Monday, July 24, 2023

Comics: Ed Hamilton, Artist and Letterer

Edward Thomas “Ed” Hamilton was born on November 11, 1900, in Port Washington, New York, according to his World War II draft card and the New York State Birth Index at

The 1910 United States Census said Hamilton (line 6) was the oldest to three children born to John, a carpenter, and Jennie, both New York natives. They were residents in North Hempstead, Nassau County, New York. This census and the next state and federal censuses recorded his first name as Edwin.

The 1915 New York state census counted the Hamilton family of six (lines 26–31) in Port Washington, Nassau County, New York at 11 Pleasant Avenue. 

According to the 1920 census, Hamilton (line 100) was an office clerk. He lived with his parents at the same address. Information about his art training has not been found. 

The 1925 New York state census said Hamilton’s occupation was cartoonist (line 50). His address was unchanged. 

Hamilton (line 96) was a printer at a private company in the 1930 census. He continued to live with his parents in Port Washington.

The Nassau Daily Review and Patchogue Advance published Hamilton’s historical panel ’Round About Long Island. 

On March 31, 1936, Hamilton and Alice M. Masset obtained, in Queens, New York, marriage license number 1425. Their license was noted in the North Shore Daily Journal (Flushing, New York), April 3, 1936. The date of their marriage is not known. 

The 1910 census said Masset also lived in Port Washington. It’s not clear how long her family was there because, five years later, they lived in Great Neck, a short distance west of Port Washington. It’s possible she and Hamilton knew each other at school. By 1920, Masset had moved to Queens. In 1930 she was a bookkeeper at a bronze factory. 

The 1940 census said Hamilton (line 31) and his wife were Astoria, Queens residents at 31-15 21st Avenue. He was a display designer. His highest level of education was two years of high school. In 1939 he earned nine hundred dollars. 

Hamilton signed his World War II draft card on February 16, 1942. His address was the same. He was described as five feet six-and-a-half inches, 165 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair. Hamilton worked for the Dura Products Manufacturing Company, a Canton, Ohio company with an office in Manhattan at 55 West 42nd Street. 

Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Hamilton assisted on Fontaine Fox’s Toonerville Trolley comic strip in the early 1940s. However, Fox already had an assistant, Ted Clark, since 1928. Sometime earlier Hamilton probably met Fox. Hamilton resided in Port Washington until the early 1930s then moved to Queens in the mid-1930s and married. In 1920 Fox also lived in Port Washington then, by 1930, he was in Roslyn, New York. It’s likely cartoonist Hamilton (1925 New York state census) met Fox by the mid-1920s. Fox moved again to Del Ray, Florida in the mid-1930s. He was counted twice in the 1940 census with homes in Del Ray and Greenwich, Connecticut. In the early 1940s Hamilton had a job in Manhattan and was pursuing freelance comic book lettering. If Hamilton was a Fox assistant in the early 1940s, he had to commute to Connecticut.

Todd Klein covered Hamilton’s comics lettering career in Part 1 and Part 2. The Grand Comics Database has a checklist of Hamilton’s work. 

Hamilton had an entry in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Books, Group 2, New Series, Volume 42, Number 12, 1945. 
Hamilton, Edward Thomas,* Astoria, N.Y.
35862, 35863
Current art markets. © Dec. 1, 1945; AA 500593. The Hamilton method for applying art ability. © Dec. 1, 1945; AA 499336.
Six years later he had another one in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 5, Part 1B, Number 1, Pamphlets, Serials and Contributions to Periodicals, January–June 1951. 
Hamilton, Edward Thomas
Straight ahead to success. 1 v. © Edward Thomas Hamilton (in notice: Ed Hamilton); l5Nov51; AA199372.
The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 8, Part 1, Number 2, Books and Pamphlets, Serials and Contributions to Periodicals, July–December 1954, printed a revision. 
Hamilton, Edward Thomas
Current art markets. NM: revision. © Edward Thomas Hamilton; 1Nov54; A160529. 

Hamilton, Edward Thomas
The Hamilton method, how to turn your art ability into money; prepared especially for the amateur and semi-professional artist and cartoonist. Appl. states prev. pub. as The Hamilton method for applying art ability. NM: new matter. © Edward Thomas Hamilton; 1Nov54; A160509.
Hamilton’s residence was the same in the 1950 census (line 14). He was a commercial artist.

Hamilton passed away on December 1, 1979, in New York, New York. He was laid to rest at Saint Mary Cemetery. His wife passed away on April 7, 1989. 

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