For the foreseeable future I plan to have this blog present various "educational strips" of personal interest (mostly Colonial and early American military history related) authored and drawn by James Carroll Mansfield in his syndicated series "High Lights of History."
Who was he?
A short biographic sketch can be read here:
James Carroll Mansfield - The Boys' Latin School of Maryland
At Baltimore's Boys' Latin Mansfield early-on displayed a “Remarkable talent for drawing.” ...Carroll left Boys’ Latin after his junior year to pursue his love for art. Again his BL transcript reads: “Went to art school in New York.” Art school records could not be found, but it was apparent Carroll wanted to pursue an art career and somehow incorporated into his work his strong interest in American history.
World War I interrupted his art studies. Carroll served in the 7th Infantry in Europe and afterwards he co-authored with A. Wilmot Jacobson a history of the regiment, titled 'The Blue and Gray - a story of Battery D 110th Field Artillery.' His illustrations were an integral part of the piece. He later worked as a free-lance artist for the Baltimore Sun.
In the early 1920s he returned to New York City and worked in advertising. He continued to draw and became interested in comic strips. On November 17, 1924 his 'High Lights of History' daily comic strip debuted for the Bell Newspaper Syndicate. In 1925 he published a junior high school textbook called 'High Lights of History, America 1492 to 1763'.
A full color Sunday feature of the comic strip began in 1926. The content focused on world history and peculiarities. Both the daily and Sunday strips came to an end in 1942 and 'High Lights of History' became the longest running non-fiction strip ever published."
John Adcock, in his interesting blog, tells us that High Lights of History was "...the first known educational strip, ... It began November 17, 1924, and ran until 1942. The daily strip was syndicated by Bell Newspaper Syndicate. A color Sunday page was added to comic supplements in 1926. This strip was collected into a junior high school history book under the title Highlights of History – America 1492-1763. Early issues of Famous Funnies reprinted Highlights of History strips and the strips were widely circulated in a series of Big Little Books beginning in 1934."
The strips I have found online, so far, come from two principle sources....
The Evening Independent - 1925 - 1930
Youngstown Vindicator - 1925 - 1929
Lewiston Evening Journal - Sep 10, 1926 - May 24 1940
The quality of the Youngstown Vindicator is often somewhat less than the other two, nevertheless, to maintain series continuity, I will sequence strips from whichever source is available.....
As we are near the end of June and approach the Fourth of July; I will begin shortly with Mansfield's series on the Declaration of Independence, followed by his series on Gettysburg and Vicksburg in honor of the 150th anniversary of these pivotal battles.
Since we are also in the bi-centennial period of the War of 1812 - 1815; I will then move "forward" to that period; then drop back and present strips addressing the Colonial, Revolutionary, on up to the Mexican war periods as the mood strikes.
While it would appear that I am aiming this blog towards younger readers by featuring these "strips;" (my grandchildren come to mind); one would be surprised by the long forgotten information and tidbits never known, presented in a clear and readable style with nifty sketches to appeal to the eye. As artfully combined, Mansfield brings history to life for readers of any age; no matter how jaded or even depressed we may now be by the course our nation's history seems to have taken in its march to the progressive beat and tune of cultural relativism....
For now a few teasers in the lead up to the Declaration: