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 James Robert Williams  (1888 - 1957)

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Lived/Active: Arizona/California/Nova Scotia      Known for: cartoons, western genre, sculptor

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James Robert Williams
An example of work by James Robert Williams
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Best known as a cartoonist, he also did traditional painting and sculpting of western subjects.

He was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and was educated in public schools in Detroit Michigan, and Conneaut, Ohio, and then attended Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. He spent a period of time traveling and finding various jobs including working as a fireman on the Pennsylvania Railroad, as a ranch hand in New Mexico, and in Oklahoma as a mule skinner at Fort Sill with the Apaches.

He was in the United States Cavalry for three years, and did tattooing and played football and then worked as a machinest at night jobs while studying art during the day.

In 1922, he sold his cartoon "Out Our Way" to a newspaper syndicate, and the series, for which he became famous, was printed in more than seven- hundred newspapers. The series highlighted in a friendly tone his many experiences and observations from living in the West. Other cartoons by him were "Worry Wart," "Born Thirty Years Too Soon," and "The Willets."

He lived in Cleveland, Ohio, during the 1920s, and from 1931 to 1941, lived on and worked his 45,000 acre Skull Valley cattle ranch in a remote, wilderness area near Prescott, Arizona, and did cartooning and sculpting at night. However, he became frustrated from not having enough time for his cartooning, so he then moved into Prescott, where he lived his remaining years, well liked and respected as a talented, well-seasoned western character.

These Notes from AskART represent the beginning of a possible future biography for this artist. Please click here if you wish to help in its development:
Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on March 30, 1888. Williams studied at Mount Union College in Ohio. In 1922 he became nationally known for his cartoon “Out Our Way” which was syndicated in 700 newspapers for many years. He had homes in Prescott, AZ and San Marino, CA until his death in the latter on June 17, 1957.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Artists of the American West (Samuels); Artists of the American West (Doris Dawdy); Who's Who in American Art 1940; Arizona Highways, Sept. 1952.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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