Monday, January 29, 2024

Comics: David I. Gaines and Evelyn Gaines, Writers and Relatives of M.C. Gaines


1923 Passport Photograph

David I. Gaines was born “Isaac Ginsberg” on December 13, 1896 in Manhattan, New York City, according to his birth certificate. The spelling of Ginsberg, with an E, was also found on census records. However, draft cards and a passport application spelled the surname with a U, Ginsburg. Gaines’ parents were Abraham and Rosie, Russian immigrants, who lived at 266 Cherry Street. 


He was born after his brother Maxwell Charles Gaines, the founder of Educational Comics and All-American Publications.  

The 1900 United States Census counted Gaines (Isidor, line 13) as the third of four brothers. They lived with their parents at 442 East 86th Street in Manhattan. Their father was a dealer in rags. 


In the 1910 census, the family (lines 75 to 79) resided in the Bronx at 1819 Barnes Avenue. 


According to the 1915 New York State Census, the family (lines 4 to 9) lived at 1735 Victor Street in the Bronx. Gaines was a college student. The New York Times, April 7, 1989, said he received bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Columbia University.


Gaines’ father passed away on September 3, 1917. 

On June 24, 1918, Gaines signed his World War I draft card which included his middle initial X. He lived in the Bronx at 1819 Barnes Avenue. His description was five feet eleven inches, medium build, with blues eyes and brown hair. 


Gaines has not yet been found in the 1920 census. 

On November 5, 1923, Gaines applied for a passport at the American Consulate in Berlin, Germany. The application said he had been in England from December 1921 to October 1922 then in Germany from October 1922. He also listed other countries to visit, Belgium, Holland, France and Austria. 


Gaines returned to America on August 24, 1924. He was aboard the steamship Columbus when it departed Cherbourg, France on August 17.


Gaines’ mother married Sam Starkman on February 14, 1922 in Manhattan. 

The 1925 New York state census counted Gaines (line 23), his brother, William, mother and step-father, a furrier, in the Bronx at 1819 Barnes Avenue. 


The New York, New York Marriage License Index, at Ancestry.com, said Gaines and Edith Quinn obtained, in Brooklyn, marriage license number 9666 on June 6, 1929. Who’s Who of American Women Volume 8 (1973) said they married on June 11. 

In the 1930 census, the couple (lines 51 and 52) lived at 3960 46th Street in Sunnyside, Queens, New York. He was a college teacher and she an insurance stenographer.


According to the 1940 census, Gaines had two daughters. The family of four were Brooklyn residents at 1496 Union Street. He was a professor at City College. 


On April 27, 1942, Gaines signed his World War II draft card which had his name as Isidore Xerxes Ginsburg. His address was 1838 East 24th Street in Brooklyn. He was a teacher at City College. Gaines was described as five feet eleven inches, 175 pounds, with blue eyes angry hair. His surname, Ginsburg, was crossed out and replaced with Gaines. His birth certificate indicated the change was approved by Commissioner of Health on March 19, 1946. 


In 1947, Gaines contributed three articles to his brother’s comic books: “The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World” in Picture Stories from World History #1, Spring 1947; “The Story of Labor Organizations” in Picture Stories from American History #4, Summer 1947; and “Feudalism” in Picture Stories from World History #2, Summer 1947. 

The 1950 census said Gaines was a history instructor at City College. His family lived at 521 West 111th Street in Manhattan.


1950 Microcosm, City College of New York yearbook
Caption: Gaines Cox Fenton Brandt Zeichner 

Gaines retired in 1967 after 40 years at City College.

On September 19, 1988, Gaines’ wife, Edith, passed away. 

Gaines passed away on March 23, 1989, in New York City. An obituary appeared in Perspectives: Newsletter of the American Historical Association, November 1989. 
David I. Gaines, a member of the History Department of the College of the City of New York for forty years, died on March 23, 1989 in New York, NY at the age of 92. He received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. An authority on modern European history, especially the development of German national symbolism, he was esteemed for his scholarship, dedication to teaching, and concern for his students. Professor Kenneth Arrow of Stanford University, the 1972 Nobel Prize winner in economics, named Dr. Gaines in history and Dr. Alfred Tarski in logic as the two great teachers he had had at City College. He is survived by two daughters.
* * * * * * * * *

Evelyn Gaines was born Evelyn D. Ginsburg on May 26, 1919, in the Bronx, New York, according to the New York, New York Birth Index at Ancestry.com. Her parents were Benjamin Ginsburg (the older brother of Maxwell Charles Gaines), and Celia Brown who married on May 11, 1916 in Brooklyn, New York. 

The 1920 United States Census counted the family (lines 4 to 6) in the Bronx at 441 East 161st Street. Gaines’ father was a self-employed pharmacist. 


In the 1930 census, Gaines (line 67), her parents and brother, Arthur, were Manhattan residents at 3671 Broadway. Her father was a real estate manager. Sometime after 1935, the family moved to Queens, New York. 


The 1940 census recorded the Ginsburg family (lines 37 to 40) at 214-38 Hillside Avenue in Queens Village, New York. Gaines was a stenographer working in the advertising industry. Her highest level of education was the second year of college. Gaines’ father was a pharmacist. 


Sometime after the census the family adopted the Gaines surname. Gaines’ brother, Arthur Charles Gaines, signed his World War II draft card on April 29, 1943. His address was 720 West 170th Street, Apt. 6C, New York, New York. 


When and how Gaines met Louis Francis Lovelace is not known. On October 16, 1944, they married in California. A 1944 voter register said he was a Republican who lived in Los Angeles at 337 North Benton Way. His occupation was writer. 

At some point, Gaines returned to New York where she found some work in the comic book industry. Using the pen name Lynne Evans, she contributed to Sensation Comics numbers 39 and 40 here and here. She was mentioned in Women and the Comics (1985). Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said she contributed stories for Hop Harrigan who appeared in All-American Comics.

Gaines’s letter to the editor was published in the New York newspaper PM, October 1, 1946. (See subhead “Not All Black and White”)


According to the 1950 census Gaines/Lynne Lovelace (line 19) was separated and had a three-year-old daughter, Laurette. She lived with her parents at 720 West 170th Street in Manhattan. 


From 1948 to 1950, Gaines/Lynne Lovelace advertised editorial and typing services in Writer’s Digest and Saturday Review. Below are some examples. 

Writer’s Digest, February 1948

Writer’s Digest, October 1949

Saturday Review, April 2, 1949

Saturday Review, April 22, 1950

Classified advertisements also appeared in the The New York Times Book Review which were collected in a 1970 book. 
Typing—Ghostwriting—Lynne Lovelace, 720 West 170th, N.Y. 32, WA 8-4620. 
The Social Security Death Index has a Lynne Lovelace who was born on May 16, 1919 which was ten days earlier than the birth date stated at the beginning of the profile. She passed away in July 1980 and her last residence was the Bronx.



(Next post on Monday: Gene Barnett, Illustrator, Painter, Sculptor, Etcher, Writer and Letterer)

Monday, January 22, 2024

Creator: Miriam Woods, Lettering Artist and Book Jacket Designer

Miriam Woods was born on May 10, 1918, in Northampton, Massachusetts, according to her New York, New York marriage license application. Her parents were Charles Woods and Helen O’Shea. 

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

In the 1930 census, lines 67 to 72, Woods was the oldest of four siblings. The family resided in Northampton at 12 Bedford Terrace. Her Irish father was a designer in the gift shop trade.


The Springfield Republican (Massachusetts), January 14, 1940, said Woods “graduated from Northampton high school in 1935 and Mary A. Burnham School for Girls in 1936 ...”

Around 1937, Woods moved to New York City. According to the 1940 census, lines 52 and 53, Woods lived her aunt, Agnes O’Shea, in Manhattan at 69 Tieman Place. 


Woods studied at Cooper Union under George Salter. She graduated in 1940. Woods also studied at Columbia University


Springfield Republican, June 3, 1940

On August 8, 1940, Woods and Robert L. Cheney obtained, in Manhattan, marriage license number 12395. They married on August 10. 


On October 16, 1940, Woods’ husband signed his World War II draft card. They lived in Manhattan at 55 Morton Street. He worked at the Rumford Press. 


The 1940s were busy for Salter. With many of his younger peers in uniform, he often had more commissions than an artist of even his diligence and energy could handle. At times, with permission from the appropriate art directors, he subcontracted jobs to Miriam Woods, his personal assistant, with the clear understanding that her work would always bear her signature.
Bookbinding & Book Production, February 1942, published a photograph of Woods, Salter, Oscar Ogg, Riki Levinson, and Edgar Cirlin. 

In July 1942, Salter became Woods’ uncle when he married Agnes O’Shea.

The Inland Printer published Paul Standard’s “Calligraphy’s Flowering, Decay & Restoration” in its October and November 1944 issues. Woods was mentioned in both. 

Woods’ husband was profiled in American Notes & Queries, May 1947. 
The Gopher Hole Press (72 Barrow Street, New York 14, N.Y.) is under the direction of Robert L. Cheney, printer and typographer. It came into existence in February 1942, with the purchase of a hand-feed Chandler & Price platen press (12 x 18) ... Between major jobs and his own work at Harper & Brothers, Cheney gets a miscellany of assignments typographic book jackets and binding designs. His own work is often supplemented by that of Mrs. Cheney (Miriam Woods), a book jacket designer and calligrapher. 
Publishers Weekly, July 2, 1949, featured the graphic arts work at Cooper Union. Projects by current students was shown. The article also named several alumni: 
Ashley Bryan, illustrator; Donald Burgess, illustrator; Edgard Cirlin, illustrator, book designer, jacket designer; Erica Gorecki Egan, illustrator; Sam Fisher, jacket designer; Betty Karpoff, illustrator; Anne Pracny Kirby, illustrator; Riki Levinson, jacket designer; Meyer Miller, typographer, book designer; Ava Morgan, jacket designer; David Soshensky, jacket designer; Richard Stinely, jacket and book designer; Jean-Yee Wong, illustrator, calligrapher; Miriam Woods, jacket designer.
Three months later, Publishers Weekly, October 15, 1949, reported the Cooper Union alumni exhibit of book designs. 
Fifteen of the younger alumni of Cooper Union Art School, New York, are represented by books, jackets and illustrations in an exhibition called “Contemporary Book Design,” which is being held at Cooper Union Museum, October 10–31, in connection with the school’s 90th anniversary. Designers represented include Jeanyee Wong, Erica Gorecka-Egan, Philip Grushkin, Meyer Miller, Edgard Cirlin, Miriam Woods, Ashley Bryant, David Soshensky, Anne Pracny, Riki Levinson, Donald Burgess, Richard Stinely, Elizabeth Alden Karpoff and Marvin Blick. ...
The 1950 census counted Woods, her husband and son, Douglas (lines 13 to 15), in Manhattan at 72 Barrows Street. Woods was a self-employed book designer for book publishers. 


Bookbinding & Book Production, September 1950, profiled Woods’ husband who was art director at Harper and Brothers. The last paragraph said 
Mrs. Cheney is also active in the graphic arts, being engaged in calligraphy and book jacket designing as a free lance under the name of Miriam Woods. She was graduated from Cooper Union after studying under George Salter.
Bookbinding & Book Production, December 1950, described Woods’ contributions to The Columbia Encyclopedia, Second Edition

Bookbinding & Book Production, April 1951, published the list of the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ “Fifty Books of the Year 1950”. Woods’ and her husband were represented in the exhibition. They were designers of the Harper & Brothers book, Toward Daybreak. Woods’ jacket for The Columbia Encyclopedia was noted. 

Miss Miriam Woods Long Hill Rd., Briarcliff Manor, N. Y. BRiarcliff 6-1745 Calligraphy, jacket designs
When Woods’ marriage ended in divorce, she remarried to Richard Curran in 1961.

The 1979 Magazine Industry Market Place had this listing
Miriam Woods 20 Waterside Plaza. Apt 13A, New York 10010 Tel: 212-685-5039 
Woods was mentioned several times in Paperbacks, U.S.A.: A Graphic History, 1939–1959 (1981). 

Woods passed away on October 3, 1983. The New York Times, November 2, 1983, said 
Miriam Woods Curran, who created book jackets for Harper & Row and other major publishers for more than 30 years, died of cancer last Wednesday at her home in Manhattan.

She was 65 years old.

Mrs. Curran was vice president of the board of the Bellevue Hospital Auxiliary and chairman of the patients’ library committee.

She is survived by her husband, Richard; two sons by a previous marriage, Douglas Cheney of Atlanta and Peter Cheney of Roanoke, Va., and a brother, Charles Woods 3d of Grafton, Wis.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette (Northampton, Massachusetts), November 4, 1983, said 
New York, NY.—Miriam Woods Curran, 65, of 20 Waterside Plaza, a native of Northampton, died October 3 of cancer in New York. 

Born May 10, 1918 she was the daughter of the late Charles and Helen Woods. She graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art in New York in 1940. 

Working as a letterer and calligrapher under the professional name of Miriam Woods she created book jackets for Harper & Row and other book publishers including the cover for the Columbia Encyclopedia. She also designed books for Behrman House Inc. 

She was a vice president of the Bellevue Hospital Auxiliary Board and chairman of the patient’s library committee. 

She is survived by her husband Richard Curran also a native of Northampton; two sons Douglas Cheney of Atlanta, Ga. and Peter Cheney of Roanoke, Va.; a brother Charles Woods III of Grafton, Wis.; and an aunt. 

A memorial exhibition of her work will be held at a time to be announced. Contributions may be made in her memory to the Bellevue Hospital Auxiliary. 

A Selection of Book Jacket, Cover and Map Designs
Most images were found at the Internet Archive.

1940s







1950s





















1960s





















1970s









Further Reading and Viewing
Columbia University Press, 1893–1983, page 74
Print, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Book Jacket Designers