Ink-Slinger Profiles: Wilfred R. Cyr

Wilfred Rudolph Cyr was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts on September 27, 1889, according to his World War I and II draft cards at In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, he was the fourth of seven children born to Cyril and Laury, both French Canadian emigrants. They lived in Amesbury at 203 Elm Street. His father was a carriage painter.

The family remained at the same address in the following census. Cyr signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. His description was medium height, slender build with brown eyes and black hair. On the disability line it said “distrophy” [sic].

His widow mother, Louise, was the head of the household in the 1920 census. Cyr, unemployed, and his younger brother, Cyril, an artist at an art company, lived with her. She was the proprietor of a grocery store. At some point, Cyr learned cartooning and produced work for the Boston Post. His feature, Exploits of Eve, began February 17, 1929.

The 1930 census recorded the trio at 217 Elm Street. Apparently his mother had remarried to someone named McCaffrey. Cyr was a Boston Post cartoonist and his brother had his own art studio. The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1935 New Series, Volume 30, Number 1 had this entry:

Cyr–Dennett syndicate. 111–120
Cyr (Wilfred R.) Patsy:
Back to the village, 8.—Deep waters, 12.—Dynamite—beware, 1.—Explosion, 4.—Headed for trouble, 6.—Help needed, 9.—Last look, 3.—Patsy to the rescue, 10.—Rivers to cross, 11.—Smoke and flames, 5.—Trouble plenty, 7.—Unpleasant discovery, 2. © 1 c. each Jan. 16, 1935; G 18680–18691.

It appears he formed a syndicate with Dennett to sell a strip titled Patsy. He produced the Romance of Rhode Island from September to December 1936. [Allan butting in — the copyright entry, which lists each illustration as 1 column (?), all appearing on January 16 1935, has the feel of an illustrated story based on the captions. Just my take.]

Cyr was the head of the household in the 1940 census; the cartoonist, with his own studio, had eight years of education. His brother had his art studio and one year of high school. Their housekeeper, Mae Greenwood, a widow, and her grandson resided with them. (I believe she was their sister.) On April 27, 1942, Cyr signed his World War II draft card. His description was five feet five-and-a-half inches, 140 pounds with brown eyes and gray hair, and partially paralyzed in legs and arms.

Cyr passed away January 13, 1953 in Amesbury. The Boston Herald noted his death the following day:

Amesbury, Jan. 13—Wilfred R. Cyr, 63, commercial artist and cartoonist, died today at his home, 217 Elm St. He leaves two brothers, Cyril and Albert, and two sisters, Mr. Simon Ouellette and Mrs. Charles Greenwood, all of this town.

The Herald, January 3, 1955, reported the passing of his brother, Cyril, who died the day before:

Cyril Cyr, 57, of 217 Elm St., an artist and illustrator whose work appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout New England, died today, after a heart attack.

Mr. Cyr, crippled from birth, spent his life in a wheelchair. He was a lifelong resident of Amesbury and a brother of the late Wilfred Cyr, similarly afflicted and also a successful artist….

2 comments on “Ink-Slinger Profiles: Wilfred R. Cyr

  1. I have a Cyril Cyr painted as a fireplace accent in the AdamsHouse at the top of Maple Street in Amesbury,Mas. That house as well as the adjacent Baker House were razed in1984-1985 for the building of the Amesbury Nursing and Retirement Home. The painting depicts the Whitehall Road bearing to the left over the bridge. It is a fall scene with vibrant colors of fall. It measure approximately28 by 46. It is a textured oil. Lovely to see and enjoy.

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