Monday, September 4, 2017

Comics: Harry G. Peter, Illustrator and First Wonder Woman Artist


Henry “Harry” George Peter was born on March 8, 1880 in San Rafael, California, according to his World War II draft card. The same date was recorded on Peter’s World War I draft card.

Census, marriage, military and directory information are from Ancestry.com.


1880 United States Federal Census
Home: San Rafael, California
Name / Agee / Occupation
Louis Peter, 39 (born in France), tailor
Louisa Peter, 37 (born in France)
Louis Peter, 8
Mary Peter, 3
Henry Peter, 2 months

1900 United States Federal Census
Home: San Rafael, California
Name / Agee / Occupation
Louis Peter, 59; merchant tailor
Louise Peter, 57
Louis Peter, 28, tailor
Mary Peter, 23, milliner
Harry Peter, 20, newspaper illustrator

1900 United States Federal Census
Home: 323 or 325 Grant Avenue, San Francisco, California
Name / Age / Occupation
Harry G Peter, 20, newspaper artist

1900 San Francisco, California, City Directory
Name: H G Peter
Occupation: Artist, Examiner [newspaper]
Residence: San Rafael

1901 San Francisco, California, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Occupation: Artist, Bulletin [newspaper]
Residence: San Rafael

California, Voter Registration c1902
Name: Harry G Peter
Residence Place: Marin, California

1903 San Francisco, California, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Occupation: Artist, Bulletin
Residence: San Rafael

1904 San Francisco, California, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Occupation: Artist, Bulletin
Residence: San Rafael

1905 San Francisco, California, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Occupation: Artist, Bulletin
Residence: San Rafael

The Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake
Like many artists, Peter eventually moved to New York City.


San Francisco Chronicle

(California)
December 12, 1906
Newspaper Artists Make Annual Exhibit
The annual exhibition work of the newspaper artists of San Francisco opened yesterday with a good attendance and much interest, in Calvary Church, at Fillmore and Jackson streets, and will continue until Saturday. This is the third annual exhibit of the Newspaper Artists’ League.

The artists represented by drawings and sketches are: V. Nahl, H.A. Igoe, J.M. Kelly, A.L. Houchin, Dan Sweeney, C.W. Rohrhand, S.E. Armstrong, R.F. Thompson, W. Francis, Frank A. Todhunter, Fred J. Behrie, R.W. Borough, Atlee F. Hunt, M. Del Mue, L. Maynard Dixon, Theo Langguth, H.G. Peter, W.R. de Lappe, L.R. Foss, H.C. [“Bud”] Fisher, Joseph A. Marion, R.M. Stagg, Sylvan Schul, R.L. Goldberg, William Stevens, H.R. Chapin, Laura E. Foster, Adonica Fulton [Peter’s future wife], J.V.S. Sternberg, H.G. Roth and J.W. Cantrell.

There are 267 subjects in the exhibition of sketches and drawings, and the first day’s sale was satisfactory. The exhibit is open both afternoon and evening.

1907 San Francisco, California, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Occupation: Artist, Chronicle [newspaper]
Residence: 1132 Buchanan

1908 San Francisco, California, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Occupation: Artist, Chronicle
Residence: 1132 Buchanan

1910 United States Federal Census
not found

The Outing Magazine
September 1910
Animals of Prey by Harry G. Peter

New York City, Marriage Indexes
Name: Henry Peter
Marriage Date: January 16, 1912
Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York City
Spouse: Adonica Fulton
Certificate Number: 1621

Puck
December 4, 1912
The Spirit of Xmas

The Judge
September 6, 1913
Revue of the Zoo by H.G. Peters
(follows contents page)

The Judge
October 18, 1913
Revue of the Tube Skirt by H.G. Peters
(follows contents page)
The Language of Flowers and Its Echoes by H.G. Peter
(precedes “The Modern Woman”)

The Judge
November 1, 1913
Revue of the Family by H.G. Peters
(follows contents page)

The Judge
November 15, 1913
Revue of the Horse Show by H.G. Peters
(follows contents page)

Find a Grave
Louise Peter, 1843–December 3, 1914 (Peter’s mother)

World War I Draft Registration Card
Name: Henry George Peter
Address: 526 West 122 Street, Manhattan, New York, New York
Birth Date: 8 March 8, 1880
Occupation: Newspaper Artist, New York American
Nearest Relative: Antonia [sic] F. Peter
Height/Build: Medium/Medium
Color of Eyes/Hair: Black/Black
Signature: September 12, 1918

1920 United States Federal Census
Home: 71 Central Avenue, Staten Island, Richmond County, New York
Name / Age / Occupation
Henry G Peter, 39, newspaper artist

Printers’ Ink
February 26, 1920
[advertisement]

H. G. PETER
Mr. Peter is now a member of this organization. He has been added to our staff because of his wide experience as a black and white artist, and a colorist of infinite imagination. Mr. Peter is also a specialist in animal and Western subjects, which gives his prowess an added value and wider scope.

It is the aim of this organization to thus meet all demands upon it for highest class pictorial co-operation on any subject whatsoever.

Louis C. Pedlar, Inc.Counsellors in Art95 Madison Av

Board of Elections of the City of New York
December 31, 1921
List of Enrolled Voters, First Assembly District, Borough of Richmond
page 14: Peter, Adonica, 63 Portland pl….Socialist

1922 New York, New York, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Business Address: 49 Wall Street
Employer: PZK Services

1925 New York, State Census
Residence Place: 63 Portland Place, Staten Island New York
Name / Age / Occupation
Harry G Peter, blank
Adonica Peter, blank

1925 New York, State Census
Name: Henry G Peter
Residence Place: Portland Place, Staten Island New York
Name / Age / Occupation
Henry G Peter, 45; artist
Adonica Peter, 40; house work

College Life
Harry G. Peter illustration
December 1928, January 1929, February 1929

1930 United States Federal Census
Home: Staten Island, New York
Name / Age / Occupation
Henry G Peter, 47, artist
Adonica Peter, 48, none

Find a Grave
Louis Peter, 1841–December 10, 1932 (Peter’s father)

1940 United States Federal Census
Home: 63 Portland Place, Staten Island, New York
Name / Age / Occupation
Henry Peter, 60, newspaper artist
Adonica Peter, 60, blank


In 1941 Peter sent Wonder Woman costume designs to Dr. William M. Marston, the creator of the super heroine.

All Star Comics
#8, October 1941
Wonder Woman’s first appearance

#1, January 1942
Wonder Woman is the lead feature

The New York Times
April 15, 1942
Business Lease...Harry G. Peter, cartoonist, in 130 W 42d St—Albert B. Ashforth, Inc, brokers.

Wonder Woman

#1, Summer 1942

World War II Draft Registration Card
Name: Harry George Peter
Birth Date: March 8, 1880
Birth Place: San Rafael, California
Residence: 63 Portland Place, Staten Island, New York
Occupation: Self, 130 West 42th Street
Nearest Relative: Louis Peter [brother], 1240 4th Street, San Rafael, California
Height/Build: 5’ 7.5”
Color of Eyes/Hair: Brown/Gray
Signature: April 26, 1942


1942 New York, New York, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Business Address: 130 West 42nd Street
Telephone: WI sconsin 7-7950

1943 New York, New York, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Business Address: 331 Madison Avenue
Telephone: MU rryhll 2-1033

Marston and Peter’s Wonder Woman comic strip debuted May 8, 1944 and ended December 1, 1945. It was distributed by King Features Syndicate.

1945 New York, New York, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Business Address: 331 Madison Avenue
Telephone: MU rryhll 2-1033

1946 New York, New York, City Directory
Name: Harry G Peter
Business Address: 331 Madison Avenue
Telephone: MU rryhll 2-1033

New York, New York, Death Index
Name: Adonica Peter
Age: 64
Death Date: September 20, 1947
Death Place: Staten Island, New York

New York, New York, Death Index
Name: Harry Peter
Age: 77
Death Date: January 2, 1958
Death Place: Staten Island, New York

Daily Independent Journal
(San Rafael, California)
January 4, 1958

Cartoonist Harry Peter Dies in N.Y.
Harry G. Peter, San Rafael-born cartoonist who drew “Wonder Woman,” died of a heart attack Thursday [January 2] in Staten Island, N.Y., it was reported today by Kenneth Irwin of San Rafael. Irwin is the husband of Peter’s niece Marie Peter Irwin. Peter, 77, had drawn “Wonder Woman” for 10 years, Irwin said. His parents were the late Louis and Louise Peter, who arrived in San Rafael in 1875 and later built the Peter Building https://calbricks.netfirms.com/brick.fortin.html at Fourth and C streets. He is survived by a sister, Marie F. Peter, who lives with the Irwins in the Peter Building. Peter worked as an illustrator for the old San Francisco Call, Irwin said, before moving to New York as a free-lance commercial artist in 1910. Funeral services will be held Tuesday in Staten Island.

Related Posts

Marjorie Wilkes Huntley
Joye Hummel, Wonder Woman Ghostwriter


Further Reading


Todd’s Blog

Photographs of H.G. Peter

The Comics Journal

Wonder Woman: The Complete Newspaper Strip

Pappy’s Golden Age Comics Blogzine

H.G. Peter's last Wonder Woman

Lambiek Comiclopedia

Potrzebie

Wroten on the Wind
“Jim quit Keuffel & Esser when we got our studio; he thought it would be a nice little business for the two of us to do together. Our studio was Doc Marston’s office. We were on the 12th floor. The art studio where Harry G. Peter worked was upstairs, right over us on the 13th floor. They had another artist, a girl named Arlene, who did backgrounds for him. Harry G. Peter was a nice old gentleman; he was just a nice person. We went out to Doc’s home several times, but after Doc died we never kept in touch with the rest of the family. He had an assistant who helped him write stories; her name was Joye Hummel. She married, and I think she’s down in Florida someplace.
Wonder Woman: Enigmatic Heroine of American Popular Culture
Karen M. Walowit
University of California, Berkeley, 1974

page 26: The artist he chose to draw the series was Harry G. Peter, whom Marston describes as “an old time cartoonist who worked with Bud Fisher on the San Francisco Chronicle,” and later did sports cartoons for Hearst.[15] Little specific information is available about Peter. Marjorie Wilkes, who worked as his letterer in the Marston Art Studios between 1944 and 1947, describes him as a “quiet, thoughtful and sensitive” man who never talked about himself.[16] He apparently liked and approved of Wonder Woman. Ms. Wilkes also indicates that he was working for the San Francisco Chronicle during the earthquake of 1906, and lived on Staten Island with his wife after they moved east.[17]

…Precisely how Peter was selected to draw Wonder Woman is uncertain. Ms. Wilkes suggests that Gaines may have asked various artists to submit their conceptions

page 27: of the new superheroine, and that Marston chose Peter’s work because it made Wonder Woman look appropriately attractive, athletic and intelligent. The affiliation between Peter and Marston is reported to have been a happy and productive one, and the results, seen in the early Wonder Woman stories, would certainly substantiate this claim.

Harry Peter is one of the most underrated artists in the comics field. He is particularly criticized for his flat, two-dimensional style and for his anatomy drawings. The main problem in not being appreciated, I would suggest, is that he was simply not interested in what might be termed “realistic” drawing or accurate technology, but rather in conveying the imaginative essence and psychological impact of whatever he was depicting….
Wonder Woman: The Complete History
Les Daniels
Chronicle Books, 2004

The Superhero Reader
Charles Hatfield, ‎Jeet Heer, ‎Kent Worcester
University Press of Mississippi, 2013

The Secret History of Wonder Woman
Jill Lepore
Knopf, 2014



(Next post on Monday: Joye Hummel, Wonder Woman Ghostwriter)

1 comment:

  1. Nice research, Alex. Would it be possible for you to put a widget on the blog that sends out an email when you have a new post? (well, it is possible because I have one on ComicsDC which uses the same platform, so I should ask "Would you do it?")

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