The New York Story

In the spring of 1937 Bob Lowdon came up to New York and I met him at the Taft Hotel. In the meantime instead of keeping their promise, Ray Cooper had made his son his assistant- the job I was supposed to take and to add insult to injury he only offered me $70 per week to come back as an artist. I had left the family back in Fort Worth while I was in New York and I just had to see them so I took the job anyhow.

When I got back, though I could see it was an impossible situation. Charley Johnson was still there and so was Bill Baker. I wrote back to Bob Nelson at U.S. Printing Co. and he offered me $100 per week to come back there. So this offer I accepted and after just a couple weeks at Stafford-Lowdon I returned to New York.

I went there for several reasons; I wanted to take some more art training at the Art Students League, study lithography with the Lithographic Technical Foundation, get into the Union and of course get a job whereby I could make a living and support the family in Fort Worth, who of course I left behind.

I went up to the Litho Technical Foundation office to interview the Secretary Mr. McDonald to see if he knew where I might get a job. He referred me to Bob Nelson one of the art directors of the U.S. Printing and Litho Co. on 16th St. He put me in his “stable” of artists at $2 per hour when there was a job for me. This was in the fall of 1937. Because I was so versatile I kept busy nearly all of the time. I really enjoyed my work there very much and got a big kick out of working on national accounts.

I enrolled at the Art Students League I think three evenings a week, took a class in life drawing and also stone lithography – I had only worked on zinc prior to this. In addition to that I enrolled with the Technical Foundation’s camera class. I also applied to join the Lithographer’s Union and was accepted as a letter artist. It cost me $45 to join and paid my dues a few months until I left the U.S. Printing Co.

It was a pretty tough life – me up in New York and Bertha and the family back in Fort Worth, but there seemed to be no other way out. But we both survived the winter which brings me up to the time I met Bob Lowdon in the spring at which time I quit my job and went back to Forth Worth in April, 1938. I figured I got such a lousy deal at Statford-Lowdon that I wrote back to Bob Nelson and told him I’d like to come back and work for him again and he offered me $100 per week and $2.50 per hr. for overtime work.

So after only a couple weeks back in Fort Worth, about long enough to get reacquainted with my family I went back to New York again. Things went fine for a while but then another blow fell. They decided to disband their large art department and I was out again. I did some free-lance work for them and picked up a job helping a photo-retoucher on 37th Street; a fussy old curmudgeon but a good craftsman and he taught me some tricks of the trade. Since I kept in touch with Bob Nelson and expressed my desire for a better job he sent me up to the Lindsay Studio in the Daily News Building where I was hired at $2.50 per hour.

Prior to all this time as soon as I knew we’d not live in Fort Worth any more we put our house up for sale. In the meantime I found a house to live in Jamaica, Long Island that I leased for $60 per month. We were finally settled again and happy until I lost my job at U.S. Printing Co. As recounted before after leaving the U.S. Printing Co. I worked at Lindsay’s Studio. I specialized in color airbrush work and in a large studio like this one almost had to specialize. I was one of the four top artists and had my own cubicle. Did not have to work in the “bull pen” as it was called with the lesser artists.

It was a mistake maybe for me to quit there for I was making pretty good money for those days, $2.50 per hour with lots of overtime. Bertha and I were still essentially small-town folks and we wanted to raise our family out of the big city so I decided to look for a job in a smaller place. Again I went to the Litho Technical Foundation and was referred to Livermore and Knight in Providence, R.I. Interviewed Mr. Knight in his New York office and was told that I could have the job as an artist for $100 per week. Lindsay offered me $75 per week guarantee and $3 per hour for every hour I worked if I stayed but decided to leave anyhow. Before making a final decision we decided to drive up there on a Saturday morning to look the place over and talk to Mr. Knight more about the job. So I had my talk with Mr. Knight and accepted the job.