Monday, August 29, 2016

Anatomy of a Logo: The Freeman

The Freeman was an illustrated African-American newspaper that debuted July 14, 1888, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Most of the issues can be viewed here. Above is the masthead from the third issue. The new year brought a new masthead, below.

J Wilton Cunningham

The Freeman masthead of 1889 was engraved by a person who also did portraits that were initialed “JWC” (the C looks like a G). The engraver signed his name on the left end of the ribbon. The name, as it appears above, is partially legible. There is the initial “J”, middle name “Wilton”, surname “Cunningham” and two letters. The 1889 Indianapolis city directory has someone named Joseph W. Cunningham but he was a teamster. An artist or engraver named Cunningham has not been found in Indianapolis. Apparently Cunningham did not live in Indianapolis. There was an artist, John Wilton Cunningham, who was born in 1868 in Louisville, Kentucky. He was a St. Louis, Missouri resident when he died in Texas on August 28, 1903. The St. Louis Republic published an obituary the following day. 

The publisher, Edward E. Cooper, described what he wanted to Cunningham who submitted a sketch or sketches. The approved sketch may have been developed into a detailed drawing and used as a guide for the engraving. 

A new masthead was introduced in the 1889 year-end issue.


Moses L. Tucker created the masthead that debuted December 21, 1889. His name appeared under the right-half of the ribbon, as seen above. I don’t know what “Del.” stands for. The publisher and Tucker probably discussed what would be in the masthead. In Pioneer Cartoonists of Color (2016) author and cartoonist Tim Jackson examines Tucker’s masthead.

Tucker was profiled and pictured in The Freeman, June 8, 1889.

The Freeman
(Indianapolis, Indiana)
June 8, 1889
page 1: Moses L. Tucker
Artist of Atlanta, Ga.
Moses L. Tucker was born in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 30th, 1868, where he has lived most of his time.

He always displayed talent for drawing. Having to work in the day, he found the evenings best for study. What little he has accomplished was under adverse circumstances.

In the year of ’86 he was employed as shipping clerk in a book publishing house. It was at this place that he improved himself the most, as he was where he could see and read the works of some of the best artists.

One day a gentleman gave him a subject to draw, to illustrate a little story. After he had completed it, he carried it to this gentleman, who submitted it to the publishers (Atlanta Engraving Company.) They were much pleased with it, and they sought to employ him. Thinking this a good chance to improve himself, he resigned his place at the publishing house and began to work for the Atlantic Engraving Co.

After he had been with this company for about three months, they began to publish a paper called the Cracker. The idea struck one of the firm that Moses’ drawings could be used by them. After this there was hardly an issue that did not have some of his drawings in it.

Some of his original comic pictures were copied by the eastern and western papers quite extensively. He has several comments that he clipped from the leading newspapers. He remained with the Cracker until it suspended publication.

1890 Indianapolis City Directory
Edward E Cooper
Publisher The Freeman
18 1/2 N Penn
home 518 N West

Moses L. Tucker
Engraver, The Freeman
boards 518 N West

The Freeman
(Indianapolis, Indiana)
April 2, 1892
page 8: Adjudged Insane. 
For a number of months Moses L. Tucker, formerly cartoonist on The Freeman, has at times acted so oddly, that the impression began to obtain that he was gradually losing his mind. Some weeks ago it became necessary to sever our business relations with him, since which time he has gone from bad to worse. His hobby was that some one had poisoned him, and that the motormen of the electric lines were in a plot to annoy him. Last Saturday a Commission on Lunacy set on his case, and declared him “non compus mentis.” He was taken to the Hospital for the Insane. Some three years ago, when The Freeman first discovered Tucker, he was a young man of much promise and talent, and had he pursued the proper course, would have taken a high place among the noted “cartoonists” of the day. He has at different times furnished work for Texas Siftings, Judge and other periodicals, but certain injurious, secret habits, and excessive cigarette smoking, in the end, sapped both his mental and physical vigor. His condition is a sad one, and full of suggestiveness for thousands of young men everywhere.

In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, Tucker was the second of three children born to Jacob, a laborer, and Ann, a laundress. They lived in Atlanta, Georgia. The family remained in Atlanta and had grown by five children in the 1880 census. The 1900 census recorded Tucker as an inmate at the “Marion County Poor Asylum” in Wayne, Indianapolis. According to the 1910 census, Tucker was a patient at the asylum in Warren, Indianapolis. A family tree at said Tucker passed away March 30, 1926.


A new masthead appeared on the May 31, 1890 issue of The Freeman. This masthead remained in use until the newspaper ceased publishing in 1916. The masthead was engraved by George Augustus Topp, of Indianapolis, whose name can be seen above. Presumably the publisher described what he wanted in the design. According to the death certificate, Topp was born January 5, 1869 in Indianapolis. Topp’s parents, Charles and Joanna, were German emigrants. In the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, the Topp family resided in Center, Indiana. Indianapolis city directories, from 1888 to 1893, listed Topp as a wood engraver or engraver. Topp was not in the 1894 directory. In 1895, Topp had a tool manufacturing business, G.A. Topp & Company. In the 1900 census, Topp lived with his father on a farm in Indianapolis. Topp, a dairyman, worked for a dairy farm in the 1910 census. He has not yet been found in the 1920 census. According to the 1930 census, Topp married when he was 53 years old. Topp, an ice house foreman, and 37-year-old wife, Thelma, lived in Indianapolis at 134 21 Street. In the 1940 census, they resided across the street at 139 21 StreetTopp passed away August 26, 1946, in Indianapolis.


While researching The Freeman newspaper, I came across the work of Henry Jackson Lewis. The best biography of Lewis is at Common-Place which discusses Lewis’ range of birth dates.

Lewis was counted twice in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census. Lewis and his family resided in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where Lewis’s occupation was laborer. His age was 40 and birthplace in Iowa. Common-Place said Lewis’ birth was in Mississippi. Lewis was also counted in Monticello, Arkansas, where he was an artist. The Mississippi native was 27 years old. Monticello is about 45 miles south of Pine Bluff. Lewis’ family was in Pine Bluff while he worked in Monticello for a period of time. Below are details of the 1880 census. 

Here are engravings, based on drawings by Lewis, from 1883 issues of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.

Next are newspaper articles and listings of Lewis in Indianapolis city directories.

November 24, 1889
page 16: Relied on Himself.
A Colored Man Who Acquired an Art without the Assistance of an Instructor.
At the end of a long, dark and narrow hallway, on the south side of Washington street, in the most uninviting quarters, a Journal reporter found a wood-engraver’s shop. Strange to say the engraver was a colored man, and quite as odd in appearance as any character Dickens gave to the world. Indeed, as bis face broke through the gloom of tho darkened room, with a ragged patch covering bis left eye, the cheek beneath glazed and knotted as though scared with molten metal, the reporter could not help being reminded of the man in Bleak House who assisted George, the trooper, about the shooting gallery. The left hand of this colored man also showed, as did his face, marks of the fire, the flesh of fingers being twisted out of shape, and in some places ploughed almost to the bone.

Lying upon the work-bench before him were several pine blocks upon which he had carved out letters, evidently for poster work. “I never had any instruction,” said the worker, putting aside the block upon which he was engaged and laying down his burin, “I jest picked it up like. My home is at Pine Bluff, Ark., and I am thirty-one years old. I believe I could have made more progress at this if I had begun earlier, but I began only four years ago. I learned something about the carpenter’s trade, but being out of work I went up to Little Rock and got a place as porter in a printing office a newspaper called the Gazette. The paper had illustrations sometimes, chiefly outline cuts and the engravers were white men. I just picked it up, as I said. I watched the men at work drawing and engraving and I tried my hand at it. I haven’t but one eye, but that is a good one in judging of form and size.”

The reporter asked him is to his eye, and was told by the engraver that while an infant he fell into an open fireplace and was badly burned. “I came to Indianapolis,” said he, “in January, last, to work at the Freeman office, in making wood cuts, and most of the cartoons published in that paper, until recently, were made by me as were the engravings generally.” The work done by this colored man, who is wholly without education, is only remarkable when his opportunities and surroundings are taken into consideration. The surprising thing about it is, not that he does the work so well, but that he should be able to do it at all. He does wood engraving, mechanical and freeland [sic] drawing, India-ink work, and what is called chalk work. As the reporter rose to come away the engraver, whose name is Henry J. Lewis, handed, over a pencil sketch of the Journal man, which he had made while the brief interview was in progress. The drawing was remarkably well done, the pose of the figure and the facial expression being admirable.

1888 Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory
No listing

1889 Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory

No listing

1890 Indianapolis, Indiana, City Directory

Name: Henry J Lewis
Street Address: 321 S Olive
Occupation: Engraver

Name: Henry J Lewis
Street Address: 34 Lincoln la.
Occupation: Artist

The Indianapolis Journal
April 11, 1891
page 8: Death of a Colored Artist.
Henry J. Lewis, the colored man who came to this city from Pine Bluff, Ark., two and a half years ago, and achieved some reputation as an engraver and cartoonist, died yesterday forenoon, at 10 o’clock, of lung disease, at his home on Lincoln lane. He was about thirty-five years old, with no education, except that he could read and write yet his proficiency with the pencil and burin was something remarkable. His idea of form was excellent, and he had little trouble to rapidly reproduce anything that came under his observation. He was far from being attractive in personal appearance, being very careless in that regard, beside which he bad lost an eye, and wore a ragged patch over the sightless and misshapen orb. Yet he was a genius, and with proper direction might have made his way in the world. He had done considerable pictorial work on the Freeman, of this city, and occasionally found sale for a sketch to Puck, Judge or some other of the humorous papers. The sketches he sold to thee papers were chiefly portrayals of negro life in the South, and they were accurate picture taken from his own observation.

The Freeman
(Indianapolis, Indiana)
April 18, 1891
page 8: Obituary
H.J. Lewis, Esq., cartoonist upon The Freeman’s staff for the last two years and a half, died at his home in this city on the 9th inst., of pneumonia. He had not enjoyed good health for a number of months, but nothing serious was thought of his condition until about two weeks ago, when he took his bed for the last time.

Mr. Lewis, in many respects, was a remarkable man, and had his lines been cast in different places, and his earlier years been spent under different skies, surrounded by other influences and aids, the space he would have filled in the world’s notice might have been one that biography would not have spurned, and without the record of which, future encyclopedias would be incomplete. As a portrayer of southern Negro life and a certain phaze [sic] of “white trash” existence, he had no living master. In this respect he was a genius, and when his equal shall come to us again, we do not know. Indeed, the only fault that could be found with Mr. Lewis’ work in this line, was that he builded too well, for so realistic were his sketches that the fine sensitiveness of the race was frequently aroused and offended.

In his artistic career, he has furnished drawings for the Smithsonian Institute, Harper’s Weekly, Puck and Judge. Compared to the allotted time given to man to live, many years yet remained to him. In life’s pilgrimage he had not reached the place that marks the furtherest stage, but for all that, his time for rest had come, and without ado or warning, he sunk into that dreamless sleep,” in contemplation of which, philosophy is confounded, and wisdom’s remotest, vision is insufficient and unavailing.

It were but simple charity to hope that it is well with him to-day, and that death was but an aperture through which his feverish and worn spirit took its way to spheres of higher mysteries, and a completer life, where conditions may not interfere, or man’s narrowness or unfair hatred prevent the full expression of his unique and striking gifts.

In the book Edward Palmer’s Arkansas Mounds (1990), Marvin Jeter wrote “H. J. Lewis died in Indianapolis, on the morning of April 9 or 10, 1891. The cause of death was given as “pneumanitus” on his death certificate….The death certificate also stated that he was buried in Mt. Jackson, Indiana.”

Another Freeman cartoonist was Garfield T. Haywood who was profiled in The Colored American (Washington DC), February 21, 1903, on page three. 

A Hoosier Artist
A Promising Colored Cartoonist Who Is Making His Way to the Front

Negroes have made great names for themselves as poets, musicians, philosophers and soldiers. We have thus demonstrated our versatility of our country and the age. We are not wanting in artists and are justly proud of the eminent place occupied by Henry O. Tanner, an American Negro, in the exclusive salons of the old world. His career has been an inspiration to many other aspiring youths of the race.

One of our most promising young men is Mr. Garfield F. [sic] Haywood, of Indianapolis, Indiana, who has already made an enviable record in the artistic world. With but little, if any instruction, but with a native gift to be recognized. In his earlier years his bent seemed to be drawing [sic] and his marvelous fidelity to nature soon attracted wide attention. He was born in Greencastle, Indiana, in 1880, but soon found the necessity for a wider field, and coming to Indianapolis found not only remunerative employment in humbler walks of life, but opportunity to develop his remarkable talent. There his wonderful felicity as a cartoonist brought him prominently before the people. The Recorder and The Freeman of his adopted city has availed itself of his services on several occasions. Mr. Haywood is still a young man, his talent is unmistakable and he may be regarded as the coming artist of his race. Every such achievement puts to confusion the arguments of our enemies that the race must be like dumb driven animals.

It is an interesting fact in this connection that the first illustrated race journal published in this country was established by Mr. E.E. Cooper, now of The Colored American, in the city of Indianapolis, Indiana. It was the Indianapolis Freeman, and the greatest living Negro cartoonist, Mr. Moses L. Tucker, of Georgia, won fame for himself on that paper. Mr. Tucker eventually succumbed to overwork, and in [sic] now confined in the Indiana Asylum at Julietta, Indiana. He was succeeded by Mr. J.H. [sic; H. J.] Lewis, of Pine Buff, Arkansas, also a superior artist. Mr. Lewis has been dead a number of years. Mr. Haywood drew much of his inspiration and knowledge of technique from these two masters of the art, under both of whom he served for some time.

Additional information about Haywood is here.

Related Post
The Rising Son

(Next post on Monday: The Hawkeye Yearbook, 1924–1925)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Calligraphy: Donald Jackson’s The Story of Writing

The Story of Writing
Donald Jackson
Taplinger Publishing Company, 1981

Dust Jacket Front

Dust Jacket Back

Front Endpaper

Title Page


Alice Koeth created the August 1981 flyer for the Donald Jackson event at the Donnell Library in New York City. After Jackson made his presentation, he signed copies of his book, The Story of Writing, on the front endpaper. Several people were waiting to have their book signed when the library closed at 8 o’clock. Outside the library, the remaining people assembled in the parking lot where Jackson commandeered the parking attendant’s booth and finished signing the books. I gave him my full name but he wrote my initials, A J.

Parts 1 and 2 by Donald Jackson

Parts 3 and 4 by Donald Jackson

Leading calligrapher Donald Jackson to discuss his creation of
The Saint John’s Bible, the first hand-written and illuminated 
Bible produced in over 500 years, April 20, 2013

(Next post on Monday: The Freeman Logo)

Monday, August 15, 2016

Anatomy of a Logo: X-Force

I met with Marvel editor, Bob Harras, at 12:30, October 22, 1990, to discuss the X-Force logo. I don’t remember the details of the meeting. Usually there’s a general description of the title and characters. Sometimes the editor has an idea or suggestion for the logo. I believe Bob told me to do whatever I wanted. As it turned out, this assignment had a long deadline. 

Back at my studio after the meeting, I did some thumbnail designs. On the sheet below, you can see a few of my sketches for the Hellraiser/Nightbreed Jihad title.

On November 18, 1990, I developed and refined two logo designs.

My appointment book said Bob called me on November 26. I don’t recall details of the conversation but the logo was put on hold. About four-and-a-half month’s later, Bob called on April 5, 1991 and gave me the green light to do more logo designs. Below are my thumbnail sketches.

Two days later I produced tight renderings of the designs.

On April 9, I faxed four designs, some with variations, to Bob, who chose design 4-C.

On Sunday, April 14, I started work on the final art.

The final art was ink on LetraMax paper. Corrections were made by scratching off the ink and peeling away a layer of paper. I delivered the art on April 15. This version appeared in the first issue.

On June 18, 1991, Bob called and said he wanted a bolder version of the logo. On the 23rd I created a bold version which required adjusting the spacing between all the letters.

On Monday, the next day, I faxed the design with alternate versions of the counters for the O and R. Bob approved the logo with the alternates. On the revision I adjusted the letterspacing again.

On June 25, I made a tight rendering of the logo. A few minor changes were indicated in red. Then I proceeded to make the final art, which was delivered the next day.

August 1991

August 1991

August 1991

August 1991

September 1991

October 1991

November 1991

December 1991


November 1992


October 2004; Logo variation with a different X design

December 2010

December 2010

September 2014; Deadpool logo by Todd Klein

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