Saturday, September 26, 2015

McDougall’s Good Stories for Children

[1] 1903, February 15


“REALLY, it seems as if the artist-author must have fed upon a steady diet of Welsh rarebits, at 11 o’clock at night, to have originated such a marvelous menagerie of strange beasts as are pictured in this book.” review of The Rambillicus Book, 1903 

[2] 1903, September 25
McDougall’s Good Stories for Children. From 1902 to 1905 author, cartoonist and illustrator Walt McDougall (1858-1938) published weekly full-page fantasy stories for children in the Sunday editions of American newspapers. The best of the first few year’s crop were reprinted in The Rambillicus Book; Wonder Tales for Children From 7 to 70, which was published in November 1903 by George W. Jacobs Co.

[3] 1903, April 5
FIRST. McDougall’s first newspaper illustrations were published in the Extra, a short lived paper from 1884. From there he moved to the New York World. In 1884 the World began the — allegedly — first series of daily political cartoons ever to appear in a newspaper. McDougall drew the first series and one cartoon based on Belshazzar’s Feast was credited with winning Grover Cleveland the White House.

[4] 1903, June 28
STRIPS. McDougall’s comic strip history is best remembered by his Sunday page illustration to L. Frank Baum’s Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz (1904-05). This strip was preceded by Fatty Felix (1902) and in the colored supplements followed by Hank the Hermit (1912). In the late 1910s McDougall was drawing a one-panel, called Over Here (1918) as well as a daily strip named Absent Minded Abner (1915-19).

[5] 1902, November 2
LAST. One March afternoon in 1938 Walt McDougall, who had been living alone for twenty years, less than a month after his eightieth birthday, shot himself with a “horse-pistol” at his farmhouse at the Niantic River road in Waterford, Connecticut, and died. His diaries referenced the “tough times” he had endured in his latter years. McDougall was already known as “the dean of American cartoonists” then, a title he must have inherited from Charles Green Bush.

[6] 1903, August 2
[7] 1903, February 1
[8] 1903, February 8
[9] 1904, January 31
[10] 1903, October 18
[11] Hank the Hermit, 1912, October 27
[12] 1902, November 16
[13] March 1888, signed photograph.
[14] ca. 1900, McDougall portrait by unnamed artist.


WALT M’DOUGALL IS FOUND DEAD — Dean of American Cartoonists Is Declared a Suicide by Medical Examiner. — By the Associated Press. — WATERFORD, Conn., March 7. — Walt McDougall, dean of American cartoonists, author and humorist, was found dead yesterday on a couch in his Fern Lane farmhouse. Dr. Frank Dunn, medical examiner, said McDougall’s right hand clutched an old-fashioned “horse pistol” and that his death was suicide. The 80-year-old Mr. McDougall was found by four boys who went to the Niantic River road farmhouse to pay him a visit. Mr. McDougall, generally regarded as the first American cartoonist, contributed to the old New York World and to the Philadelphia North American. He also did strips for the McClure Syndicate and nationally known magazines. Among his better known ones were “Absent Minded Abner,” “Fatty Felix,” “Hank The Hermit,” “Teddy In Africa” and the Rambillaux series. He was a personal friend of the late Theodore Roosevelt and covered the White House during his presidential regime.
[The Evening Star, March 7, 1938, page A-2]


  1. Thank you for bringing this artist to my attention, his work is absolutely delightful. I'm going to look him up at my library, pronto!

  2. Wow, such detail and imagination. So sorry to hear he was an unhappy individual in his latter years, especially after sharing so much joy to others. Thanks for sharing his story and work; I'll certainly be looking for some of his stuff.

  3. Wonderful read. I knew the 'Boogieman' started somewhere.