Monday, March 20, 2023

Comics: Barbara Clark Fogel (not Vogel), Timely Artist

Alter Ego #13, March 2002, published an early 1940s photograph of the Timely bullpen. The photograph was provided by artist Dave Gantz who was interviewed by Jim Amash. When Gantz identified the people for Amash, I suspect Fogel was misheard as Vogel. Here are my findings.

Barbara Clark was born on February 14, 1915, in Portland, Oregon, according to the Oregon birth certificate transcription at Her parents were William Dennison Clark and Mary Elisa Green who lived at 1069 Thurman Street in Portland.

The 1920 United States Census recorded Barbara as the youngest of three siblings who were Elizabeth and William. The family lived in Riverdale, Oregon.  

According to the 1930 census, Barbara, her mother and brother were in the household of her mother’s sister, Dorothy Green. They resided at 417 Michigan Avenue, in Saginaw, Michigan. 

Barbara attended Arthur Hill High School. Below are details of four group photographs from the 1931 Legende yearbook.

Barbara’s father passed away in May 30, 1932 in Salem, Oregon. 

At some point before 1935 (based on the 1940 census), Barbara, her family and aunt moved to New York City where Barbara may have studied art. When and where she met artist and muralist Seymour Fogel is not known. On November 6, 1936, Barbara and Fogel obtained a Manhattan marriage license and married that day. Barbara’s sister, Elizabeth, was a witness. (Barbara’s aunt, Dorothy Green married Joseph Badger, who was in advertising, on December 24, 1936. Barbara’s mother was a witness.)

Barbara and Fogel signed petitions supporting New York City Communist Party candidates for the 1936 and 1939–1940 elections. 

Barbara and Fogel have not yet been found in the 1940 census. Her mother lived alone in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her brother was a Bodie, California resident. Her sister has not been found. Her aunt was in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Fogel signed his World War II draft card on October 16, 1940. The address was 70 East 12th Street in Manhattan. The address was updated twice, first at 159 West 23rd Street, and second at General Delivery in Safford, Arizona, where, under a WPA program, Fogel painted a mural at the post office. 

Barbara found work at Timely Comics in the early 1940s but it’s not clear which comics she contributed to. She is not listed at Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 and the Grand Comics Database. Mystic Comics #2, Fall 1944, published an Angel story, “Blueprint For Destruction”, with a villain named Fogel. Her comics career ended by 1946 when she moved to Austin, Texas. That same year, Fogel made his debut according to Art Digest, February 1, 1946. 

In the 1950 census, Barbara, her husband, daughter “Gail” [Gayle], and son Jared, lived in Austin, Texas at 2410 Leon Street. 

Barbara and Fogel’s house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Here are excerpts from the application at the Texas Historical Commission
... Fogel moved to Texas with his wife Barbara and baby daughter Gayle in 1946 to teach art at the University of Texas. In 1952, Fogel purchased the Hachenberg barn and set about turning it into his new home and studio with the help of his friend and local architect Harold E. (Bubi) Jessen and carpenter Joe (Austin Joe) Williams. Although Jessen drew up the blueprints of the house for city permits, Fogel designed the house and built it together with Williams (Laurel, 2002.) They completed the single story Usonian style house in 1953. At the time, the Fogel House was reportedly the only structure of its type in Austin. 

... Fogel sold the house and property to Mildred Ferguson in 1960. ... Fogel moved to Connecticut in 1960 and established a studio in Manhattan. ... 
Barbara’s son, Jared, said the family moved in 1959 and “In the early 1960s, he [Fogel] rented a home in Weston, Connecticut, and maintained studios in New York City, first at East 17th Street and later a loft on Canal Street.” The 1972 Weston, Connecticut city directory listed the Fogels at 68 Georgetown Road.

Barbara passed away on October 17, 1980, in Norwalk, Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Death Index at Her last residence was in Weston. Her husband passed way on December 4, 1984. 

Further Reading
Barbara was the source for an article about her grandfather, Charles H. Clark, published in Arizona Highways, September 1957. (Free download at the Arizona Memory Project.) 

Vintage Texas Paintings, Seymour Fogel 

Russell Tether Fine Arts Associates, “The American Scene and Public Art During the Great Depression”
The article has a quote by Barbara about Diego Rivera’s mural at Rockefeller Center.

Women in Comics Posts

Monday, March 13, 2023

Alphabets: Stunt Roman by Ross F. George

Ross F. George and W. H. Gordon were the inventors of the Speedball pens. George’s Speedball alphabet, Stunt Roman, was an inspiration to other designers

The Speedball Text Book 10th Edition (1927) did not have this alphabet. The first showing of Stunt Roman appeared in the Speedball Text Book 11th Edition (1929). Two versions of George’s monogram also appeared in the book: on page six and between the words Stunt and Roman. 

Stunt Roman appeared in the Speedball Text Book 12th Edition (1935). 

The Speedball Text Book 13th Edition (1937) is not available for online viewing. In Phototypography: A Guide to In-House Typesetting and Design (1980), Allan Haley said 
... University Roman was first called Stunt Roman and was an example of hand lettering. The alphabet dates back to 1937 and owes its origin to the humble Speedball lettering pen. In conjunction with their product line of artist’s pens, the Speedball Company published an idea-book for young designers. University Roman was first shown in one of these books and titled Stunt Roman. ...
In the Speedball Text Book 14th Edition (1941), some of the letterforms evolved from the 1929 version and probably appeared in the 13th edition. Compass pinholes are visible in several letters. George also designed a new monogram.

The date looks like 1934

11th Edition

14th Edition

11th Edition

14th Edition

11th Edition

14th Edition

11th Edition

14th Edition

15th Edition (1948) with figures

Stunt Roman with figures appeared in the Speedball Text Book 16th Edition (1952), Speedball Textbook 17th Edition (1956), Speedball Text Book 18th Edition (1960; George’s monogram removed from alphabet) and other editions. The 24th edition has a page with many of George’s monograms

Monday, March 6, 2023

Comics: Alberta Tews, Writer, Assistant Editor and Letterer

Alberta Emma Tews was born on October 28, 1917, in New York, New York, according to her Social Security application at Tews parents were Albert August Tews and Emma Bodach. 

The Tews family has not yet been found in the 1920 United States Census. 

The 1930 census recorded Tews, her parents and older sister, Wanda, in Weehawken, New Jersey at 1802 Willow Avenue. Her father was a barge captain. Some time after 1935 the family moved. 

The Jersey Journal (Jersey City, New Jersey), January 29, 1932, mentioned Tews, a Woodrow Wilson High School student, who performed a newsboy dance on the International Night program. 

Tews was a member of the Mecca Assembly, Order of the Rainbow for Girls, Doric Temple in Union City. The Jersey Journal, January 20, 1933, said she was the color Green officer. According to the Jersey Journal, September 9, 1933, Tews, of West New York, was the chaplain. Jersey Journal, January 18, 1935, reported her as drill leader. 

According to the 1940 census, Tews and her parents were Brooklyn, New York residents at 175 34th Street. Tews was employed as a clerk at a business office. 

Tews was named next of kin on her father’s World War II draft card that was signed on April 27, 1942. Her home address was the same. 

Tews had a brief career in the comic book industry. Tews was credited for scripting the Miss Victory story in Captain Fearless Comics #2, September 1941. Her name appeared as Al. Tews on the splash page. Miss Victory appeared in Captain Aero Comics, #12, June 1942. Tews used the pseudonym Tuesday on The Ragman story in Cat-Man Comics, #7, January 1943. The Grand Comics Database has a few more of Tews’s 1940s credits. It’s doubtful she did any comics during the 1950s because she had a family in Michigan. 

Jim Amash interviewed Vincent Fago, of Timely Comics, in Alter Ego #11, November 2001. Fago said
Alberta Tews was also a freelance letterer. One day she came in and told me she'd had her teeth knocked out playing basketball the day before. She said it was no big deal because they were false teeth, even though she was a young girl.
Tews’ comics career ended when she joined the military. The Brooklyn Eagle (New York), February 22, 1943, reported the start of her service. 
Three Borough Women Are Among First in N.Y. to Join Marine Corps

Three Brooklynites are among the first 14 women to join the Marine Corps Women’s Reserve in this area. They were sworn in as privates Saturday by Lt. Col. Frank V. McKinless, in charge of the Office of Procurement and Women’s Reserve Recruiting at 33 Pine St., Manhattan. 

The “Ipathernecks” from this borough are Alberta Tews of 175 34th St., assistant editor of a comic magazine publishing firm, and Dorothy Lonergan and Mary Jingold, telephone operators, both of 2421 E. 38th St.

The recruits will begin training at Hunter College on March 5 and after a six-week indoctrination course will receive two weeks of marine corps instruction. Women officer candidates begin training at Smith College on March 13.

The Brooklyn Eagle, April 6, 1943, said “Enlisted marines at the Bronx training school are ... Alberta Tews of 175 34th St. …”

In North Carolina, Tews met another Marine, Forrest Willard Van Dorn. They married on March 4, 1944 in Craven, North Carolina. 

The July 15, 1944 Brooklyn Eagle said “Alberta E. Tews of 175 34th St. has been promoted to corporal at Cherry Point, N.C.”

According to a January 1945 Marine Corps muster roll, at, Tews was a sergeant and mechanic at the Aviation Women’s Reserve Headquarters Squadron 18, AWRG-1 U.S.M.C. Air Station, Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Her husband’s address was updated on his draft card. RFD #1, McComb, Hancock, Ohio was crossed out and replaced with 102 Reading Avenue and then 91 Sharp Street, Hillsdale, Michigan. 

The 1950 census counted Tews, her husband and daughter, Vena, in Hillsdale at 205 Oak Haven. Tews was a housewife and her husband a truck driver. 

There was an Alberta Van Dorn, Alberta VanDorn and Al Van Dorn who contributed to The Craftsman, a magazine about leather crafts. The name appeared in The Craftsman Annual Index, Volume 7, 1962–1963; The Craftsman Annual Index, Volume 9, 1964–1965; and The Craftsman Annual Index, Volume 10, 1965–1966. 

At some point, Tews and her husband retired to Bowman, Georgia. Their address was 453 Herndon Circle. He passed away on March 15, 1996. Four years later, Tews passed away on May 21, 2000 in Georgia.

Women in Comics Posts

(Next post on Monday: Stunt Roman by Ross F. George)

Monday, February 27, 2023

Lettering: Vincent Pacella, Photo-Lettering Inc. and ITC

Vincent Anthony Pacella was born on September 11, 1934, in Manhattan, New York, New York, according to the New York, New York, Birth Index at His full name was recorded in the Index to Public Records, 1994–2019, also at

In the 1940 United States Census, Pacella was the oldest of two brothers born to Anthony and Margaret. His father was a textile finisher. They resided at 2460 Hoffman Street in the Bronx.

According to the 1950 census, Pacella, his parents, brother and sister, Phylis, lived in the Bronx at 625 Crescent Avenue on the 1st floor. 

Pacella was a student at New York City’s School of Industrial Art (known today as the High School of Art and Design). He graduated in 1952. 

In Life with Letters--as They Turned Photogenic (1981), Edward Rondthaler mentioned Pacella several times. On page 184 is a layout of the Photo-Lettering office in 1952 and a list of employees from 1936 to 1954. Pacella joined Photo-Lettering in 1953 when he was nineteen years old. However, Pacella was mentioned in the chapter about the year 1951, page 73. At that time he was seventeen and a student. 

On April 9, 1955, Pacella and Anne Queally obtained a marriage license in the Bronx. Rondthaler said she joined Photo-Lettering in 1954 and was “at the switchboard and typewriter”.

In the chapter about 1956, Rondthaler wrote
After a few years Vincent Pacella, returning from military service abroad, took over the night leadership and measured up ably to its rigorous requirements. Vince had the art school background, mechanical aptitudes, warm personality, reliability, self-starting zip and artistic perception that have made him a versatile photo-letterer and are rapidly making him an able type designer. I’ve always had a high regard for the advice he gives a promising newcomer: “If you want to be a photo-letterer never ride the subway without studying the ads in the car, Figure out how you’d photo-letter them in the most efficient way. Mentally match each style on an ad with one of ours. Then verify it when you get hold of a catalog. Remember its name and number. There’s no better way to train yourself. Keep doing it until it becomes a habit and you enjoy it.” No doubt it was Vince’s thousands of subway and commuter rides that developed in him keen sensitivity to alphabet design and identification. Photo-Lettering has quite a few who are remarkably skilled in style identification, but I doubt if anyone anywhere is as skilled as Vince. 
For the International Typeface Corporation, Pacella produced ITC Cushing (1982) and ITC Pacella (1987). 

1982, ITC Cushing specimen book
... ITC Cushing, issued under license from American Type Founders Company, was designed by Vincent Pacella, and features, in addition to the large x-height in popular use today, and the neat letterfit accommodated by photographic and digital typesetters, the long, bracketed serifs of the ATF version. The capitals were changed to better match the weight of the lowercase letters. In the italics, the sloping serifs of the original were changed to linear type serifs. Another modification, in the interest of improved letterfit and ease of readability, is a new point at which ascenders join the capital letters. ...

U&lc., May 1987, announced the release of ITC Pacella. 
Vincent Pacella has been vitally involved in every typeface that ITC has released. He oversees and directs the exacting process of preparing master artwork for ITC Subscriber companies. As part of this process he must fine-tune character spacing, make subtle but important changes to character shapes, ensure design consistency within each typeface and throughout a family. On occasion he has added characters missing from supplied renderings, and even worked in harmony with the original type designer to fill out a family range. …
1987, ITC Pacella specimen book
Vincent Pacella has been vitally involved in every typeface that ITC has released. He has created hundreds of display typestyles for Photo-Lettering, Inc. in New York, as well as ITC Cushing for International Typeface Corporation. ITC Pacella is the second ITC release created by Mr. Pacella and the first to carry his name. ...

U&lc., May 1987

Pacella passed away on October 28, 2009. The Social Security Death Index said his last known residence was West End, North Carolina. 

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