Born: 1908 July 27 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
Died: 1990 December 10 in Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Biography: Bert Whitman was best known as a newspaper cartoonist who started at the age of 16 in the art department of the Los Angeles Times in 1924 writing and drawing gag cartoons. Coulton Waugh's The Comics (The Macmillan Company) published in 1947, stated he worked as an office boy for the Chicago Herald-Examiner, dates unknown.
Whitman wrote and drew editorial, sports, and/or gag cartoons as well as providing ideas for cartoon content during his career for the Detroit Mirror from 1929 to 1932 (doing sports cartoons, work often being misidentified as for the Detroit News), the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1938, the New York Post from 1944 to 1948, the Miami Herald from 1948 to 1952, The Stockton (California) Record from 1948 to 1969, and the Phoenix Gazette from 1969 to 1982.
He also wrote and drew editorial, sports, and/or gag cartoons and provided ideas for cartoon content for The Brooklyn Eagle and the New York Journal-American dates unknown. Whitman also wrote and drew gag cartoons for Ken (magazine) (Ken, Inc., 1938 series) during 1938 known (Jerry Bails' Who's Who in American Comics Books stated he worked for the magazine from 1936 to 1938, but the magazine was only published from 1938 to 1939).
During his lifetime, Whitman received numerous awards. Amongst which he was awarded three times with the American Cancer Society Award in 1943, 1954, and 1956. He won a Freedom Foundation Award for twenty straight years (dates unknown). Whitman received the Christopher Award in 1955 and 1958 with the Disabled American Veteran's Citation. He also was honored with The National Conference of Christians and Jews Award in 1956 and 1963.
Whitman's cartoons and oil paintings were exhibited in the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and in numerous one-man showings and other gallery exhibitions.
His original cartoons were reported in 1968 to have been added to the permanent collections of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Washington, DC; the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri; The Sam Rayburn Library in Bonham, Texas; the Albert T. Reid Collection at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas; the University of Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Later in life, many of his cartoons were donated to the Arizona Historical Society. Whitman's Debbie Dean comic strip from 1944 and 1945 was collected by the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection which is now a part of The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.
Whitman's known syndication work was:
-Boogie Woogie daily (King Features Syndicate) 1942-XX-XX - 1942-XX-XX [Pencil and inks. Per Bails' Who's Who, Whitman did a few of this comic strip in 1942. Further details unknown.];
-Cynthia daily and Sunday (McClure Syndicate) 1946-10-XX - 1951-XX-XX [Writer. Whitman's work was uncredited. The comic strip was also known as Roger Lincoln, S-Man.];
-Debbie Dean, Career Girl daily (New York Post Syndicate) 1944-01-10 - 1949-07-23 [Creator, writer, and artist. Debbie Dean was a social worker and the strip had a social conscience. Whitman stated that one of the reasons for the strip's cancellation was a story where the word "dope" was mentioned, the slang word referring to marijuana. The storyline resulted in a number of cancellations of the strip by newspaper editors. Debbie Dean would be revived by Walter B. Gibson in 1953, but Whitman had nothing to do with that incarnation of the comic strip.];
-Green Hornet daily (Bell Syndicate) 1941-XX-XX - 194X-XX-XX [Artist. It is very possible this comic strip was never successfully syndicated.];
-Hap Hopper, Washington Correspondent daily and Sunday (United Features Syndicate) 1943-XX-XX - 1944-XX-XX [Whitman did ghost artwork on this comic strip during this time.];
-Mister Ex Sunday (Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate) 1941-01-19 - 1943-09-26 [Creator, writer, and artist. The comic strip was called The Whizzer for its last two known appearances. May have continued past the September 26, 1943 date in other newspapers than the Chicago Tribune. First appeared in the Comic Book Magazine Sunday insert from the start until the insert ended on April 4, 1943, continuing as a standard Sunday comic strip thereafter.];
-Scorchy Smith daily (AP Newsfeatures [Associated Press]) 1944-XX-XX - 1944-XX-XX [Pencil and inks.]
Additional biographical information about Bert Whitman can be found in:
-"About the Author" on the back page in Here's How... About the Newspaper Editorial Cartoon: A Collection of Editorial Cartoons from the Past Decade (Lodi Publishing Co.) 1968;
-A Gallery of Rogues: Cartoonists' Self-Caricatures (Billy Ireland Cartoon Library), 1998, by Robert C. Harvey;
-Cartoonist PROfiles (Jud Hurd, 1969 series) #22 (June 1974);
-cARToon (Cartoon Museum, 1970 series) #6/7/8 (1972);
-Stripper's Guide, "Ink-Slinger Profiles: Bert Whitman" by Alex Jay on Thursday, June 13, 2013, 8:00 am (http://strippersguide.blogspot.com/2013/06/ink-slinger-profiles-bert-whitman.html)
Per Bails' Who's Who, Whitman worked in comic books from 1938 to 1945, but the Grand Comics Database has credits for the Nyoka the Jungle Girl feature for Fawcett from 1952 to 1953. Bails also states he did war comics work for Fawcett from 1952 to 1953.
Whitman did comic book work for Fox from 1940 to circa 1941, Helnit Publishing / Nita Publishing from 1940 to 1941, Tem Publishing during 1940, Fawcett from 1940 to 1943 and 1952 to 1953, Holyoke during 1943 and 1945 to 1946, Novelty during 1943 and 1946, and for Marvel during 1944,
Bails states that Whitman did the Judge Perkins feature in the first two issues of New Fun (DC, 1935 series). That Bert has since been identified as Bert Salg.
He considered his biggest comic book success was his studio, Bert Whitman Associates, securing the comic book rights for the radio show, The Green Hornet, for Helnit at the end of 1940. He later sold the rights to the Green Hornet to Harvey. Whitman's studio ran from about 1939 or most likely 1940 to 1941.
National Cartoonists Society
Notes: Whitman was a founding member.
The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
Notes: Whitman was a founding member.