Louis Wilfred “Lou” Hanlon was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 12, 1882, according to his World War I and II draft cards; his full name is from Who’s Who in American Art, Volume 2 (1938). In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the oldest of five children born to Michael and Jennie. They lived in Brooklyn at 139 Cumberland Street. His father was a printer and he was a designer. The date of his move to Pennsylvania is not known. Who’s Who said he was a pupil of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Drexel Institute, and the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art.
In 1910 Hanlon lived in Aldan, Pennsylvania on Providence Road, just west of Philadelphia. He was a newspaper artist. He signed his World War I draft card on September 12, 1918. He lived in Philadelphia at 1022 Walnut. His occupation was newspaper artist at the Public Ledger. His nearest relative was his wife Anna. He was described as medium height and build with brown eyes and hair.
On April 25, 1942, he signed his World War II draft cards. He remained in Richmond Hill at a different address, 86-31 105 Street. He worked for the Daily Mirror. His description was five feet seven-and-a-half inches, 150 pounds, with brown eyes and gray hair. In March 1946, he was a member of the National Cartoonists Society.
Hanlon passed away May 5, 1954, in New York City. The Times said he died “…of a heart ailment. He was a charter member of the Society of Illustrators and a member of the Silurians, a society of old-time newspaper men; the Philadelphia Pen and Pencil, and the Circus Saints and Sinners. Mr. Hanlon was an amateur astronomer and actor and an authority on Shakespeare and Gilbert and Sullivan.” He was buried at the Saint John Cemetery in Middle Village, New York.