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Walt McDougall

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Walter Hugh McDougall (10 February 1858 – March 1938) was a newspaper illustrator of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He drew the pictures for L. Frank Baum's 1904-5 comic strip Queer Visitors from the Marvelous Land of Oz.

A native of Newark, New Jersey, McDougall's long career reached back to The New York Graphic in the 1870s. The first cartoon printed in color in an American newspaper (21 May 1893) was a McDougall piece.

He worked for The New York World starting in 1884, and The New York Herald in 1896. His graphic art appeared in Harper's Weekly, Puck, and other periodicals. He was amazingly prolific; at one time he drew six comic strips at once, plus other work. He also wrote and illustrated "McDougall's Good Stories for Children," which appeared in the Herald and its associated papers.

Oddly enough, McDougall had been one of the few writers to give a negative review to Baum's The Master Key when it appeared in 1901. Competitive envy by one children's author for another may have been a factor. There are hints of tension in the Baum-McDougall relationship; McDougall published a mocking portrait of the author, "L. Frank Baum Studied by McDougall," in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on 30 July 1904. Though it was probably part of the publicity campaign, the article's tone is harsh under the surface. Once their comic-strip collaboration had run its course, the two men never worked together again.

When he worked with Baum, McDougall was a prominent political cartoonist for The Philadelphia North American, one of the newspapers that featured the syndicated strip. The artist was reportedly arrested on a monthly basis for libelling then-Mayor Reyburn; local politicians are said to have offered him $1500 to leave Philadelphia during the presidential election of 1904.

McDougall spent the last two decades of his life living in seclusion in Connecticut. He committed suicide, age 80.

References

  • Michael Patrick Hearn. "Queer Visitors Revisited." The Baum Bugle, Vol. 38 No. 3 (Winter 1994).

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