|Carl Thomas Anderson was born on February 14, 1865 in Madison, Wisconsin to Norwegian immigrant parents. The family later moved to Nebraska where the teenage Anderson became apprentice to a carpenter. He left school before graduation and made his way through the midwest by working at planing mills. Anderson was an expert cabinet maker by his mid 20s. He even designed a folding desk which he then patented.
A cartooning correspondence school pamphlet caught the eye of the young Anderson sparking him to travel to Philadelphia. There he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art. He got a job drawing fashion illustrations for the PHILADELPHIA TIMES at the age of 29 in 1894. A dozen or so years later, he was offered a job drawing for the NEW YORK WORLD Sunday pages where he created a comic strip called "The Filipino and the Chick." The strip's life was cut short when he was scooped up by the NEW YORK JOURNAL and put to work on a comic strip called "Raffles and Bunny" for the Sunday edition. "Herr Spiegelberger, the Amateur Cracksman" was another new strip he created in 1903 for the McClure Syndicate. These early comic strips did not catch on. Anderson turned to freelancing gag cartoons for PUCK, LIFE and JUDGE for the next 25 years. The 64 year old Anderson found the markets shrinking and his income greatly reduced by the time of the stock market crash in 1929. He left New York City for good in 1932 having exhausted his prospects.
Anderson returned to his home town of Madison to attend to his dying father. He considered returning to cabinet making as a source of income, falling back on woodworking skills he had learned as a young man. In the meantime, he began to teach a night school cartooning class. One night he drew a bald-headed child as part of his lesson and called the kid, "Henry." His students took an immediate liking to the character. He took a chance and sent some cartoons with the new character to the SATURDAY EVENING POST. He finally hit it big with his sale of HENRY at the age of 67. The first cartoon appeared March 19, 1932. HENRY started running on the last page of every issue of the weekly magazine.
William Randolph Hearst saw HENRY in a German magazine. He liked the character and saw the character had potential for a daily comic strip in his papers. The papers were drawn, Anderson agreed and he was signed to be syndicated by King Features. The already popular character was a big success in his new comic strip. The daily began December 17, 1934 with the half-page Sunday soon following on March 10, 1935. Carl Anderson had two assistants in the production of the HENRY comic strip. John Liney was first an assistant on the gags and then later with the art on the dailies. Don Trachte on the Sundays since they began in 1935. Anderson retired in 1942, finding it difficult to draw due to arthritis. That same year, Anderson published the book HOW TO DRAW CARTOONS SUCCESSFULLY which contained 46 lessons on cartooning. He died on November 4, 1948 in Madison, Wisconsin.
He never married.
The cartoons and art drawn by Carl Anderson are believed to be in the public domain • The HENRY comic strip is © King Features Syndicate
The posting of this art is for scholarly and educational purposes • Commentary & Design © 2008 Art Baxter