Ray Wentworth Bailey Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 17, 1913, according to a family tree at Ancestry.com.
In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, he was the oldest of two sons born to Ray and Margaret. They lived in Brooklyn at 63 10th Street. His father’s occupation was editor for a publisher; his World War I draft card said he was a newspaper reporter for the New York Herald. In the 1925 New York State Census, the family lived at 88-24 180 Street in Jamaica, New York, where Bailey was the oldest of three children. The Long Island Daily Press (Jamaica, New York), January 29, 1926, reported Bailey’s eighth grade graduation from P.S. 95, in Hillside.
The Baileys remained at the same address in the 1930 census. His father was a newspaper editor. The Daily Press, June 9, 1931, said he was one of 2,357 volunteers selected “…to attend the Plattsburg Citizens’ Military Training Camp opening at the historic army post on the shore of Lake Champlain July 9.”
The Daily Press, November 9, 1938, said he was “…a graduate of Jamaica High School, Browne’s Business School and the New York School of Fine and Industrial Arts*.” Who’s Who in American Comic Books 1928–1999 said, beginning in 1937, Bailey assisted Gus Edson on The Gumps.
Dorothy V. Behrens, Hollis Junior Leaguer, and Ray Wentworth Bailey Jr. of Jamaica, were married yesterday in Victoria Congregational Church, Jamaica. The Rev. Egbert Macklin, pastor, read the service. A reception for 80 was held in the Forest Hills Inn.
A pale blue afternoon crepe frock and wine accessories were worn by the bride. She also wore a corsage of gardenias and lilies of the valley.
Constance Alice Behrens, here sister’s attendant, was dressed in pale blue crepe, with cyclamen accessories.
Robert Bailey was best man for his brother. The included Edwin Konrath, a cousin of the bride; John Lilienthal of Bellerose, William, Durland and Edward Sheldon, both of Jamaica.
The couple will live in Westport, Conn., after a wedding trip.
The bride is a graduate of Jamaica High School and Pratt Institute. She is a member of Delta Omega Upsilon and program chairman of the Hollis Juniors.
Mr. Bailey, son of Mr. and Mrs. Bailey Sr. of 88-24 180th street, is a syndicate cartoonist. He is an alumnus of Jamaica High School, Browne’s Business School and the New York School of Fine and Industrial Arts.
The 1940 census recorded the couple in Westport on Main Street. Bailey was a cartoonist who did not attend college. He assisted Milton Caniff on Terry and the Pirates, from 1940 to 1944, and Male Call from 1942 to 1946. He was mentioned in the World-Herald Magazine (Omaha, Nebraska), March 19, 1944:
He [Caniff] next writes the dialogue. He writes it directly into blocked-out cardboard strip forms in pencil, and Frank Engli, one of his two assistants (Engli draws “Rocky, the Stone Age Kid,” and Ray Bailey, his other assistant, draws “Vesta West”), checks the words for spelling and accuracy (not long ago Caniff used a verse from the army air corps song; he used two wrong words; Engli corrected this) and inks them in.
When Fred Meagher abruptly left Vesta West and Her Horse, Bailey took over from October 11, 1942 to October 31, 1943. His next credited strip was Bruce Gentry which he produced from March 25, 1945 to January 6, 1951. From Gentry’s airplanes Bailey switched to rockets in Tom Corbett, Space Cadet which ran from September 9, 1951 to September 12, 1953. His wife did the lettering, and Paul S. Newman did the writing.
The rest of the 1950s and part of the 1960s was filled with comic book work. For a period in 1960 he ghosted Steve Canyon according to American Newspaper Comics (2012) and Who’s Who of American Comic Books.
According to the family tree, Bailey passed away December 18, 1975, in San Francisco, California. He was buried at the family plot in Greenfield Cemetery, Uniondale, New York.
*The New York Sun, July 1, 1935: “…the New York School of Fine and Industrial Arts, a part of the adult education project of the Board of Education….
The New York School of Fine and Industrial Arts has been in operation for two years, first as a State and later as a Federal and city project. It has an enrollment of more than 2,500 nonpaying students, an exhibition of whose work is now being held at the school building, 257 West Fortieth street.”
The New York Sun, August 13, 1936: “…the New York School of Fine and Industrial Arts…was re-named the School of Industrial Arts, and classified as a vocational school…”