Month: July 2012 (page 1 of 5)

Found in the Collection: Frank Beaven

Here at the Cartoon Library, it’s always a bittersweet thrill to find another absurdly gifted yet unsung talent in the vaults. Today, Frank Beaven! Born in Vincennes, Indiana and a graduate of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Frank lived from 1907-1975, and worked primarily in the 1930s-50s.

Marry me, Gwendolyn, and I’ll take you away from all this” Frank Beaven original from the Ned White Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Although most people unfortunately do not recall him at all, Frank Beaven is remembered either as a cartoonist of saucy girlie drawings for Humorama magazines (which we will not be picturing here!) alongside the likes of Dan DeCarlo and Bill Ward, or as a more refined artist working for The New Yorker, Colliers, Esquire, and The Saturday Evening Post. Because of the two extremes in clientele, Beaven changed his signature often enough to drive a librarian insane. If it wasn’t his full name, it was “FB”, “REKOJ”, “RE”, “F.”, and so on.

Now if she would just look out the window.” Frank Beaven original, from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Frank was an occasional contributor to many publications, and a regular contributor to few. Beyond the high society and mens mags, his work could be seen in ads for Schlitz beer, Tabasco Sauce, Zippo Lighters and Eveready Batteries, as well as in Radio Craft Magazine, a hobbyist publication for those with an interest in home made radios.

He says he’s a stranger here himself!” Frank Beaven original, from the Charles H. Kuhn Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (caption on back of piece)

From 1935 to 1937, Frank was in the funny pages of the Register and Tribune syndicates with his Bats in the Belfry multiple gag feature, for which he would occasionally pay a dollar to readers to write-in gags. For reasons unknown to us (but appreciated by us), nearly every installment contained a panel of ghost jokes.

“Bats in the Belfry” Frank Beaven tear sheet. From the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Frank and his wife Elise Rosenborg moved to Staten Island in 1932, and eventually to Allendale, NJ after the war where they remained until Frank passed away of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Do you have more information on Frank? Feel free to share!

Preservation and the Cartoon Library

If there is one thing that makes us swell with pride more than our own pious treatment of comic art here at the Cartoon Library, it’s seeing the meticulous process by which these pieces are repaired over at our incredible Preservation & Reformatting studio. We are lucky enough to have the expertise of the amazing conservator Harry Campbell at hand, who regularly picks up worn and torn items from us and nurses them back to health.

Recently, Harry and his staff worked on a series of old Puck magazines that needed rebinding. We took a trip over there to snap some photos, and take a look at the facility. There are few places in the world where comics get the kind of treatment that they do at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum!

Like many of the old humor periodicals we collect such as Punch and Judge, issues of Puck magazine were collected and bound into hardcover volumes. The particular collection of Puck that we focused our photos around for today was from 1879, containing the issues from Volumes 5 & 6. As you can see in the images below (click to enlarge), the spine has been damaged severely and the sections had begun to separate from the rest of the text block.









During our visit, we were able to watch Conservation Assistant Brenda Goodwin begin the careful work of deconstructing the volume in order to begin rebinding it with a new spine and casing. Below, an overview of the process through pictures:

With an x-acto knife and a steady hand, Brenda separated the textblock from the binding by slicing it out of the spine lining and endpapers.









The text block is then placed in a vertical book vice (lying press) to hold it steady, while Brenda cleans the old spine off. Because of the strength of the old glue and brittleness of the paper, a softening agent is applied to the spine in order to more easily scrape away the old adhesive. Once the spine has been cleaned and exposed, a new cloth spine lining is applied.














The loose sections from the volume, pictured earlier, are then re-sewn back into place through the new spine lining as seen below. Back in the vice, endbands chosen to match the original format as well as a hollow tube lining is then attached to the spine.







New endpapers are then attached and trimmed down, and the textblock is ready to be glued into its brand new case. The case has been made to the precise measurements of the original binding, with dyed book cloth and a fresh label to replicate the old one.







Once the adhesive has dried and the book has been pressed, voila! We’re left with a brand new version of the same old book, ready to be read without worry of further damage. Below, the finished volume, and a spread from the J.A. Wales cover of  Puck V. 5, No. 129.

We are so thankful to have the help of Harry, Brenda, and the rest of the Preservation & Reformatting crew! They are always hard at work on our materials, so we look forward to posting more process updates as they continue to revitalize our collection.

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