Monday, May 31, 2021

Comics: Searching for Pauline Loth



Pauline Loth was born around 1916 in either New York or Connecticut. There is no record of her in the New York, New York Birth Index at Ancestry.com. She was the youngest of two daughters born to Ernest Erich Loth, a German emigrant, and Fredrica Rasch, a Connecticut native. They married on October 25, 1913 in New Haven, Connecticut. Pauline’s sister, Dorothea Ernestine Loth, was born on June 26, 1914 in Manhattan, New York City. 

The 1915 New York state census listed Dorothea and her mother in Manhattan at 301 West 150th Street. 

On June 5, 1917, Pauline’s father signed his World War I draft card. He resided at 248 West 154th Street and worked at L.J. Higham Company, 4 West 48th Street in Manhattan.

Pauline was three-years-old in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census which said she was born in New York. The family lived in Manhattan at 248 West 154th Street. Pauline’s father was an engraver. 

The 1925 New York state census recorded the Loth family in the Bronx at 1130 Woodycrest Avenue. The same address was in the 1930 census which had Pauline born in Connecticut. 

On June 9, 1934, Dorothea and Alfonso A. Scibelli obtained a marriage license in Manhattan. 

Pauline was known to have worked in animation at Fleischer Studios but it’s not clear when she started. Dorothea also worked there. Many Fleischer employees produced Christmas cards which can be viewed at Fleischer Studios Christmas Card Gallery. Of particular interest is card number 90, signed Dot Loth, in Gallery #5. 

Detail

Dot was Dorothea’s nickname. Dot Loth was mentioned in the Screen Cartoonists Local 1461 newsletter, Top Cel #8, April 21, 1944, in a paragraph about Terrytoons, “Dot Loth seen edging out of dinner sideways”. 

Detail

Apparently Dorothea started in the mid-1930s at Fleischer Studios. (The Social Security Act became law on August 14, 1935. The first batch of applications were mailed in late November 1936. Dorothea’s application, transcribed at Ancestry.com, was dated November 1936.) In late 1938 Fleischer Studios moved to Florida. It’s not clear if Dorothea moved to Florida. According to the 1940 census (below) she was an art painter at Terrytoons in New Rochelle. The census said Dorothea was single and living with her parents in the Bronx at 1523 Undercliff Avenue. (She should not be confused with Dorothea Paula Loth, a Brooklyn artist.) It’s not known how long Dorothea was at Terrytoons. 


Pauline has not yet been found in the 1940 census but she was in Florida in 1939. On December 15, 1939 the Fleischer Studios held its first annual Flipper Club Dinner Dance. A booklet called Flipper was produced for the event. In the centerspread was the program which said “That Prim Little Prima Doughnut, Pauline Loth … Dynamite in Diapers”. On pages 28 and 29 was a sports article by Jack O’Sullivan; more about him in a few paragraphs.

Also working at Fleischer was Vince Fago who was interviewed by Jim Amash, in Alter Ego #11, November 2001, and said
... I worked in Detroit for about four years, and there were several Disney people there. Then Fleischer Studios hired us to come to New York. But then Fleischer Studios had a strike, so I didn’t start working for them until it was settled. After the strike they moved the entire operation to Florida. They moved everyone’s furniture and paid the train fare and hotel bills for a while. I ended up working for Fleischer for four years. ...
Vince met Pauline and said she was an assistant animator. It’s not clear if they met in New York or Florida. In the interview he did not mention Dorothea or Pauline’s husband.

The Florida County Marriage Record, at Ancestry.com, said Pauline and John D. O’Sullivan were married on May 29, 1940. The 1940 census, enumerated on April 3, recorded John as a lodger at 1976 N.W. 24th Court in Miami. He was an artist in the moving picture industry. In 1939 he earned $1,560. 


On October 16, 1940 John signed his World War II draft card. He and Pauline lived at 126 Mendoza Avenue in Coral Gables, Florida. John was employed at Fleischer Studios.


Pauline was the voice of Honey in the Fleischer feature, “Mr. Bug Goes to Town”. Her selection was reported in the Baltimore Sun, March 30, 1941. 
Search For “Honey” Voice Ends Right In Studio

Like the fabled quest for the Bluebird, the search for a girl with a voice like honey to play the feminine lead in Fleischer Studio’s new $1,000,000 feature length technicolor cartoon, “Mr. Bug Goes to Town,” ended successfully at the studio in Miami, Fla. 

The girl with the perfect honey voice is Polly Loth, 24, who stands only 4 feet 10 inches high, and she is an artist at the film plant. 

Miss Loth won the title of the girl with the perfect honey voice after competing with a score of would-be honey voices tested by the studio scouts both in New York and Miami. Only when studio executives admitted they were not satisfied with any of the voices tested and among those tested were several big-name players of stage, radio and screen did Miss Loth ask for an opportunity to contest for the role. 

In “Mr. Bug Goes to Town,” Miss Loth will be the voice of Honey, the bee heroine of the technicolor production, who loves Hoppity, the grasshopper hero. 
Variety, December 10, 1941, said “Pauline Loth is wishy-washy as Honey, the heroine.” 

The 1941 Flipper was the last one. The program included “Three Quarts and a Half Pint — Arnold Gillespie, Graham Place, Lloyd von Hayden and Pauline Loth”, and “The Flipper Glee Club” had the aforementioned plus Robert Schwartz, Dolly Selby, Edward Fortner and Woody Gelman

In early 1942 Vince moved back to New York and found employment at Timely Comics. When Pauline returned to New York Vince hired her to work on Timely Comics material. He said “She did ‘Miss America’ for us and created her costume.” Pauline was also the fashion editor on the Miss America Magazine which used her married name, Pauline O’Sullivan, on the staff page. She made a number of public appearances. An advertisement in the Brooklyn Eagle, March 2, 1945, featured her at the Abraham & Straus “Fashion Show and Coke Party”. 


The Brooklyn Eagle, April 25, 1945, noted Pauline’s upcoming talks on “Poise, Posture and Personality”, “Fashions for You,” “Building Today for Tomorrow,” and “Beauty.” According to the Nassau Daily Review-Star (Freeport, New York), April 16, 1946, Pauline was a judge in the second annual Teentimer “Design and Name It” contest.


In an interview with Michael J. Vassallo, Allen Bellman recalled Pauline. (Scroll down about two-thirds to the Miss America splash page) Timely-Atlas-Comics talked about Vince and identified many of the artists, including Pauline, who worked on Timely’s humor comics. Pauline’s name appeared on the inside front cover indicia of Terry-Toons #11, August 1943 and #12, September 1943. 

S’no Use and the Seven Dopes” has been attributed to Pauline. The story appeared in Coo Coo Comics #1, October 1942. In the last panel, lower left corner, there appeared to be the letters P and L. It’s difficult to read because of the coloring. When I drained the color the letter P is quite legible. Next to it looks like the letter L. 



It’s not clear exactly where Pauline and her husband were living when they returned to New York. In the second half of the 1940s Pauline gave birth to Patricia Ann. The New York, New York Birth Index, at Ancestry.com, has four babies named Patricia O’Sullivan who were born in Manhattan; the dates are June 24, 1947, July 23, 1947, January 1, 1948 and January 21, 1948. Pauline stopped working to care for her daughter.

A death notice in the New York Post, May 5, 1948, noted the passing of Pauline’s mother.
Loth—Freda H. of 1501 Undercliff Av., on May 4, 1948. Beloved wife of Ernest. Devoted mother of Pauline O’Sullivan, Doretha Scibelli. Grandmother of Patricia O’Sullivan. Funeral from Walter B. Cooke. Inc., Funeral Home. 1 West 190th St., Friday, 1p.m. New Haven Register please copy.
Most of Pauline’s comics work was published in the 1940s. Her work surfaced in two stories in Zoo Funnies #7, July 1954, which was produced by Vince’s brother, Al Fago, and published by Charlton. “Shadow in ‘The Carpet Bagger’” was signed PO’S on page one, and “Shorty in ‘Sun Fun’” was signed P. O’Sullivan on the first panel. Pauline used her married name and initials on both stories. It’s not clear how many stories she produced in the 1950s.

The 1953 Manhattan, New York City Telephone Directory had a listing for a John D. O’Sullivan who might have been Pauline’s husband. Also listed was a Pauline O’Sullivan, at 228 East 40th Street, but it’s a different person. She was found in the 1940 census at the same address and O’Sullivan was her maiden name. 


In the mid-1950s Pauline and her family moved to Stamford, Connecticut. The 1955 city directory said they resided at 970 Main Street. John was an editor at 1658 Summer Street which was the address of Fiction House magazine which also ceased publishing that same year. The 1956 and 1957 directories had the same home address and John was still an editor. 

Pauline’s husband passed away on June 9, 1957. The New York Times published an obituary on June 15.
John D. O’Sullivan of Stamford, Conn., a magazine editor and former newspaper reporter, died Tuesday of a heart attack in the 125th Street station of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. His age was 45. 

At his death, Mr. O’Sullivan was an associate editor of Confidential magazine. He was a story and gag man with Fleischer’s Studios from 1938 to 1942 and edited and wrote for Fiction House, Inc., magazine publishers, from 1942 to 1955. 

Surviving, are his widow, Pauline A.; his father, D. J. O’Sullivan; a daughter, Patricia Ann, and four sisters.
The 1958 Stamford directory listed Pauline as a widow at 970 Main Street. The 1959 directory is not available. She was a commercial artist at the same address in the 1960 directory. 


The 1961 directory had the following entry: “O’Sullivan Pauline A wid John D died Jan 24 1960 age 43”.


An obituary for Pauline has not yet been found. The Connecticut Death Index, at Ancestry.com, said she passed away in Stamford. 



A death notice for Pauline’s father appeared in the Knickerbocker News, (Albany, New York), on July 21, 1961.

Loth—Ernest E., July 20, 1961, at his home. Onesquethaw Creek Road, Feura Bush, beloved husband of Margaret Preston; father of Mrs. Dorothy Schebelli [sic] of New York City and James R. Reilly; brother of Harriet Loth, and the late Herman Loth; grandfather of Patricia O’Sullivan. 

Funeral private at the Tebbutt Chapel, 420 Kenwood Ave., Delmar. Friends may call at the Chapel, Sunday afternoon and evening.
In the 1960s and 1970s Dorothea was a registered voter in Manhattan. According to the Social Security Death Index her last residence was Peekskill, New York. Dorothea passed away in June 1990. She and her mother were laid to rest at Ferncliff Cemetery.


Recommended Reading
Pretty In Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896–2013
Trina Robbins
Fantagraphics, 2013

The Great Women Superheroes
Trina Robbins
Kitchen Sink Press, 1996

Women and the Comics
Trina Robbins, Catherine Yronwode
Eclipse Books, 1985


(Next post on Monday: The 1929 Gopher Yearbook

Monday, May 24, 2021

Typography: Technology Magazine

As far as I know there were only three issues of Technology, a bimonthly magazine. The first issue was dated November/December 1981. The logo has the look of a Palatino font. The fonts used on the cover and interior were from the ITC Novarese family

Below are samples of the various departments and articles. A color-coded format was developed for each article and sections within the article. It was explained in the second issue, January/February 1982. The third issue, March/April 1982, added a Technology Resources section that was set in the ITC Benguiat family. That issue also had an Apple advertisement spread.






















 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Next post on Monday: Searching for Pauline Loth)

Monday, May 17, 2021

Comics: Searching for Tarpé Mills and Discovering Her “Secret Identity”

A biography of June Tarpé Mills said she was born on February 25, 1918, in Brooklyn, New York. However, the New York, New York Birth Index, at Ancestry.com, does not have anyone named June Mills or with the Mills surname who was born on that date. The biography mentioned her mother’s name, Margaret, but not the father’s name. Also mentioned were Margaret’s sister, Elizabeth, and niece, Helen. With information from public family trees at Ancestry.com, the story of June Tarpé Mills can be told in more detail.

Mills’ mother was Margaret Agnes Dunn (her middle name was on her son’s World War II draft card). Margaret was born on July 29, 1891 in Brooklyn, New York. In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Margaret was the youngest of four children born to Thomas Dunn and Mary Kennedy, both Irish emigrants. The family lived in the Bronx.

Around 1906 Margaret married John Tarpey. Their first child was Thomas Edward Tarpey who was born on September 18, 1907 in the Bronx. According to the 1910 census, Margaret and Thomas were living with her parents in the Bronx at 395 East 151st Street. Margaret was a widow. It’s not clear what happened to her husband. The census was enumerated in April. On October 27, 1910, Margaret’s second child, Margaret, was born. 


At Ancestry.com the New York, New York, Index to Marriage Licenses said Margaret’s second marriage was to Charles E. Mills in Manhattan on July 30, 1910.


According to the New York, New York Birth Index, Genevieve Mills was born on June 13, 1915, in the Bronx. In 1915 the child, Margaret Tarpey, was placed in an orphanage, the New York Foundling Hospital. 


On June 5, 1917, Charles Edward Mills signed his World War I draft card. His Bronx address was 1961 Washington Avenue. He worked at the Charles Williams store in Brooklyn. The draft card said he had a wife and child as dependents. 


The 1920 census recorded Genevieve Mills, her mother and half-brother, Thomas, in Manhattan at 15 East 126th Street. Margaret Tarpey was at the Mission of the Immaculate Virgin in Staten Island. 


At some point the Mills family moved to Brooklyn. Genevieve participated in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s children’s activity page. Her name appeared in the paper on January 10, 1923 and July 18, 1923

In the 1925 New York state census, Margaret Mills was head of the household which included her son, Thomas, daughter, Genevieve, niece, Helen Barry, and nephew, Frances Barry. Their Brooklyn address was 1047 Bergen Street. Helen and Frances were the children of Elizabeth, who was Margaret’s older sister. Elizabeth was born in 1882 and passed away in 1922. The whereabouts of Margaret’s husband, Charles, is not known. 


The 1930 census said Margaret Mills, a widow, was head of the household which included her three children: Thomas Tarpey, Margaret Tarpey and June T. Mills, previously known as Genevieve, who was an artist model. Also in the household were nephew, Frank Barry, and niece, Marie Barry. They resided in Brooklyn at 970 St. Marks Avenue. 


The census said June Mills was 18 years old which made her birth year around 1912. Her biography said she was born in 1918, making her age 12. Another birth year, mentioned earlier, was 1915. That year was also in World War II and the Postwar Years in America: A Historical and Cultural Encyclopedia (2010) and Comics Through Time: A History of Icons, Idols, and Ideas (2014).

There was a June Mills in the Erasmus Hall High School class of 1930. However her name did not appear in the graduating classes of January 1930 or June 1930. Apparently she dropped out of school. 

At some point June fashioned another first name, Tarpé, out of her step-father’s surname, Tarpey.

Tarpé Mills’ earliest comic art appeared in Centaur Publications dated 1939. The story of the Centaur comics character, Daredevil Barry Finn, is here. Her comic book credits are at the Grand Comics Database. Additional information is at Who's Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999. Some of the comics can be viewed at the Digital Comic Museum

According to the 1940 census, June Mills was married (a possible entry error) and a self-employed artist working for magazines and newspapers. At the time she was living alone in Manhattan at 37 West 46th Street. Her highest level of education was three years of high school.


Tarpé Mills created the comic strip, “Black Fury”, which was distributed by the Bell Syndicate. The strip was listed in the September 14, 1940 issue of Editor & Publisher in it’s Seventeenth Annual Directory of Newspaper Features. “Black Fury”, debuted in the Evening Star (Washington, DC) on March 31, 1941. Many months later the strip was retitled “Miss Fury”. (Coincidentally, Black Fury was the name of a 1941 comic book superhero in Fantastic Comics.) In American Newspaper Comics (2012) Alberto Becattini claimed George Mandel ghost pencilled some of the strips around 1941. The same attribution is at Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999. Early in their careers Tarpé Mills and George Mandel worked for Funnies Inc. She was not mentioned in his interview with Jim Amash in Alter Ego #103. 



The New York Post, April 6, 1942, profiled Tarpé Mills.
Girls, you'll have to get in line. Tarpe Mills, creator of “Miss Fury,” is one of you, and she said today she isn’t letting go of Dan Carey just like that. Recently she wrote one of Dan’s more burning admirers:

“Listen, sister, put your name on the waiting list. I got here first!”

This fair warning is given because last month The New York Post received 533 letters from enthusiastic followers of “Miss Fury,” the colored comic page that appears in the Week-End Edition. A lot of the letters were from girls who thought Dan Carey, one of the heroes of the strip, was mighty brave and handsome, and if they ever met up with a type like him, well, their hearts would be faint and fluttery.

Tarpe Mills, Erasmus Hall High graduate, said that she literally stumbled into cartooning. She posed for portrait painters, photographers and sculptors to pay her way through Pratt Institute. She studied sculpture and was told that she showed promise; but the market for birdbaths was pretty dry, so she went into animated cartooning.

Among other things she created a few cat characters which were used in a series of pictures, and finally, she said, “I was carried out of the joint with a nervous breakdown.” It was back to posing and free-lance drawing.

“Then,” she said, “a foot injury kept me out of circulation and I started a serial called “Daredevil Barry Finn” for one of the children's comic books. I hated to drop Barry, so I went into the business whole hog and turned out such hair-raising thrillers as “The Purple Zombie,” “Devil’s Dust” and “The Cat Man.”

Miss Mills dropped her first name (she won't say what it was) because it was too feminine.

“It would have been a major let-down to the kids if they found out that the author of such virile and awesome characters was a gal,” she said.

Miss Mills said she writes “Miss Fury” to provide amusement for kids and grownups alike. “Fashions, a hint of romance and human interest for the adults. Fantasy and action for the youngsters.”

She admitted she doesn’t know where she got her inspiration except that she was one of the imaginative kids “who hang around the house reading books instead of running around outside playing hop-scotch.”

Who poses for the girl characters in “Miss Fury,” she was asked.

“It’s all done with mirrors,” she said. “I find it simpler to sketch from a mirror than to have a model and explain just what the character should be doing.”

“Miss Fury” was reprinted in comic books by Timely Comics and copyrighted by Tarpé Mills here, here, here and here. She filed for a Miss Fury trademark in 1942. 


Editor & Publisher, July 14, 1945, reported the upcoming change of syndicates. 
Tarpe Mills’ Sunday adventure page, “Miss Fury,” moves from Bell Syndicate to the Chicago Sun Syndicate after July 29, Harry Baker, Sun syndicate manager, has announced. One of the few comics drawn by a woman, “Miss Fury” started in 1941 when a broken foot interrupted Miss Mills’ career as a fashion artist. Early in September she is starting a new episode about a gang of international thieves handling European plunder. The feature appears in about 90 newspapers.

Cartoonists Odin Burvik, Tarpé Mills, Dale Messick, Hilda Terry, Virginia Clark, and Edwina Dumm attended a party hosted by Editor & Publisher. A full-page of photographs appeared in the November 10, 1945 issue. (A better image of that page was published in Trina Robbins’ Pretty in Ink (2013).) The party was covered here

The “Miss Fury” comic strip ended in the 1950s.

A passenger list at Ancestry.com recorded Tarpé Mills on a Pan American Airways flight that departed Bermuda on December 2, 1947. Her address was 914 New York Avenue, Brooklyn, New York. The same address was on Thomas Tarpey’s World War II draft card that he signed on October 16, 1940.


The Brooklyn Eagle, June 3, 1951, published a death notice on Margaret Mills
Mills—On June 2, 1951, Margaret A., devoted mother of Thomas E. Tarpey, Mrs. Margaret Postel and Genevieve Mills. Funeral from William Dunigan & Son Chapel, Rogers Avenue and Montgomery Street, Tuesday, 9 a.m. Requiem Mass Holy Cross R C. Church, 9:30 a.m.
The Social Security Death Index said Charles Mills passed away in September 1977 and his last residence was in the Bronx. The Department of Veterans Affairs file said he served in the Navy from May 25, 1918 to January 31, 1919, and died on September 25, 1977. 

Tarpé Mills passed away on December 12, 1988. She was laid to rest in Forest Green Park Cemetery. The grave marker has the birth date February 25, 1918. She is not listed in the Social Security Death Index. 


Further Reading and Viewing
Giving Thanks: June Tarpé Mills Collection

Hidden women of history: Tarpe Mills, 1940s comic writer, and her feisty superhero Miss Fury 

Women’s History Month: Tarpé Mills 

Miss Fury! 

Comic Book Artist #10, October 2000
“Tarpe Mills, Miss Fury and Albino Jo” By Trina Robbins 

Heritage Auctions


(Next post on Monday: Technology Magazine)