[PW] Dairy publications from 1939 (I need all the help I can get)
mike.hindin at gmail.com
Tue Jul 2 07:31:19 PDT 2019
Check Rutgers University library. NJ and surrounding states were big dairy
producers back then.
On Tue, Jul 2, 2019, 2:05 AM Casey Roberson <CASEY.ROBERSON at uga.edu> wrote:
> I got a reference question a couple of weeks ago from Mort Walker (creator
> of Beetle Bailey)'s old assistant, who himself is a comics historian. He's
> putting together a definitive biography of Mr. Walker's career. He came to
> us looking for 1940 issues of American Dairy Review; I assume University of
> Georgia came up first in the list for him through WorldCat. According to
> two different sources (Mort Walker: Conversations and Mort Walker's Private
> Scrapbook), Mort Walker published a strip in American Dairy Review when he
> was 16 (so, 1939 and/or 1940) called "Sunshine and Shadow". Two examples of
> the strip exist; it deals with the personality differences of the two
> titular Chinese-caricature (read: racistly-drawn) characters.
> Here's the thing: American Dairy Review didn't exist in 1939/1940. It was
> American Milk Review then, and changed to American Dairy Review in 1965. I
> checked our 1940 issues of this dairy trade publication: other than two or
> three single-panel wordless gags, American Milk Review was a pretty staid
> magazine in 1940. I checked some late 1940s and 1950s volumes-even the 1965
> volume-and though the magazine had more comics over the years, I found no
> strip titled "Sunshine and Shadow".
> At this point, I wanted to verify if the title was correct. I checked the
> Union List. I checked Pre-1956 Imprints. I checked N.W. Ayer & Son's
> Directory. I don't see any titles beginning with American Dairy, though
> there were Pacific Dairy Review, American Butter Review, American Produce
> Review, Dairy Record, etc. I'm waiting on ILL requests for some of these,
> though I suspect that they're just as serious publications as American Milk
> Review was. I feel 99% confident now that, if there was an American Dairy
> Review in 1939, no library was ever willing to admit to owning it. Besides,
> Mort Walker was a 16-year-old in Kansas City, Missouri. He had a comic
> strip in his local paper at the age of 13, but even three years later,
> landing a regular strip in a trade publication in another state still seems
> like too unlikely an accomplishment.
> So I had to start thinking in different directions. Could, perhaps, Mort
> Walker (and/or this comics historian) have misread his own notes? He lived
> in Amarillo prior to moving to Kansas City. Might he have written Amarillo
> One obituary for Mort Walker, in The Comics Journal, says that he worked
> "as staff cartoonist on a dairy company publication". That's quite a
> different claim than the two books mentioned above, one that I don't think
> you can come up with if you're reading those books unless you're really
> playing fast and loose. So I've got an email out to the author of that
> obituary asking whether he had found a third source about this comic strip.
> I'm still waiting to hear back from him.
> In the meantime, I asked the Kansas City Public Library for dairy listings
> in 1939 and 1940. There were both an Aines Farm Dairy, and an American
> Dairies, Inc. Again, could Mort (or his erstwhile assistant) have misread
> something? I have asked the assistant but I made the mistake of asking more
> than one question in a single email, and that's the one that was
> overlooked. I'll have to ask again to see if there is a source other than
> the two Mort Walker books-say, a diary or a scrapbook--where American Dairy
> Review is written by hand. But if a local dairy had its own newsletter,
> this sounds far more likely a publication than a trade journal. Before you
> ask-my searches in WorldCat and Google turn up zilch for publications from
> either one of those dairies.
> I've already been told that I've long since passed "above and beyond", but
> I'll admit to feeling somewhat professionally threatened by this question.
> It shouldn't be this difficult to track down a published, documented comic
> strip from only 80 years ago, should it?
> I plan to call the assistant later today to attempt to pin him down on
> where the name American Dairy Review actually appears, and I also plan to
> call the Kansas City Public Library again, as well as the State Historical
> Society of Missouri.
> But past that, short of traveling to Kansas City, MO, looking up old
> records for local dairies, and knocking on the doors of the owners'
> descendants, are there any other next steps?
> Casey Roberson
> Research & Instruction Librarian for Public Health
> Zell B. Miller Learning Center 373
> Project Wombat - Project-Wombat-Open
> list at project-wombat.org
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