Saturday, August 11, 2012

Walter H. Gallaway (1870-1911)

Walter H. Gallaway was one of the most accomplished of Indiana illustrators from the early twentieth century. He drew cartoons and illustrations for the three main humor magazines of his day, Puck, Judge, and Life, while his talent for cartooning landed him in a tug-of-war between Hearst and Pulitzer papers in New York City. Because of that, he became one of the first artists from the Hoosier State to draw a Sunday comic strip. Sadly, Walter Gallaway died at age forty and his name has almost been forgotten.

Walter H. Gallaway was born in Pendleton, Indiana, on October 10, 1870, and moved with his family to Indianapolis at age fifteen. He didn't care for high school and left after two years to study art under William Forsyth at the Indiana School of Art. At age twenty, Gallaway set out for New York City, determined for a career in the theater. He studied at the Art Students League but was forced to return to his Indiana home for lack of finances after only a year. During the last decade of the nineteenth century, Gallaway drew pictures for the Indianapolis News, using his position as a springboard for a return to New York. By 1900 he was back in the Big Apple and sharing living quarters with Frederick Coffay Yohn, a fellow Indiana artist.

For the next several years, Gallaway bounced back and forth between the New York Journal and the New York World. He also cartooned for the New York Herald and the Boston Herald. In addition to drawing cartoons and illustrations for those two papers, Gallaway contributed to humor magazines, as well as to Munsey's Magazine and The Saturday Evening Post. He joined the ranks of early Sunday comic strip cartoonists with Citizen Fixit, Absent Minded Augie, Louis Laughs, and Was There Ever a Boy Like Barney Blue, all between 1903 and 1908. The only native-born Hoosier that I know to have preceded him as a comic strip artist was Roy W. Taylor of Richmond.

Walter Gallaway died on September 7, 1911, at his home in Westport, Connecticut, and was buried in Brooklyn.

Text copyright 2012 Terence E. Hanley

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