Jacob “Jack” Meltzer was born on May 1, 1914, in the Bronx, New York, New York, according to the New York, New York Birth Index at Ancestry.com. His parents were Samuel C. Meltzer and Ruth Weisberg.
The 1915 New York state census said Meltzer (line 30) was the youngest of two brothers. The family of four were Bronx residents at 771 East 181st Street. His father was a post office employee.
In the 1920 United States Census, the Meltzers (lines 87 to 90) resided in the Bronx at 765 Garden Street.
The same address was in the 1925 New York state census. Meltzer is on line 35.
According to the 1930 census, fifteen-year-old Meltzer, his parents and two siblings lived at 2704 Kingsbridge Terrace in the Bronx. It’s not known which public schools he attended. The Berkshire Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts), May 8, 1991, said he “completed his schooling with the Art Students League in New York City.”
Meltzer found work at Harry “A” Chesler’s comic book shop. The Grand Comics Database and Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said he did lettering circa 1936 to 1937. About the Chesler shop, Editor & Publisher, March 20, 1937, said
There are 11 cartoonists in the 22-man organization. Three men do nothing but lettering for the artists, and special features writers prepare the continuity.
Meltzer may have been one of the three letterers.
On April 25, 1938, Meltzer and Sylvia Ethel Litinsky obtained, in Brooklyn, marriage license number 6630. They married on May 1, 1938.
The 1940 census counted Meltzer and his wife in his mother-in-law’s household. The address was 1303 East 40th Street in the Bronx. Meltzer was a commercial artist who earned $1,440 in 1939. His highest level of education was the fourth year of high school.
On October 16, 1940, Meltzer signed his World War II draft card. His description was five feet six inches, 152 pound, with brown eyes and hair. The freelance artist’s address changed several times.
The Grand Comics Database credits Meltzer and Bill Madden for the “Chuck” art in Super-Mystery Comics, volume 5, number 2, October 1945. “On second page there are paper signs behind the bar reading: ‘Meltzer Seltzer’ and ‘Maddy-Delight’.”
According to the 1950 census, Meltzer and his wife had two daughters, Isabel and Leslie. Also in the household was his mother-in-law. They lived in Manhattan at 251 West 71st Street. Meltzer was an advertising director at a radio advertising company.
The Berkshire Eagle said
Mr. Meltzer was a free-lance art director, advertising consultant and graphic layout artist, contracting with several major corporations.He was an accomplished artist in both writing and painting and a prolific photographer.He moved to Stockbridge in May 1989 from Huntington, L.I., where he had been a founder of the Huntington Art League. [He probably knew Creig Flessel.]
Meltzer passed away on May 7, 1991, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. An obituary appeared in the Berkshire Eagle, May 8, 1991.
(Next post on Monday: Design & Layout)