Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Bill Sakren



William “Bill” Sakren was born on September 15, 1902, in Russia, according to his World War II draft card at Ancestry.com. In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Sakren was the oldest of four children born to Benjamin and Fanny. The census said Sakren’s father, a brass finisher of gas lights, emigrated in 1906. The rest of the family followed in 1907 except for the youngest child who was born in New York. The Sakrens lived in Brooklyn at 2018 Bergen Street.

According to a 1954 passenger list, Sakren became a naturalized citizen in May 1914 in New York City.

The 1915 New York state census recorded the Sakrens in Brooklyn at 1565 Park Place. The 1920 census had the house number 1567. Sakren was in college.

The Morning Herald (Hagerstown, Maryland), November 11, 1959, said Sakren was “a graduate of Pratt Institute in New York and the Julian and Collarassie Academies in Paris.”

In the 1925 New York state census Sakren, an artist, continued to live with his parents whose address was 180 Lott Street in Brooklyn. Sometime after the census Sakren went to Paris to continue his art studies.

A 1927 issue of Town & Country mentioned an “exhibition of paintings by William Sakren, February 23–March 7.” On November 15, 1927 he returned aboard the S.S. Olympic to New York City. While in Paris he met aspiring artist Roy R. Neuberger. Neuberger became a financier and collected art including work by Sakren which was catalogued in The Neuberger Collection: An American Collection; Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture (1968).

William Sakren
An acquaintance whom Mr. Neuberger met in Paris in 1927, Sakren is a commercial artist who has created the cartoon character Mortimer Mudd. He presently lives in Connecticut.

Sakren was not yet been found in the 1930 census.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Sakren created Mortimer Mum for the George Matthew Adams Service. The strip ran from April 15, 1935 to September 10, 1938. Sakren and his strip were mentioned in the New Orleans Item (Louisiana), March 23, 1936.

A cartoonist and a newspaper publisher were among the passengers aboard the S.S. Atlantida of the Standard Fruit company which docked at the Desire street wharf this morning. Will Sakren of New York City is the creator of mortimer Mum, a syndicated feature. he plans to stay at the Monteleone hotel. …

Sakren traveled to Europe again. He returned from Le Havre, France and arrived in New York City on September 25, 1937.

On February 27, 1940 Sakren departed Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. His ship the S.S. Carrillo arrived in Philadelphia on March 4. He returned in time for the 1940 census enumeration. Sakren’s residence was 404 East 55th Street in Manhattan, New York City; the address was the same in 1935. He was a self-employed artist.

Sakren signed his World War II draft card on February 16, 1942. The address and occupation were the same. His description was five feet four inches, 150 pounds with brown eyes and black hair.

The Connecticut, Divorce Index, at Ancestry.com, said Sakren married Marjorie [Rosay] in April 1946 in Connecticut. They divorced February 22, 1971.

On October 30, 1954, Sakren, his wife and two sons, Paul and Jared sailed for Plymouth, Great Britain. Their home was Kent Hollow, New Preston, Connecticut. The Sakren family departed Naples, Italy, on February 15, 1955. Eight days later they arrived in New York City.

In the 1950s and 1960s American Newspaper Comics said Sakren created the series It All Depends (1952); Blitz Brothers (1959) also known as Innocent Bystander, The Payoff, and They Never Change (February 26, 1962); Opinion-Wise (1963) which was replaced by Walter (1965).

Sakren also worked at Johnstone and Cushing which produced advertising comics.

The New Yorker magazine published two Sakren cartoons in its January 10, 1977 and May 30, 1977 issues.

Sakren passed away November 13, 1991, in Kent, Connecticut, according to the Connecticut Death Index at Ancestry.com.

—Alex Jay

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