendar in the penny market on May 26, 1880.

* The Evolution of the British Comic by Denis Gifford.

**Law Report : Picture Press vs. Ross, The Times, February 25,1909. Thanks to Roger Sabin for the photocopy.

Judy’s “Jolly Books” 1872-1887 Part II

May 5, 1880. Judy’s Conservative Cartoons : The Right Hon. B. Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, From Judy’s Point of View. As Shown in her Cartoons during the last Ten Years. Half-a-Crown, and, The Right Hon. W. E. Gladstone, From Judy’s Point of View. As Shown in her Cartoons during the last Ten Years.

May 12, 1880. Ready shortly, one shilling, Ally Sloper’s Sentimental Journey. Coloured cover.
Look out for “the Literary Marvel.” Ally Sloper’s Summer Number. “The unparalleled pen’orth.” Same size as the world-famed “Kalendar.”

July 7, 1880. Ally Sloper’s Sentimental Journey. Second Edition. 100 Pictures.

“Rich in absurd incidents and ridiculous Adventures, it is written throughout with delightful vivacity, and brims over with fun…a little work which, open where you will, is sure to make you laugh.”- Morning Post.

“The un-heroic hero gossips pleasantly, sometimes even pathetically, about the sights of London, and gives some out-of-the-way information and some pleasant stories relating to places which many pass daily with the ignorance and indifference of the true Londoner.” - Globe.

“Seriously speaking, Mr. Charles H. Ross has, in creating ALLY SLOPER, given us a character that will live. Never was an ancient loafer described with more humour, and his adventures are irresistibly amusing.”- Court Circular.

“The whole book is brimming over with high spirits and rollicking humour.” Sunday Times.

“Take my Advice and put Ally Sloper’s Sentimental Journey in your pocket. Mr. Charles H. Ross is a genuine humorist, and he never wearies one.”- The Theatre.

“One of those efforts that persuade us that life is worth living. Written by Mr. Charles H. Ross, with that unaffected humour so liberally manifested in other works by the same hand, this most recent essay of SLOPER’S bids fair to eclipse its forerunners in popular esteem.” -Entr’acte.

“ALLY is quite as funny as STERNE was, and a great deal more proper, and young ladies may accompany thee popular moralist from Westminster to Aldgate Pump without the least hesitation.”- Sporting Times.

“Humour of the richest kind pervades the whole work.” - Lincolnshire Chronicle.

“The work will be read with pleasure by those who appreciate humour of the best kind.”- Yarmouth Gazette.

Judy’s “Jolly Books” 1872 - 1887 Part III

August 11, 1880. “Judy’s” New Holiday Book, THE HUSBAND’S BOAT with 8 full colour pictures. “from Thirty to Forty Pages of Humorous Verses, Essays, and Stories by Charles H. Ross.” One shilling.

“The nineteenth of Judy’s shilling books is even full of more amusement than the first. There is no sign of falling off, no hint of old age or weariness. The longer the excellent old lady lives and the more books she produces, the better they seem to be. Any craft with MR. CHARLES H. ROSS at the helm is likely to be piloted into the pleasantest of waters. As ‘man at the wheel’ on board ‘The Husband’s Boat’ he is more happy than usual. His versatile pen has been turned to the best account in the production of the humorous verse and uproariously comic prose with which the volume abounds. The book is thoroughly amusing from cover to cover, and is the very thing to lounge and laugh over at the sea-side. It is full of excellent illustrations.”- Sunday Times.

“It is full of broad fun, and is capitally illustrated. The stories, essays and verses are by Mr. Ross, and are conspicuous for their vigour and dash. The excellent illustrations are by Judy’s artists, and are in some cases irresistibly comic.” - Lloyd’s Newspaper.

“Here Mr. Ross’s genial and lively pen has turned out some richly comic work. Of course ‘The Husband’s Boat’ refers to the seaside, and so apt and clever are most of the illustrations, that there is quite a refreshing flavour of ozone about them.” - Weekly Times.

“This shilling’s worth of genuine fun is selling by thousands- a well-deserved recognition of the enterprise of the ruling powers at the JUDY office; and seeing that it is the 19th shilling volume, and its stories, essays and verses, written expressly for that work by that master of mirth, Mr. CHAS H. ROSS, it will be the most popular book of the season. The coloured illustrations are exceptionally taking - the fair sex being exhibited with most fascinating faces and forms, and the comic sketches are full of healthy wit.”- Brighton and Sussex Daily Post.

“This is another of Judy’s splendid shilling books, full of fun from the first to the last page.” - Malvern News.

Also selling August 11, 1880 were the Third Edition of ALLY SLOPER’S SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY and ALLY SLOPER’S SUMMER NUMBER “crammed full of sea-side pictures,” for a penny.

The sixth year of ALLY SLOPER’S COMIC KALENDAR (1881) was announced as ready, cost a penny, on September 29, 1880. Contents were LONG STOCKINGS : A Love Story, Bloodshed : Sloper’s Duel, Sloper Out Shooting, SLOPER”S MAGIC “STICKER,” Boot Cleaning Extraordinary, SLOPER’S WORM AND NEXT DOOR’S GOOSE, &c., &c., &c. The shilling “Round Table annual” was titled THE FOUR FLIRTS, by Ernest Warren, author of “The White Cat,” with 50 drawings by Hal Ludlow, a painter, illustrator and wood engraver who contributed to The Illustrated London News. It was favourably reviewed in the Daily Telegraph. Gilbert Dalziel’s PICTORIAL WORLD, An Illustrated Weekly Newspaper (3d.) advertised a coloured supplement, THE FLEETS AT KAGUSA. The supplement for October 23, 1880 was a coloured map of the County of DORSET.

In an article by Charles Ross Junior in ALLY SLOPER’S HALF HOLIDAY titled “Chats At "The Cheese" (No. 7. Dec. 23, 1922,) we read “Gilbert at that time was a splendid businessman, keen, enthusiastic, brainy and energetic, a born journalist and brimful of ideas for 'stunts' for making his papers go, both on the artistic and literary side, and in the equally necessary business departments, publishing, distributing and advertising.”

JUDY’S ALMANACK for 1881 advertised JUDY’S ANNUAL , edited by Chas. H. Ross in a coloured wrapper, one shilling. January 12 1881 brought STAGE WHISPERS AND SHOUTS WITHOUT A Book for Players, Playgoers and the Public Generally, by Chas. H. Ross, with Eight Pages of Coloured Costumes by Archibald Chasemore and Fifty Portraits of Actors and Actresses by Alfred Bryan. The Daily Chronicle said; “There is abundance of comicality, and the book is sure to please the very large circle who take an interest in the stage.”

Ernest Warren followed THE FOUR FLIRTS with THE WHITE CAT, illustrated by Hal Ludlow and engraved by Dalziel Brothers, June 22, 1881 which was noticed by a reviewer for the Sunday Times. The next Round Table Book by Warren and Ludlow was LAUGHING EYES, A Holiday Novelette, already in Press. The Morning Post praised the latest shilling sea-side book ,THE BOOK OF BRIGHTON As It Was and As It Is, featuring cartoons and “Talkee-Talkee” by Chas. H. Ross. “The pictorial illustrations are numerous and pretty, and the volume bids fair to become the standard handbook for London-super-Mare.”

Another of “Judy’s” Sea-Side and Holiday Books was MERMAIDS, with Other Tales, illustrated on every page, eight colour cuts in a coloured wrapper. For August 17, 1881. Warren-Ludlow produced THE QUEEN OF COQUETTES : Her Courtiers and Her Courtships on November 2, 1881.

A group of twenty-four page penny periodicals came out over the Christmas build-up. Monday, November 7 it was “A Boon to Mothers,” ALLY SLOPER’S COMIC KALENDAR FOR 1882, Monday, December 5, THE CATTLE SHOW From Judy’s point of View, and Thursday, December 15, A MERRY CHRISTMAS : From Judy’s point of View. The last two mentioned were Nos. 1 and 2 of a series under the title “JUDY’S COMICAL PENNYWORTHS.”

JUDY’S ANNUAL for 1882 was a shilling and JUDY’S ALMANAC for 1882 three pence. THE CHRISTMAS PICTORIAL WORLD gave away two coloured plates.
January 11, 1882 it was announced that on or after January 23, 1882 “JUDY’S COMICAL PENNYWORTHS” would appear weekly, to be had every Monday morning at all Newsagents, Railway Bookstalls and Booksellers.

The list was now;

No.1 The Cattle Show. December 5, 1881.
No. 2 Merry Christmas. December 15, 1881.
No.3 Pantomimes. Jan. 23, 1882.
No. 4 Valentines. Jan. 30, 1882.
No. 5 The Irish Land Bill. Feb. 6, 1882.
No. 6 Skating. Feb. 13, 1882.

The proprietors offered subscriptions of 3, 6, or 12 months duration for COMICAL PENNYWORTHS. March 13, 1882 featured ‘ARRY WITH THE ‘OUNDS; His Fortunes and Misfortunes, as told by Himself, - A Hunting Story by Cecil Brookes. THE PICTORIAL WORLD (sixpence) was enlarged to 24 pages and along with the usual colour plate was an eight-page supplement with an illustrated serial tale, a Fine Art engraving, a portrait of a Popular Actress, and a page of Theatrical Sketches. THE BILL OF THE PLAY was a shilling Illustrated Record of Dramas, Plays, and Opera Bouffe produced during 1881, and featured a colour cover by Hal Ludlow. THE PICTORIAL YEAR BOOK OF CELEBRITIES was another illustrated record from “Pictorial World” Office which shared the address with “Judy’s Office” at 99 Shoe Lane. Both were out March 8, 1882.

March 15, 1882 the penn’orth was BILL OF THE SALVATION ARMY by Arthur Pask. Dower Wilson illustrated the Coloured Supplement AN ACADEMICAL EXERCISE for the Pictorial World. March 25, 1882 the Coloured Supplement was “JUMBO” IN HIS HAPPY DAYS by Dower Wilson and A. T. Elwes. March 27 Arthur Pask wrote the penn’orth “JUMBO’S” VOYAGE ACROSS THE ATLANTIC, containing as many illustrations as found in the Shilling Books.

Arthur Thomas Pask’s Times obituary said : “Mr. Arthur Pask, author and journalist, died in London on January 7 (1936) at the age of 86. In his time he was connected with many of the then leading papers, and was economics writer at one time for the Standard and the St. James's Gazette. His books included, amongst others, “The Eye of the Thames,” “Two Charms - a Hand in the Cloud,” and in lighter vein, “A Midsummer Madness.” The last mentioned was illustrated by the late Mr. Maurice Greiffenhagen, R.A. Mr. Pask was a prisoner in Germany from 1914-1916. He married Blanche Keene Eyre. His only son, who was in the Artillery before the War, was Captain I. A. J. Pask, D.S.O., M.C., who was killed in action in 1916.”

Maurice Greiffenhagen also contributed to JUDY. Stay tuned....

Judy’s “Jolly Books” 1872 - 1887. Part IV.

One of Gilbert Dalzell’s ‘stunts’ was to issue a coloured supplement in the PICTORIAL WORLD on April 1st, 1882 by Archibald Chasemore titled ‘The Boat Race in ‘36’ at the same time “JUDY’S COMICAL PENN’ORTH” issued on March 29 THE OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE BOAT RACE by H. T. Johnson. For April 6, 1882 the penn’orth was another Arthur Pask effort THREE SHIES A PENNY ! And THE UPS AND DOWNS OF ALLY SLOPER, large size, price sixpence. The WORLD’S supplement was A VOLUNTEER SHAM FIGHT by J. F. Weedon.

March 10, 1882 announced the incorporation of “JUDY’S COMICAL PENN’ORTH” with “THE ROUNDABOUT,” which “will not be composed of gleanings from American Comic Papers and cuttings from Provincial Journals.” The price was a penny for a fully illustrated 16 pages covering Sporting Intelligence and Tips, Society, Military, Athletic, Theatrical, Political, Foreign and University News as well as Comic verse, Stories, Guides, Histories, Japes and Jokes.

“PHIZ” died in Brighton on 12 July, 1882, a bit shy of sixty-seven. His last years had been hard. “Some fifteen years before his death he suffered from incipient paralysis, and furthermore injured his thumb, which obliged him to hold his pencil between his middle and fore-fingers. Gradually this great and graceful artist dropped so far behind in the race of life that he yielded latterly to proposals to illustrate boys’ literature of a very inferior class,” wrote Graham Everitt in English Caricaturists.

Critics had a tendency to ignore the fact that caricaturists like Phiz and Cruikshank wore their fingers to the bone at their craft, and like free-lance journalists had to keep the pot boiling to keep the turkey on the table. “Phiz” later reputation suffered badly from a failure to recognise this fact. Everitt wrote condescendingly that ; “Phiz” drew in latter years for Judy and other comic papers, and it is simple justice to say that his designs are characterized by an utter absence of comic power,” and “In order to carry out an idea, it was necessary that it should be put into his head; for leave him to himself and he could do absolutely nothing.” This last was a calumny repeated in many of the newspaper obituaries. JUDY took note and printed a defense of Hablot Knight Browne on July 19 :

July 19, 1882 A SHILLINGSWORTH OF PHIZ was reprinted. and commencing next week, it was the intention of the proprietors to publish the few remaining PHIZ drawings on hand. Two new Summer shilling books went on sale; FROM LOCK TO LOCK, A Playful Guide to the River Thames, From Teddington to Oxford, by Arthur T. Pask and MARGATE AND RAMSGATE, All About and Round About Them, by Chas. H. Ross.

Moving on a year to April 18, 1883 JUDY’S SHILLINGSWORTH OF HOTCH-POTCH, Important To Scotchmen was published with cartoon ads from James Brown.

Judy’s “Jolly Books” 1872 - 1887. Part V.

April 18, 1883 JUDY’S SHILLINGSWORTH OF HOTCH-POTCH, Important To Scotchmen was published. An ad from May 9, 1883 by artist James Brown is shown above. A new shilling Summer Book was SAUCY SNACKS AND SOLID SENSE : Being a Collection of Jokes and Anecdotes Seasoned and Served Up by Christopher Capsicum and Co.

“A perpetual feast of sharps and sweets,

Where no cruel surfeit reigns.” - Milton (improved.)

LORD EMERALD VINECLUB’S Opinion - “Gentlemen, - I find ‘SAUCY SNACKS’ vivid, racy, and startling, but you are not at liberty to announce my opinion.”- VINECLUB.

The following are a few Opinions of the Press.

“Just the book of merry nonsense to while away an idle hour by the seaside.”- Daily Chronicle.

“Quite a laughter-provoking production.”- Preston Chronicle.

“Full of fun and amusing pictures.” - Boston Guardian.

“Diverting mélange of letterpress and woodcuts.”- Derby Mercury.

“A capital collection of jokes and anecdotes, with comic illustrations.”- Wolverhampton Chronicle.

“Full of comicalities of pen and pencil.” -Torquay Times.

ALLY SLOPER’S SUMMER NUMBER was out on Wednesday, July 4th, 1883 for a penny. The Round Table Annual of September 19, 1883 was Ernest Warren and Hal Ludlow’s A PAIR OF MADCAPS and Charles Ross had a new shilling “Judy Book,” LITTLE SLY-BOOTS A CANDID CONFESSION. The Daily Chronicle said of SLY-BOOTS; “Although viewed through an atmosphere of mirth, and invested with abundance of quaint fancy, the life pictured in this volume abounds with realistic touches.”

November 28, 1883. ALLY SLOPER’S COMIC KALENDAR OF USELESS INFORMATION N. B.- Confirmed inebriates are solemnly assured that this Kalendar does not cause a distaste for alcoholic stimulants. CRACKERS !CRACKERS !! CRACKERS !!! NO ONE KILLED YET read the advertisement for ALLY SLOPER’S COMIC CRACKERS ready on December 6, 1883. The price was sixpence for “hundreds of illustrations and hundreds of short comic stories.”

The next year there was a sixpence title JUDY’S “DON’T ! DON’T YOU KNOW ?” second edition published February 6, 1884, and, on April 2, 1884, JUDY’S POLICE BOOK. THE EYES OF THE LAW: Our Police- Old and New. By the author of “From Lock to Lock.” Judy, on April 30, 1884, carried an important message TO THE PUBLIC. “The FIRST Number of ALLY SLOPER’S HALF-HOLIDAY will be positively published on FRIDAY next, MAY 2nd. Every Saturday, ONE PENNY. Post-free, 1 ½ d.”

From this point on the ALLY SLOPER character disappeared from JUDY except for a few glimpses as a walk-on in MCNAB OF THAT ILK and other cartoons. The eight page ALLY SLOPER’S HALF-HOLIDAY described itself as ‘A Selection, Side-Splitting, Sentimental and Serious, for the Benefit of Old Boys, Young Boys, Odd Boys generally, and even Girls.’ “It is witty and humorous in the extreme, while for quantity it is unsurpassed by any comic weekly. An immense circulation must be in store for it,” said the Frome Times.

May 21, 1884 brought SPORTS SPICED AND PASTIMES PEPPERED, In a Pungent, Aromatic, yet Emollient Manner, by GREENDRAGON and DANDELION. July 23, 1884 was another penny-issue of ALLY SLOPER’S SUMMER NUMBER, and May 21, 1884, JUDY’S GUIDE TO HEALTH, WEALTH, AND HAPPINESS was out for sixpence. The September 17, 1884 issue was BEHIND A BRASS KNOCKER, a shilling book by Chas. H. Ross and Fred Barnard.

Fewer shilling books were advertised on the back pages of JUDY. They were replaced with ads such as : ALLY AT THE “JAPANERIES.” See “SLOPER’S HALF-HOLIDAY” This Week’s- One penny. An eight page Illustrated Weekly Journal for Boys and Girls, “JACK AND JILL,” was advertised in JUDY on March 11, 1885. It was issued every Friday from “FUN” Office, 153 Fleet Street, by Gilbert Dalziel.

The eighth JUDY’S ANNUAL for 1886 was published November 11, 1885. And on November 23, 1885 SLOPER’S COMIC KALENDAR. December 16, 1885 it was the JACK AND JILL CHRISTMAS NUMBER from “FUN” Office. GLADSTONE’S BLUNDERS at sixpence came out on January 20, 1886. James brown added a new comic character, MacYANKEE, to JUDY on June 16, 1886. ALLY SLOPER’S SUMMER NUMBER was selling on August 10, 1886 for a penny, and, for one shilling, Chas. H. Ross’s “OUR LADY QUEEN,” Events Public and Domestic (1819-1886), with Eighty-four Illustrations.

Ernest Warren and Hal Ludlow had a new Round Table Annual, “THREE PRETTY MAIDS” on October 27, 1886. JUDY’S ANNUAL for 1887 (2d.) was published November 17, followed by SLOPER’S COMIC KALENDAR on December 3, 1886. A sixteen-page ALLY SLOPER’S CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS came out December 29, 1886 and cost 2d.

On May 25, 1887 JACK AND JILL, from the “FUN” Office, changed its title to JACK’S JOURNAL. On July 6, 1887 CHARLES HENRY ROSS name as editor was conspicuous in its absence from the JUDY Volume title-page but he continued to contribute his popular theatrical column as THE ONLY JONES. On July 13, 1887 he illustrated it with four cartoons all signed with the old C.H.R. August 15 the penny ALLY SLOPER’S SUMMER NUMBER, “All Pictures,” was published.

“One swallow does not make a Spring.” - Old Proverb.

“But one Sloper makes one Summer Number. This is a truly great work.”- A. SLOPER.

“Sloper ought to know, and it is probably right. I did the pictures.”- C. H. ROSS.

THE SKULL HUNTERS; or, The Warriors of the Wild West, a Prairie Parody by Walter Parke was a shilling novel published on August 17, 1877. The original serial had originally appeared in JUDY on August 7, 1867, and may have been illustrated by Walter Parke who was a caricaturist as well as an author of light works. Another shilling work was A MIDSUMMER MADNESS by Arthur Pask and Maurice Greiffenhagen, august 24, 1887. Two more shilling books were to appear by November 14, 1887; THE BELLE OF ROCK HARBOUR by Clo. Graves and illustrated by Leslie Willson, and; THROUGH MY HEART FIRST by H. T. Johnston and Fred Barnard.

I’ll finish on November 23, 1887. JUDY’S ANNUAL for 1888 had the title “CHILDREN OF BABYLON” and cost a shilling. The Round Table annual was advertised as “MY BOY JACK !” by Ernest warren, illustrated by F.A. Fraser and others. One final ALLY SLOPER’S COMIC KALENDAR for 1888 was now ready, the “best of all Almanacs- full of funny pictures.” and ALLY SLOPER’S HALF-Holiday was serializing George R. Sims “HOW THE POOR LIVE,” with an extra supplement full of illustrations by Frederick Barnard.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mystery Editor: George Borrow Pt. II

I found part II of the George Borrow article from Famous Fights. Part I can be found here > "Mystery Editor Revisited"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Happy Hooligan of Nations

A wonder by Frederick Burr Opper. This is from the British Review of Reviews of W. T. Stead, Volume 25, 1902.

Arthur G. Racey (1870-1941)

I make my bow to the Moon. I saw her in the full and over my left shoulder. Great, therefore, shall be my luck this month. Frankly, I am delighted that we are going to have a comic paper of our own. Life is such a biting, sneering little rat of a paper at all things concerning our British Empire, our flag, ourselves, that I am glad to see we are starting a "comic" of our own, and as the Moon is so very far above Life, she can see all the joke of it, the folly, the satire, the melodrama of the little anthill called earth. Again, my bow to you, O Moon, also one small subscription, for, to tell the truth I am a trifle afraid of you. The paper is a capital one and spares nobody - while it is genial in its satire. All the same, I tell you a snowball from the Moon is calculated to give us a shock now and then. Did you see the Magnates on the first page? If not, why not?

-- Kit. (Review in the Mail and Empire newspaper.)

Chic cartoon from “The Moon,” [Toronto: Moon Publishing Co. v.1-3 [no. 1-54] May 28, 1902 - July 18, 1903] a magazine which boasted the best Canadian cartoonists and illustrators of the period. “Chic” hid the identity of Arthur G. Racey -- a Quebec born cartoonist from the good side of the tracks who had an international reputation. His works were reprinted in Life, the [English] Review of Reviews, Le Monde Illustre, and even the venerable Punch. His home base for many years was the Montreal Star and he was heavily influenced by Opper and Frost. His cartoons were very popular in Japan. Biography HERE.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Humor of John Leech

John Leech caricatures from Four Hundred Humorous Illustrations with Portrait and Biographical Sketch” published by London, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., date unknown, sometime in the sixties. A biographical article of “John Leech” from The Leisure Hour, Dec 1865 can be read HERE.

Author of Black Bess

In 1923 the following request was asked of the readers of Notes & Queries

EDWARD VILES. - Information respecting Edward Viles, part author with the late Dr. F. J. Funivall, of ‘Rogues and Vagabonds in Shakespeare’s Time,’ would be of interest to readers as well as to

A. J. W. Barnes, S.W. 13.

The book referred to was the only book to date discovered bearing Edward Viles (1841-1891) name as author, “The Fraternitye of Vacabondes the groundworke of conny-catching,” published by N. Trubner & Co. for the Early English Text Society in 1869. In 1907 the book was reprinted by Chatto & Windus in the Shakespeare Library series under the title “The Rogues and Vagabonds of Shakespeare’s Youth: Audelay’s ‘Fraternitye of Vacabondes’ and Harman’s ‘Caveat.’”

Edward Viles, unless there were two gentlemen of that name, was an ardent Shakespearean scholar as was shown by his letter headed ‘Shakespeariana’ published in Notes & Queries [5th Series II p. 484] on December 19, 1874. Today he is most remembered for an anonymous penny dreadful; “Black Bess; or, The Knight of the Road, a Tale of the Good Old Times,” published by Edward Harrison on August 8, 1863, when Viles was a youthful twenty-one years of age. This is not as improbable as it seems, many penny dreadful writers were learned in the history of felon literature.

To quote Frank Jay, Black Bess “ran to no less than 254 numbers and 2,028 pages, each number being illustrated. Allowing one number per week, it must have taken nearly five years to complete, a truly marvelous bit of work. The preface to the bound volume is dated 1868, but is it obvious the numbers were issued before that date.”

The heroes of Black Bess all share the good and bad qualities of the amiable criminal, and it would be hard for any reader to resist the highwaymen’s charm. Dick Turpin’s gang consists of Claude Duval, Tom King and Sixteen-string Jack. The four bound novels follow the well-known story of Dick Turpin, his Ride to York, his capture and his execution by hanging, where he voluntarily leaped off the platform to his death. Duval and the rest of the improbable characters are brought in to help alleviate the boredom of a 2028 page work. The author can involve Sixteen String Jack, or Tom King, or Duval or Turpin’s Maud in separate adventures and scrapes and help sustain the mad length of the serial. Captain Hawk is introduced in Book IV, page 1757, while all the characters are still alive. From this point on characters are decimated like flies, Maud is wounded in the breast and is buried in France, Duval is shot in a failed attempt to rescue Sixteen-String Jack, Turpin shoots Tom King, Black Bess is cruelly rode to her death, and Turpin is hung at Tyburn.

I thought till the last minute that the author may have spared Turpin, after all, the same (attributed) author, “Blueskin: a Romance of the Last Century,” (1866) ended with Jack Sheppard heading happily to France and freedom. Black Bess ends with Captain Hawk standing “at the opening of one of the strangest and most vicissitudinous (sic) careers that ever fell to the lot of man.” Captain Hawk is the hero of “The Black Highwayman, being the Second Series of Black Bess; or, The Knight of the Road” begun in 1868 (Frank Jay says 1866-68, running to 86 Nos., 688 pages.) The copy I examined was a re-issue by Harrison in 172 weekly numbers at 688 pages, very different from Jay’s recollection. No title page, no date but a color cover and beautiful color plates.

The last work attributed to Viles was “Gentleman Clifford and his White Mare Brilliant; or, the Ladies’ Highwayman,” from 1864. If all these anonymously published works are from the pen of Edward Viles he must have been a remarkably prolific author to have been carrying on four serials weekly during 1863-1868! Montague Summers said that Viles main weakness was to appear in life as what he was not -- an author. That could be a comment on his wretched writing or it could mean he claimed authorship to works he had no connection with. He was rumored to have commissioned hacks to complete works that he then took the credit for.

Viles was not the only author credited with “Black Bess,” so was the celebrated author of “Minnigrey.” Andrew de Ternant wrote a letter to Notes & Queries [12 S. X. April 29, 1922, p. 333] claiming that “Thomas Catling (many years editor of Lloyd’s Weekly News) informed me in April 1890, that John Frederick Smith was the real author of ‘Black Bess,’ which was published in penny numbers. Mr. Catling said Smith’s remuneration was £3 10s. per week during the publication of the serial story. Smith often said he outlined his ‘Black Bess’ long before the publication of Harrison Ainsworth’s novel [Rookwood] on the same subject, and even thought of submitting his own version to the more popular novelist.”

“A large portion of the first fifty numbers of ‘Black Bess’ was written amid “eighteenth century surroundings” in the old office of Lloyd’s Weekly News ( a century and a half previously occupied by Samuel Richardson) in Salisbury Square, E. C. In fact Mr. Catling showed me the very desk Smith used. John Frederick Smith was always on cordial terms with Edward Lloyd, and was allowed the use of his favourite corner of the room and paper in writing his novels for other publishers.”

This turns out to have been a malicious hoax by Andrew de Ternant, a notorious liar.

So why was “Black Bess” considered the work of Edward Viles by Montague Summers, Frank Jay, Barry Ono, E. S. Turner and every writer since? The earliest known reference was originated by Robert Louis Stevenson in a Scribner’s Magazine article titled “Popular Authors” for July 4, 1888. Earlier, in “A Gossip on Romance,” R. L. S. spoke of his boyhood pleasures in ‘bloods’; “Give me a highwayman and I was full to the brim; a Jacobite would do, but the highwayman was my favourite dish.” Stevenson had progressed from studying lurid woodcuts and exposed text in newsvendor’s windows to the real article, penny dreadfuls in penny parts:

“My fall was brought about by a truly romantic incident. Perhaps the reader knows Neidpath Castle, where it stands, bosomed in hills, on a green promontory; Tweed at its base running through all the gamut of a busy river, from the pouring shallow to the brown pool. In the days when I was thereabout, and that part of the earth was made a heaven to me by many things now lost, by boats, and bathing, and the fascination of streams, and the delights of comradeship, and those (surely the prettiest and simplest) of a boy and girl romance-in those days of Arcady there dwelt in the upper story of the castle one whom I believe to have been the gamekeeper on the estate. The rest of the place stood open to incursive urchins; and there, in a deserted chamber, we (Stevenson and his sister) found some half-a-dozen numbers of Black Bess, or the Knight of the Road, a work by EDWARD VILES.”

The pair took their booty away “and in the shade of a contiguous fir-wood, lying on blueberries, I made my first acquaintance with the art of Mr. Viles.”

Stevenson could not have found the name Edward Viles in those half-a-dozen anonymous numbers so where could he have come across the information so confidently put forth? “Treasure Island; or, the Mutiny of the Hispaniola,” with one woodcut by William Boucher, cartoonist on “Judy,” appeared in Volume 19 of James Henderson’s “Young Folks” from October 1, 1881, to January 28, 1882. He also contributed “The Black Arrow,” running from June to October, 1883, and “Kidnapped,” May to July, 1886.

Councilor J. Wilson Maclaren accompanied R. L. S. through his old haunts in Edinburgh. He remembers “McIndoo’s shooting-gallery, that foul-smelling underground tunnel, near the Royal Exchange. We had six shots each, and Stevenson missed the stone target twice. I was more successful; for I struck the bulls-eye and rang the bell five times, the secret being that most of my time as spent in McIndoo’s when a High Street Boy. The uncanny surroundings and the smell of the gunpowder must have stirred the adventurous memories of R. L. S.; for he confessed to me that, although ten years my senior, he still had a hankering to write for the ‘penny-bloods’ a type of literature such as The Boys of London and New York, to which I was contributing some pirate yarns at that time. Stories such as ‘Sweeney Tod,’ ‘The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,’ ‘Three-fingered Jack,’ ‘Dick Turpin,’ ‘David Haggart,’ ‘Jack Harkaway,’ and ‘Tom Wildrake’s Schooldays,’ were then very popular among youthful readers. The boys’ favourite hero in fiction at that time was ‘Cornelius Dabber’, the timber-legged character much addicted to drinking rum. When ‘Treasure Island’ was published in Young Folks, it seemed to me that the prototype of John Silver was my old friend and hero ‘Cornelius’ turned into a buccaneer.”

[Note; The Waterloo Directory shows two publishers of “The Boys of London and the Boys of New York,” (1877-1900) from James and Robert Jackson in Wigan, Lancashire and “Boys of London and New York,” (1879-1899) from Edwin J. Brett in London. It was a mixture of American stories printed from stereotypes from Canadian born Norman Munro’s “The Boys of New York” and original British stories.]

On 8 February 1924 Sir James Barrie told a story about Stevenson's love of penny dreadfuls during a speech on English Public Schools:

"Many years afterwards Robert Louis Stevenson, writing to me from Samoa of a visit he had lately paid to Sydney, described how he had gone into a booksellers' shop where they showed him all the newest and choicest books. But he said to them, "I want no thoughtful works today; show me 'Sixteen String Jack the Footpad,' or 'Black Bill the Buccaneer.'"

James Henderson recalled (“Bought Treasure Island for Three Dollars a Column” May 18, 1912, Winnipeg Free Press) that during the course of serial publication of “Treasure Island” in November Stevenson was a frequent visitor to the offices of “Young Folks” in Red Lion Court where Henderson gave mid-day gatherings for his authors and editors. In September while awaiting publication of his story R. L. S. was already excitedly planning his next boy’s story for Henderson, to be titled “Jerry Abershaw, a Tale of Putney Heath.” By February 15, 1882 he was asking his friend Henley to send him the “Newgate Calendar.” Roadside inns, felon literature, and highwaymen were constantly on his mind.

W. E. Henley said that “Young Folks” authors such as Alfred R. Phillips, author of the wildly popular serial “Don Zalva the Brave” were “in no wise model citizens; they had their weaknesses, and (on his (Stevenson’s) editor’s report), were addicted to the use of strong waters, so that they had to be literally hunted for their copy.” Stevenson dedicated his novel “The Black Arrow to Phillips.” A serial titled “Sir Claude the Conqueror” appeared a bit previous to “Treasure Island.” An editor’s note on November 12, 1881 regretfully informed the readers that Sir Claude was to be discontinued; “we should not have broken off the story thus suddenly if we had not been forced to do so by circumstances which we need not describe in detail.”

Stevenson wrote to Gosse on November 9, 1881 : “See no. 571, last page; and article, called Sir Claude the Conqueror, and read it aloud in your best rhythmic tones; mon cher, c’est épatant. The story in question, by the by, was a last chance given to it’s drunken author; not Villiers -- that was a nom de plume -- but Viles, brother to my old boyhood’s guide, philosopher and friend, Edward Viles, author of Black Bess and Blueskin : a Romance. There is a byway of literary history for you; and in its poor way, a tragedy also.” 

Two days later he wrote to James Henderson “I was heartily sorry to find your poor friend Viles or Villiers had come to grief. Alas ! a little tragedy in it’s way.” In addition to Viles there were other contributors from the penny dreadful field contributing to “Young Folks” that R. L. S. may have conversed with, Charles Stevens and Percy Bolingbroke St. John. It is not much of a stretch to imagine that Stevenson learned of Viles authorship of “Black Bess” through Henderson’s offices in Red Lion Court, quite possibly from Edward Viles brother Walter.

Edward Henry Viles was born November 21, 1841 at 41 Freeschool Street, St. Olave’s, Southwark, London. “Black Bess; or, The Knight of the Road, a Tale of the Good Old Times,” was published by Edward Harrison on August 8, 1863. Probably he was also involved with Harrison’s “Boys’ Miscellany,” described by Jay as “essentially the first periodical of what we may term the sensational character” which preceded “Black Bess,” appearing weekly from March 7, 1863 to February 27, 1864. The September 19, 1863 issue began serializing the anonymous “Sixteen-String Jack, the Daring Highwayman.”

He was next occupied with “TheYoung Ladies’ Journal” which ran from April 13, 1864 to February 1920 and “The Gentleman’s Journal” running from 1869 to 1872 when it merged with “The Young Ladies’ Journal.” Frank Jay said both periodicals were published by E. Harrison and Edward Viles, so perhaps they had a partnership. Viles had made enough money by 1870 to build and occupy the magnificent Pendryl Hall in Codsall Wood, Stafford, impossibe on the rates paid a penny dreadful hack no matter how prolific he was. By this time he was also assisting the eccentric Frederick James Furnivall with editing “The Fraternitye of Vacabondes.”

Frank Jay said Viles “was also a very keen and ardent collector of “Bloods” and “Penny Dreadfuls.” The writer was told by a well-known secondhand book-seller that Viles engaged him to employ a four wheeled cab and go round to all the old lending libraries and secondhand booksellers and buy up all the books of this kind he came across, and in this manner he acquired an immense stock which, at his death were sold by auction and commanded big prices.”

The (anonymous) works attributed to Edward Viles are;

1863 *Black Bess; or, The Knight of the Road. A Tale of the Good Old Times* Anon. Illustrated by Robert Prowse and others. No. 1 August 8, 1863. E. Harrison, Salisbury Court, Fleet Street.

1864 *Gentleman Clifford and his White Mare Brilliant; or, the Ladies’ Highwayman* Anonymous. Illustrated by Moore and Williamson. London : E. Harrison.

1866 *Blueskin : A Romance of the Last Century* By the author of “Black Bess; or, The Knight of the Road” &c. Illustrated by Robert Prowse and others. Edward Harrison, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street.

1868 * The Black Highwayman, Being the Second Series of Black Bess; or, The Knight of the Road* Illustrated by Robert Prowse. Edward Harrison, Salisbury Square, Fleet Street. Jay has 1866-1868.

A comparison of “Blueskin” to the works of James Malcolm Rymer has convinced me that Rymer was the true author of “Blueskin,” (and possibly of “The Black Highwayman” as well),although he had already covered the story of Blueskin in his masterful 1860 penny dreadful “Edith the Captive; or, The Robbers of Epping Forest.” “Blueskin” and “Black Highwayman” both bore the words “by the author of Black Bess” on the title page to capitalize on the success of the interminable “Black Bess,” a ploy long in use by other publishers. For instance “Tyburn Tree; or, The Mysteries of the Past” By James Lindridge was “by the Author of The Old Manor House,” whose real author was gothic novelist Charlotte Smith.

“Gentleman Clifford” is wretched writing even by penny dreadful standards and bears little resemblance to the style of “Black Bess,” which (if I am correct) leaves one penny dreadful work on Viles resume, and that contested, which bears little resemblance to any of the above mentioned works, “Black Bess; or, The Knight of the Road, a Tale of the Good Old Times.” Even this may have been the joint work of a variety of what historian Bill Blackbeard once termed “pocket hacks,” numerous authors working under the supervision of the author with the contract; i.e. Edward Viles. 

I had always thought that “Black Bess,” was the work of a multitude of hacks but after reading the entire work I can say that the style is remarkably consistent throughout, and the entire work shows that it is not just a series of improbable captures and escapes ad infinitum, but was carefully planned and plotted from the start.

*Photo of Pendryl Hall courtesy Trefor Thomas. Thanks to Peter Ross.