The Carl Anderson Story

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Carl Anderson Story

Carl Thomas Anderson (1865-1948)

Carl Anderson was born on 14th February 1865 in Madison, Wisconsin, the son of US immigrants. He left school early and travelled. around much of Middle America before taking a job as a carpenter’s apprentice. He later became interested in cartooning and after taking a drawing course he obtained a job at the New York World. The newspaper asked him to develop a strip cartoon and the result was “The Filipino and the Chick”. This was noticed by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who was sufficiently impressed to hire Anderson to work on one of his newspapers, The Journal. Here Anderson developed “Raffles and Bunny” and later on “Herr Spiegelberger, The Amateur Craftsman”.

The Beginning of Henry

Neither enjoying any long term success and after a period as a freelance cartoonist, Anderson returned home to Madison to resume his career. as a carpenter. In his spare time he taught cartooning at evening school and, rather on a whim, he sent a new creation, a bald headed boy called Henry, to the Saturday Evening Post. It was immediately accepted and proved to be a great success.

Henry on Cards

Anderson worked on the Henry cartoon strip until his death on 4th November 1948, and it was thereafter continued by his assistants. The quality of the Henry cartoons can be instantly appreciated from the Wix series of cards. Most of the comic situations still seem fresh and humorous today.

The firm of J Wix was acquired by the American Tobacco Company in 1927 and was heavily involved in coupon trading schemes until these were banned in the early 1930’s. Possibly the idea of making the Henry cartoons into a card series came from ATC. When the parent company issued a similar series in the USA it was something of a breakthrough as few, if any, cigarette cards had been issued there since World War I.