Obscurity of the Day: The Shanghai Twins

The Minneapolis Journal didn’t have a Sunday edition way back when, so they simply ran the traditional Sunday features on Saturday (much like those Minnesota neighbors, the Canadians, do).

Charles “Bart” Bartholomew was the sole overworked cartoonist on the Journal in the early years of the century, and he made quite a name for himself in the midwest as an editorial cartoonist. But he also contributed features to the children’s section of the paper on Saturdays. His usual dose was a front page panel cartoon, a few additional illustrations inside the section, and a large comic strip or panel cartoon for the back cover. Most of these back page features were one-shots, but he also indulged in the occasional series, of which today’s Shanghai Twins was the first. It first appeared on October 27 1900, and ran four times, the last on February 2 1901. In this period all of Bart’s back page features took the same form, two panels with rhyming text. The rhymes were likely supplied by W.A. Frisbie, who didn’t take credit on these early features but did later on.

Bart’s most lasting claim to fame was his correspondence cartooning school, whose ads were fixtures in Cartoons Magazine and elsewhere.

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