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Comic Strips: Topics in Chronicling America

In the late 1800s, comic strips exploded in popularity in American newspapers. This guide provides access to materials related to “Comic Strips” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.

Introduction

"'Wags - the dog that adopted a man.'" July 16, 1905. Los Angeles Herald (Los Angeles, CA), Image 39. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

In the late 1800s, comic strips exploded in popularity in American newspapers with the onset of the circulation war between Joseph Pulitzer’s “New York World” and William Randolph Heart’s “New York Journal.” Comic artists such as Robert Outcault moved between the two papers, which often resulted in legal battles over comic strip names and characters. Over the next two decades, comic strips such as “Hogan’s Alley”, “Katzenjammer Kids”, “Newlyweds”, and “Mutt and Jeff” became wildly popular to American audiences. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.

Timeline

1894 "Hogan's Alley" first appears in Truth. In 1895, it moves to the New York World
1896 "Hogan's Alley" cartoonist Robert Outcault is hired by the New York Journal. The "Hogan Alley" name stays with the World, while the Journal is forced to rename Outcault's drawings.
1897 "The Katzenjammer Kids" appear in the New York Journal.
1902 "Lady Bountiful," the first comic to feature a woman as the lead character is created.
1903 The San Francisco Call begins their comic supplement. It becomes a permanent feature on October 30, 1904.
1904 "The Newlyweds" appears in the New York World.
1907 "A. Mutt" (later "Mutt and Jeff') begins its daily run.