Ink-Slinger Profiles: Milt Youngren

Milton Dewey “Milt” Youngren was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on January 11, 1899, according Who’s Who in the Midwest (1958).

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census he was the youngest of six children born to Peter and Ida. His father was an engineer. They lived in Baltimore at 32 Lakewood Avenue.

The census of 1910 recorded Youngren, the sixth of eight siblings, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin at 299 25th Street. His mother was a widow. Who’s Who said he graduated from West Division High School. He attended the State Teachers College in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin School оf Fine Arts, and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. During World War I, he served for 25 months with Company D, 107th Engineers, 32nd Division. Eighteen months were spent overseas with six months on the front in the Alsace, Chateau Thierry, Oise-Aisne, Soissons, and Meuse-Argonne sectors; and eight months with the Third Army of Occupation on Rhine. He was a member of the American Legion’s Disabled Veterans of World War I.

In 1920 he was unemployed and lived with six siblings in Milwaukee at 405 Albion Street. His oldest sister was the head of the household. The 1922 Milwaukee City Directory listed him, as a cartoonist, plus his siblings at 324 Farwell Avenue.

According to Who’s Who, in 1921 he began at the Chicago Tribune as an assistant art manager, and western art director of Liberty (a weekly Tribune publication). He also was the Tribune’s want ad cartoonist. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said he produced the Sunday Tribune panel, The Last Word on Etiquette, from November 9 to December 7, 1924. He married Sarah Taylor Weidner on September 22, 1925. A passenger list at recorded their arrival, on October 8, in New York City, having visited Bermuda. Their address in Chicago was 1235 Greenleaf Avenue.

Who’s Who said he was on the faculty of the National Academy of Art, from 1925 to 1929, and contributed gag cartoons to various national publications, and created the Sunday feature, Rambling Through the Want Ads, as well as Want Ad Wanda, and Wow! Ain’t Life Sweet?. For Editors’ Feature Service he produced Caesar Bonaparte Smythe from December 1926 to July 16, 1927. Editor & Publisher, October 13, 1928, reported his new contract: “Contracts for two new features were signed by King Features Syndicate this week….The other is a three-column block cartoon called ‘Cholly, the Classified Kid,’ to be used on classified pages. It is the work of Milton D. Youngren of Chicago.” Who’s Who referred to the strip as Classified Cholly.

He and his wife had a three-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, as recorded in the 1930 census. His occupation was comic artist in advertising. They lived in Niles, Illinois at 4827 Greenleaf. The 1935 Evanston City Directory listed him as an artist at 260 Hawthorne Avenue. Who’s Who said he was an associate with the Swan-McComb Studio and the R. J. Grauman Studio, Chicago, as staff cartoonist, from 1934 to 1940. He produced the panel Fair Exchange from 1937 to 1939.

Evansville Courier 11/16/1937

He had a different address in the 1940 census: New Trier, Illinois, at 260 Green Bay Road. His highest level of education was four years of high school, and occupation was artist in “any industry”. For the Chicago Tribune Comic Book he drew Lew Loyal from October 13, 1940 to October 31, 1943.

Who’s Who said he the creator of humorous ideas and drawings for the Hallmark Greeting Card Company since 1951, and the inventor and designer of Squeezem, Wheelzafun, DoFunee devices.

In the 1960s, his cartoons appeared on the back of Kool-Aid packets, here and here.

The Baltimore Sun, February 22, 1969, reported the death of his older brother Harold. Named as one of the survivors, his residence was Milwaukee. According to the Social Security Death Index, Youngren passed away May 1969, and his residence of record was Glencoe, Illinois. An obituary has not been found.

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