Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: W.A. Kolliker

William Augustin Kolliker was born in Bern, Switzerland, on October 12, 1905, according to Who’s Who in American Art: 1993–94 (1993) and German Immigrant Artists in America: A Biographical Dictionary (1997) He studied at the Berner Secundar Schule in Bern. Kolliker’s study was interrupted when his family left for the United States. At age 16, Kolliker was with his younger brother Franz and Brooklyn-born mother Agnes. The status of his Swiss father is not known. The trio were aboard the S.S. Yorck when it departed Bremen, Germany on June 3, 1922. The family arrived in New York City on June 15. The passenger list said they were going to see William Folk who resided in Brooklyn at 164 Saratoga Avenue. Folk was Kolliker’s uncle.

Kolliker was profiled in the El Paso Herald-Post (Texas), October 29, 1957. He was a staff artist for the New York American and studied at the National Academy of Design. He moved on to the Baltimore American and attended the Maryland Institute. Kolliker returned to New York and produced art for the tabloid, New York Graphic. Who’s Who said Kolliker took lessons at the Grand Central Art School and Art Students League. His next move was to Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied, according to Who’s Who, at the Boston School of Art.

Boston city directories, from 1927 to 1929, listed “William C Kolliker” who worked in an art department. The 1930 directory had his name as “William A Kolliker”.

The 1930 U.S. Federal Census, recorded newspaper artist Kolliker and his wife, Doris, in Boston at 1687 Commonwealth Avenue. About four months later, Kolliker became a naturalized citizen on August 21, 1930. His birth name was Wilhelm.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Kolliker took over Don Flowers’s Puffy the Pig beginning October 12, 1931. Kolliker’s run ended March 4, 1933. He was followed by Milton Caniff and Mel Graff.

The Herald-Post said Kolliker was illustrator, art editor and art director of Hearst’s American Weekly for 17 years. Kolliker also worked in advertising. Among the books Kolliker has illustrated are Adventures in Puddle Muddle (1935) and Help the Farmer (1943).

Kolliker and Doris divorced in 1953. Kolliker married Helen Magruder, a former El Paso and Fort Worth, Texas resident. They moved to El Paso where Kolliker took up painting. He was president of the El Paso Artists’ Association, a director of the Advertising Club of El Paso, and a member of the New York Art Directors Club, the Amateur Astronomers Society, the American Philatelic Society and the International Club. Kolliker’s work was exhibited in galleries and museums.

Kolliker’s third marriage was to Marie Mahovich in 1981.

Kolliker passed away January 24, 1995, in El Paso, according to the Texas Death Index at 

—Alex Jay

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