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 Edwina Dumm  (1893 - 1990)

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Lived/Active: New York/Ohio      Known for: editorial cartoonist, dog activities

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Edwina is primarily known as Edwina Dumm

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Edwina Dumm
An example of work by Edwina
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Edwina Dumm, who only signed her first name to her works, began her long career of incongruities by becoming the nation's first woman political cartoonist. This was at a time when women could not yet vote. She continued on a path of unlikely enterprises when she undertook doing a comic strip about the rambunctious activities of a boy and his dog. How could a woman accurately and humorously portray the workings of the juvenile male mind? Somehow it lasted nearly 50 years.

The source of her material for a lifetime of drawing Cap Stubbs and Tippie was her own, fondly recollected childhood as a shy tomboy in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. This was a small town in which everyone knew everything about everybody. All the kids, including Edwina and her brother, played together. Edwina honed her drawing skill with the Landon School correspondence course, but took business courses in high school and worked as a stenographer for a while after graduating.

In about 1915, she went to work as the staff artist for a weekly paper in Columbus, the Monitor. When the Monitor went to daily publication, she began doing an editorial cartoon every day, becoming the only woman so employed in the nation. Occasionally she did a comic strip called The Meanderings of Minnie, which was about a tomboy and her dog. Edwina knew the big-time for a cartoonist was in New York, and by the fall of 1917, she had saved enough to make a one-year trial there. She had sent samples of her work to the George Matthew Adams Service and had been encouraged by Adams, who liked her dogs.

As soon as she arrived in New York, she went to see Adams; he told her he wanted her to do a strip about a boy and his dog. In six months or so, Cap Stubbs had the circulation to make her a living. Edwina continued her art education by attending classes at the Art Students League and did a little free-lance illustrating. In 1928, her work attracted the attention of critic Alexander Woollcott, who asked her to illustrate his book about three dogs, Two Gentlemen and a Lady. Those drawings were duly noted by Woollcott's cronies at the humor magazine, Life, then in one if its final spasms of readjusting its editorial sights in order to survive. Edwina was soon doing a weekly page for Life about a frisky, wooly-haired terrier, which a readers contest had christened with the name Sinbad.

Throughout her long life, Edwina drew for magazine articles and books as well as her strip. She also drew Alec the Great, a syndicated verse feature about a little dog written by her brother, Robert Dennis Dumm. She never married, maintaining that she had neither the skills nor the interest. Cap Stubbs, his grandmother and his dog, kept lively by her vivid memories of a small town childhood, were both occupation and avocation.

Ron Goulart, Editor, The Encyclopedia of American Comics

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