Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Tap Goodenough

Mason Tappan “Tap” Goodenough was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on March 31, 1910, according to the Massachusetts birth records at Tappan was his mother’s maiden name.

In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Goodenough was barely three weeks old when the census was enumerated. He was the only child of Harold and Helen. He, his parents and maternal grandmother resided in Boston at 120 Foster Street. Goodenough would live there into the 1930s.

The Boston Herald, January 17, 1926, named the honor roll students, including Goodenough, at Huntington High School. The school swim team was pictured in the Herald, January 27, 1928. Goodenough was the manager and already known by his nickname, Tap.

Information regarding his art training has not been found. A 1930 Boston city directory listed Goodenough as a cartoonist. The following year’s listing said he was in the art department at “5 Winthrop Sq”, which was the address of the Boston American newspaper.

The General Features Syndicate syndicated a number of strips in 1937. Among them was The Sports Parade which was copyrighted by Chuck Thorndike. Editor & Publisher syndicate directories have these credits for The Sports Parade: Tap Goodenough in 1937 and 1938; Tap Goodnuff in 1939; Taper Tapper in 1940; and S.C. Begg in 1942. Apparently Goodenough produced the strip for the first three or four years.

Goodenough also continued George Brenner’s Bing and His Buddies


In 1939, Goodenough resided at 35 Pinckney Street and was an artist at “Amer-Rec-Adv”.

Goodenough’s address was the same in the 1940 census which said he was a newspaper artist. The New Hampshire Marriage Records, at, recorded the marriage of Goodenough and Viola Rennert on December 28, 1940, in Franconia. In 1942, Goodenough lived at 41 Revere in Boston and continued as an artist with the same employer.

In addition to artwork, Goodenough was also writing a column. The Portsmouth Herald (New Hampshire), July 6, 1942, reported the new publication, The New England Outdoor Editor, that had “…a masthead…from a sketch by ‘Tap’ Goodenough, Boston American artist-columnist.”

During World War II, Goodenough enlisted in the army on February 19, 1943. While the 1943 directory said he was an artist, the Herald, February 12, 1943, referred to him as “Boston ski columnist”. Subsequent directories listed his occupation as reporter.

Richard Shaughnessy and Goodenough were co-authors of Skeet and Trapshooting (1950).

The Bennington Banner (Vermont), March 7, 1972, called Goodenough “the dean of American ski writers.”

The Herald, June 28, 1975, reported the death of Goodenough’s mother and said she was survived by her son “…of Yarmouth Port, a former sportswriter for the Boston Record-American and the present outdoor editor for the Quincy Patriot Ledger of Quincy”.

Goodenough passed away October 5,1992, in Bedford, Massachusetts, according to the Massachusetts Death Index.

—Alex Jay

2 comments on “Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Tap Goodenough

  1. Its pretty obvious, based on their styles posted here and elsewhere, that Goodenough trained under Chuck Thorndike, who you profiled here last June 17th.
    Everything I find on Goodenough tells me he seldom, if ever, left New England, so its likely Thorndike taught a class in Boston, or Tap went to Silvermine Connecticut in 1935 or earlier. I'm ruling out just book learning since Chuck gained a copyright on one strip.
    Why or how he inherited Brenner's gig is curious. Maybe this whole syndicate is the result of a class project 🙂
    More later today on Goodenough's family and career that I pulled earlier.

  2. If I may, here’s some of his other career sidelines for this Jack-of-all-Trades to add to your awesome research:
    Newspaper articles have him in Huntington High School at least from January 17, 1926 to 03/03/1929, so he graduated at 19. During this time, and earlier, besides making the honor roll and being on the swim team, as you note, he won a marksman medal at Camp Skylark in Billerica (08/30/1925), provided a character sketch at a talent 'contest' the Brighton Men's Club (03/18/1926), won $5 at school for the essay"Why I Want to Go To College" (03/27/1927 and was chosen to compete in the finals of a speaking contest at school (03/03/1929).
    He was first called as a cartoonist in 1930 and in 1931 in the art department of the Boston American.
    He’s listed as an employee, primarily an artist, with the Boston American (or Record-American) consistently from 03/13/1932 through 1942, as you note, with a few sideline jobs, including having the first ski cartoon used in The Ski Bulletin, March 23, 1934, in addition to the work he did for The New England Outdoor Editor [as you say].
    His Army career is simply awesome! He began with the 87th Mountain Regiment, a ski unit, at Ft Lewis, Washington, and they moved to Camp Hale, CO, in 1942, after which staged a non-landing (??) on Kiska Island in the Aleutians that was abandoned by the Japanese a month earlier. They then returned to Camp Hale and in 1944 were sent to the desert [!!!] at Camp Swift. Texas. And InJanuary, 1945 they were accepted into the 5th Army and became the 10th Mountain Division. In February, they helped flush the Nazis out of The Appenies in Italy.
    After the war he is primarily a reporter for the Boston American from 1946 to at least 1959, but he also had a 15 minute radio show on Wednesdays at 6:45PM on WNAC from 01/15/1947 to 04/02/1947 and directed plays for Scituate's Children's Theatre and the Cohasset Dramatic Club and the South Shore Theatre.
    He was isted with the Quincy Ledger from at least 1962 to 1977, and at Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce in 1981, though he was reired in 1978.
    Along the way he did special reports on golf for the Boston Globe(02/24/1978), fishing for The Hartford Courant (10/08/1978) and a contributing editor (pictures and text) for Skier Magazine (1969).
    And there’s a 1950 photo of him on eBay —

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