Ink-Slinger Profiles: Gilbert A. Geist

Gilbert Allan Geist was born in Pennsylvania on January 29, 1879, according to his World War I draft card. In the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, he was the third child of George and Ella. They lived in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. His father was a railroad station agent. The Pennsylvania, Church and Town Records, at, said he was admitted to the Presbyterian Church of Frankford on December 6, 1895.

The 1900 census recorded the family in Philadelphia at 4659 Penn Street. Geist was the third of five children. His birth was recorded as “January 1881”. In the Milwaukee Sentinel (Wisconsin), April 23, 1944, ‘Bugs’ Baer recounted an incident between Geist and Abian “Wally” Wallgren.

…The incident raises the delicate problem of how far a dramatic critic may go. I quote one from the eminent Abian Wallgren of the West Philadelphia Porch Gazette.

Speaking of the dramatic efforts of the late Gilbert Allen [sic] Geist in the Centennial Tableaux of 1906, Prof. Abian wrote, “Mr. Geist would smell on ice. And if you took him off the ice, then the ice would smell.”

Geist challenged Wallgren to mortal combat. And there was a duel with swords at 30 paces.

Neither man was injured. Or at least not enough. Got Geist lived to become a teacher at Texas A. and M., while Wallgren became the Wally of the Stars and Stripes, circa 1917.

In 1906 Geist produced In Birdsboro for the Philadelphia Press Sunday section. After his work at various Philadelphia newspapers he moved to College Station, Texas. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 29, 1909, published an article on college faculty changes.

Gilbert Allen Geist, whose signature upon much of the art work in the columns of the Public Ledger of Philadelphia is familiar to the readers of that paper, is to be of the teaching force of the A. & M. college of Texas. Prof. F.E. Glesecke, who is at the head of the department of architectural engineering and drawing, has secured Mr. Geist as a teacher of drawing to succeed one of the instructors who closed his engagement with the college in June. Mr. Geist took a two years course in drawing at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art, in Philadelphia, and spent almost a year at the Art Students’ League in New York. Since finishing his school work he has been connected with the art staff of the Philadelphia North American, the Philadelphia Press and the Public Ledger and has conducted a class in drawing at the Y.M.C.A. in Philadelphia.

The 1910 census recorded him on the Texas Agriculture and Mechanical College campus, where he was a teacher. On September 12, 1918, he signed his World War I draft card. He was a professor at Texas A&M and named his mother as his nearest relative.

According to the 1920 census, Geist was a widower and lived on campus. Later that year he married Emily Kurtz Dulaney on June 24, 1920 in Seaford, Delaware. According to their marriage certificate he was living in Philadelphia and she in Seaford. Emily was 13 years his junior.

In the 1930 Census the couple lived in Bryan, Texas on South Washington Avenue. He was still teaching at A. & M. College. Texas Painters, Sculptors & Graphic Artists (2000) said: “Geist was an instructor in architecture and drawing at Texas A&M College, College Station (1910-33). His distinctive illustrations appeared in student publications of the period.….”

After retiring from Texas A&M, he returned to Philadelphia where he worked as an architect for the federal government. Geist passed away September 12, 1937 in Philadelphia, as reported in the New York Times the following day. He was buried at Fairview Cemetery in Macungie, Pennsylvania according to Roots Web.

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