Something you don’t see very often (like . . . never): Bound volumes of the Philadelphia “Pubic Ledger” with early examples of the “Connie” Sunday comic-strip . . .

I have five old bound volumes of the Philadelphia Public Ledger from back in the 1920s and 1930s.  I almost never look at them, because they are enormously heavy, hugely inconvenient, and gigantically fragile.  They practically fall apart from just my gaze falling on them.

Anyway, I hope to be moving soon, and in connection with that, I had four of the volumes “out” for the first time in about a year.  I moved them to a storage unit, but before I did that, I took a few pictures of one of them (the only one that is not wrapped up), because it is an interesting artifact, and it shows the various parts of the newspaper in a context that you never see them in anymore.

These are not designed to be read, nor are they displayed to show the art, or the specifics of anything.  The real purpose is just to show what the context of the Sunday Public Ledger comics section was, and generally how the strips appeared in that context.  Only the last two pictures below show Connie comic-strips.

The bound volume shown covers part of the second half of 1929 — Sunday papers only.  I’m not sure of the date span, but I think it is probably October through December.  That volume is shown on top of another volume that is wrapped up.

IMG_7324 Ledger blog

Here is a closer view:

IMG_7320 Ledger blog

Next is shown the volume open to the first page of a comics section.  To the left is a Sunday magazine-section on different paper-stock.  Notice that the comics are smaller (in format) than the magazine section, which in turn is smaller than the basic newspaper.  Nonetheless, the comics section is quite large, and a lot of the comic strips are full-page.  The first page here, though, is not a full page — it’s a Bringing Up Father strip, with a Rosie’s Beau topper.  I don’t know for certain, but I would guess that Bringing Up Father, being on the front page of the comics section, was considered the “lead” (most important or popular) strip.  It is further my supposition that Connie, on the last page of the section, was considered the second-most important strip.

IMG_7328 Ledger comics cropped

Next is shown an “interior” page (not necessarily from the same section).  On the left are Harold Teen and Smitty, and on the right is Hairbreadth Harry.  Harold Teen is basically in red (and black and white). Smitty is basically yellow (and black and white).  These are other examples of the limited-color strips that were pretty common in those days, and which I have discussed elsewhere on this blog.  Those are half-page format here.  The Hairbreadth Harry is an example of a strip that is full-page and full-color.

The fact that these strips are a certain format does not necessarily mean that was the only format for the strip at that time.

IMG_7333 Harold Smitty Hairbreadth 2

Next is a Connie, in full-page format, on the last page of the comics section.  One would often have no way of knowing where the Connie comic-strip was located, or anything about which other strips appeared with it, if it were not for artifacts such as this bound volume.  (I’m pretty sure the pages of this section were not numbered.) Then you see the front page of I think the following week’s Sunday paper.

IMG_7350 Ledger Yet Another Connie

Next, Connie from a different week.  You can see clearly the magazine section (larger format) beneath the Connie (and beneath the rest of the comics).  At the bottom of the page, in blue and white, is an advertisement for the daily Connie comic-strip.

IMG_7340 Ledger Connie cropped 2

In most of the foregoing pictures, you can see the ravages of time which in my experience is not unusual in newspapers of that vintage.  This is pronounced at the edges and folds.  The comics sections, as can be seen above, being somewhat smaller, are better preserved.  Some comics in those days were printed on high quality paper that still looks fresh even today.  Of course, a great deal depends upon the conditions of storage.

—Tom Sawyer

August 17, 2014

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4 Responses to Something you don’t see very often (like . . . never): Bound volumes of the Philadelphia “Pubic Ledger” with early examples of the “Connie” Sunday comic-strip . . .

  1. Liz (Godwin) Rizzo says:

    WOW!! Now that is what I call a serious collection!

  2. Thomas Ward says:

    Could you tell us more about how you found these treasures? Were there any other years being offered at the time? Would you ever consider having them donated or borrowed to be microfilmed? The reason I ask I had used before and I don’t believe they had any of the Ledger’s papers microfilmed. I was wondering if there are any hidden articles about Frank Godwin in those papers being that this is the syndicate he worked for.

  3. Liz, thanks for the nice compliment! Thank you also for mentioning this blog on the Frank Godwin, Artist Facebook page yesterday. That was very kind of you!

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