Saturday, April 30, 2011

Cartoonist of the Month-Apr. 2011

Jack H. Smith (?-?)

Jack H. Smith is a cartoonist seemingly lost in the dim past. He was one of three brothers who attended Indiana University. Jack started out majoring in mathematics before switching to philosophy. One of his professors suggested that he submit his drawings for publication, and that's how his career in art began. Smith became editor, illustrator, and staff of the inaugural issue of the I.U. Illustrator in November 1897. After five years in Bloomington and some cartooning experience under his belt, he went to work for the Indianapolis Press in about 1899. His canine mascot (also called a dingbat), dubbed "Calamity," was well known to Indianapolis newspaper readers at the time. When the Press folded in 1901, Smith went to the Nashville News before returning to Indianapolis to become front-page cartoonist for the Indianapolis Journal. Jack H. Smith's trail then goes cold. By about 1910, he was working in New York City. He may have done work for Judge, the humor magazine. Nothing more is known of his life or career. If anyone has any information, please send it my way.

A cartoon from Judge from about 1910. This is actually the first of two panels, the second of which is signed "J.H. Smith." Is that the Hoosier cartoonist Jack H. Smith? The time and place are right, and the name matches, but how many Smiths are there in the world? In any case, that's a fine horse and cowboy and a drawing well worth a second look, even after one hundred years.
Text and captions copyright 2011 by Terence E. Hanley

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