Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Violet Moore Higgins


1920 Passport Photo


Violet Moore Higgins was born Violet Idelle Moore on November 28, 1886, in Elgin, Illinois according to The Wights: Volume 2 (1977). A Sons of the American Revolution membership application, at Ancestry.com, said her parents were Lindley Briggs Moore and Mary Katherine Banks.

In the 1900 U.S. Federal Census, Higgins and her widow mother resided in Elgin at 154 South Porter Street.

According to the Cook County, Illinois, Marriages Index at Ancestry.com, Higgins married Edward R. Higgins on March 12, 1910. The Wights said he “was born September 26, 1877, San Francisco, California. He was a Captain in the Philippines Constabulary during and after the Spanish-American War. He became a newspaper artist and worked for many years for the N.E.A. division of the Scripps-Howard chain. …”

The Riverdale Press (New York), October 27, 1955 profiled Higgins and said

She met her husband, the late Edward Roberts Higgins, while studying designing at the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago. Mr. Higgins was sharing a room in the city with Frank King, creator, to be, of Gasoline Alley. Both were reporters on the Chicago Examiner at the time. They were married in Chicago and then Mr. Higgins went on to become art and photography director with the Scripps-Howard newspapers and later with the New York bureau of NEA feature service.

In the 1910 census, the newlyweds and Higgin’s mother lived in Chicago, at 3528 West Van Buren Street. He was a newspaper artist and she an artist.

At some point they moved to Cleveland, Ohio. The Riverdale Press said she “gave up her proposed teaching career for illustration work and did some feature writing for a Cleveland society magazine.”

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Higgins’ series, Mister Reelumup the Movie Man, ran from September 19 to October 31, 1915 and was distributed by the Chicago Herald/J. Keeley Syndicate. For the McClure Syndicate she produced Nursery Rhymes, from January to June 1919, and Picture Puzzle Mystery Rhymes, from August 3, 1913 to August 12, 1916.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 4, 1919, said the Higgins spent their summer in New York City.

In 1920 the couple lived in Cleveland at 3518 Prospect Avenue. Their occupation was newspaper artists. They soon moved to New York City where their son, Lindley, was born on October 17, 1922.

The 1925 New York state census recorded Higgins, her husband, son and mother in the Bronx at 5663 Newton Avenue.

American Newspaper Comics said Higgins took over the strip, Drowsy Dick, on October 10, 1926, from Ernest J. King. The Press Publishing series began September 12, 1926 and ended April 14, 1928. 

In 1930 the Higgins lived in the Bronx, New York at 5661 Post Road. She was an illustrator while her husband was a commercial artist. Their son was seven years old.

The couple worked together on at least one project, The Three Musketeers, which was edited by her and illustrated by him. It was published by the John C. Winston Company in 1931.

The Higgins’ address was the same in the 1940 census.

The Wights said Higgins’ husband passed away in New York City, February 3, 1949.

For the Associated Press Newsfeatures, Higgins created Junior Editors, an activity panel for children, which debuted October 18, 1954.

Higgins passed away July 28, 1967, in New York City. Two days later The New York Times said

Mrs. Violet Moore Higgins, a retired newspaper artist and children’s book illustrator, died Friday at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx after a long illness. She was 80 years old and lived at 5661 Post Road, the Bronx. She saw the widow of Edward R. Higgins, also an artist.

Mrs. Higgins, a native of Elgin, Ill., created the comic strip known as “Drowsy Dick,” which ran in the New York World in the 1920’s. She drew a two-column children’s feature called “Junior Editors” for the Associated Press from 1954 until her retirement in 1963.

She was the illustrator for a number of children’s books, including “Heidi” and “Hans Brinker” and she wrote and illustrated “The Real Story of a Real Doll.”

Mrs. Higgins leaves a son, Lindley R. Higgins of Old Bridge, N.J.,a senior editor for McGraw-Hill, and two grandchildren.

Higgins was laid to rest at the Long Island National Cemetery


—Alex Jay

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