Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ray Rohn

Raymond Walter “Ray” Rohn was born on July 10, 1888, in Defiance, Ohio, according to his World War I draft card and Who’s Who in American Art, Volume 1 (1935). However, Rohn’s death certificate, at, had the birth year 1887. A family tree at had Rohn’s full name and said his parents were Samuel Winfield Rohn and Louisa Frances Crandall.

The 1900 U.S. Federal Census recorded Rohn, his parents and older brother Glen in Defiance at 419 3rd Street. Rohn’s father was a salesman.

Information regarding Rohn’s art training has not been found. Early signs of Rohn’s artistic eye were found in two publications. Success, October 1903, named the winners of its July contest: “Special Photograph. …Raymond Rohn, age, fourteen years, 857 Bellefontaine Avenue, Lima, Ohio”. Rohn was named in St. Nichols, April 1905, for his drawing.

A 1906 Lima, Ohio city directory listed Rohn as a clerk residing at 804 West Wayne. The following year a Cleveland city directory said Rohn was an artist who lived at 1073 East 116th SE. Who’s Who in American Art said Rohn “entered the newspaper field in Cleveland and Cincinnati”.

Rohn was in Cincinnati for a time. American Art News, April 17, 1909, mentioned Rohn as a member of the Cincinnati Art Club.

In the 1910 census, Rohn was a Cleveland resident. The self-employed artist resided at 1954 East 116th Street. One of tenants was Dudley Taplin, a newspaper artist.

The 1911 book, Club Men of Columbus in Caricature, featured the work of Billy Ireland, H.J. Westerman and Rohn.

At some point Rohn moved to New York City.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Rohn drew Mrs. R.E. Duce and Her Auntie Stout Antics, from December 7, 1911 to February 11, 1912, for the New York Evening Telegram.

Cartoons Magazine, August 1915, featured the work of Helena Smith Dayton who made portraits of the “Lochinvar Cartoonist Quartette” of Herb Roth, H.T. Webster, R.M. Brinkerhoff and Rohn who was shown in his Gramercy Park studio.

Rohn was a regular contributor to The Green Book Magazine which also published a photograph of Rohn in his studio.

In 1916 and 1917 bachelor Rohn attended the weddings of his friends Webster and Brinkerhoff.

Rohn signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. His address was 12 Gramercy Park in Manhattan, New York City. Rohn’s description was tall, medium build with light brown eyes and black hair. Rohn’s New York military service card said his service began June 13, 1918 and ended December 15, 1918.

American Art News, April 24, 1920, reported that a number artists, including Philadelphia-based Rohn, rented studios at the Hotel Majestic.

American Newspaper Comics said Rohn drew Bedelia’s Beaus for the Ledger Syndicate in 1920. Who’s Who in American Art said Rohn “was with the Art Department of the Philadelphia Public Ledger for about eight years.”

Rohn’s art appeared in many magazines including Judge, The Saturday Evening Post, The Country Gentleman. and The New Yorker.

At, the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania marriage index said Rohn married Birdsey M Minor in 1921.

American Art Annual, Volume 18 (1921), had an address for Rohn at 514 Walnut St., Philadelphia. The Eastern Edition of Advertising Arts and Crafts (1927) listed Rohn at “518 Walnut, Lom 4477 Philadelphia, Pa. Fiction Story Ill., Cartoons, Decoration, Black and White, Crayon, Dry Brush, Line Drawings, Pencil, Pen and Ink, Wash, Water Color.” The American Art Annual, Volume 24 (1927) had 218 Walnut as the address. The Lithographs of Robert Riggs (1986) said “Riggs was sharing a studio on Washington Square in Philadelphia with Ray Rohn, another illustrator whose works were published by The Saturday Evening Post and Collier’s.”

Rohn’s illustrations appeared in The Lady from Long Acre (1919), Slimtonian Socker (1922) and Wilbur Whaffle, Sloganeer, an Autobiography (1931).

In the 1930 census, self-employed commercial artist Rohn made his home in Philadelphia at 7155 Anderson Street. The household included his wife, two daughters and mother-in-law.

Rohn passed away July 8, 1935, at his home in in Mount Airy, Pennsylvania. He was laid to rest at Arlington Cemetery in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. 

—Alex Jay

One comment on “Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Ray Rohn

  1. Alex, Thank you so much for all this information on Ray Rohn. He was my Great Uncle, and I've only just recently started learning about him. My mother passed last spring, and I inherited decades of family photos and information. None of it had ever been shared with us, before. Among the items were drawings by, and photos of, Raymond, and he immediately peaked my interest. Your information was so incredibly helpful. I've attached it to my Ancestry account. How sad he didn't live a long life. What a marvelous talent he was.

    Thanks, again~

    L. Spangler

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