Joseph Stopford Archibald was born September 2, 1898 in Newington, New Hampshire. His father, Alexander Archibold, was born in 1873 in Canada. His mother, Angelina Stopford, was born in 1872 in Maine. His parents married in 1896 and had two children, Effie (b.1897), and Joseph (b.1898). The family lived in Portsmouth, NH, on the farm of the maternal grandfather, Joseph Stopford, a mule skinner, who was born in 1842 in England.
The children attended public school in Portsmouth.
On September 5, 1905, when Joe Archibald was seven, President Theodore Roosevelt sailed to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard aboard the U.S.S. Mayflower, where he orchestrated the diplomatic settlement of the Sino-Russian War, henceforth known as the Treaty of Portsmouth, for which he became the first American to receive the Noble Peace Prize.
The event was featured in newspapers around the world, as well as in Portsmouth, where local papers also featured funny pages and sporting news, which fascinated young Joe Archibald, who loved to draw.
In 1910 at the age of twelve, Joe Archibald sold his first cartoon to the popular humor magazine, Judge.
In June of 1914 at the age of fifteen, as a Sophomore in High school, he won a prize for an essay contest in The Boston Post, and at the same time flunked his English class.
In June of 1916 he graduated Portsmouth high school, after which he worked as a clerk at the J. F. McMarrel Department Store on David Street in Portsmouth.
On September 12, 1918 he was drafted for military service in the Great War. He was recorded at the time to be short, medium build, with blue eyes and light brown hair. He served in the Navy on a sub-chaser in the North Atlantic. He also contributed cartoons to a Naval service publication.
After his honorable discharge in 1919, Joe Archibald moved to Chicago to study art at the Academy of Fine Arts. He was determined to become a sports cartoonist.
In 1921 he was hired as a Police Reporter at a Boston newspaper.
In 1922 he moved to New York City to seek his fortune. He was hired as a sports cartoonist at a small newspaper syndicate.
In 1924 he began to draw Champions Past & Present, a comic strip for the McClure Newspaper Syndicate, which distributed his work nationwide to over one hundred newspapers. He went on to produce The Muscle Movies (1925), Doing The Sporting Thing (1926), The Saga of Steve West (1928-1929), and Why Boys Leave Home (1930-1934) for the United Features Syndicate.
In November of 1927 Joe Archibald married Dorothy Allison Fenton. She was a typist and Stenographer at a NYC financial office. She was born November 9, 1898 in New York. The married couple moved to Mamaroneck, NY, a prosperous suburb forty minutes north of NYC by commuter train from Grand Central Station. They lived at 121 Mamaroneck Avenue. Other artists who also lived in the same community included Graves Gladney, Fred W. Small, Domingo F. Periconi, William F. Timmins, Pete Kuhlhoff, Constance Benson Bailey, Wilbur Thomas, and Norman Rockwell.
In 1928 to 1930 Joe Archibald illustrated short stories began to appear in pulp magazines, such as Airplane Stories, Brief Stories, Complete Stories, Dragnet Magazine, Eagles of the Air, Flying Aces, Navy Stories, Sky Birds, Sky Riders, Submarine Stories, 10-Story Book, Underworld Magazine, War Birds, War Novels War Stories, and Western Trails.
On February 8, 1930 Mr & Mrs. Archibald rented a house at 18 Summer Street in Portchester, New York. His Mother-in-Law, Ellen "Totty" Allison Fenton lived with them. She was born in 1873 in NY of English ancestry. She owned and operated a Beauty Parlor.
In 1935 he contributed features to the first American comic books that included original material, New Fun, More Fun, and New Comics. Other artists that also appeared in these early comics included Lyman Anderson, Rafael Astarita, H. C. Kiefer, Jack Warren, and Adolph Barreaux. Joe Archibald went on to draw for Thrilling Comics and Real Life Comics. He wrote and drew "Hap Hazard" for Sure Fire Comics. He eventually became Editorial Art Director of Standard Comics.
By 1940 The Archibald family bought a private home at 48 Windsor Road in Portchester, NY.
Over nine hundred stories by Joe Archibald were published in pulp magazines. His stories appeared in over seventy different pulp magazines, such as Ace Sports, Adventure, Air Trails, American Eagle, Argosy, Champion Sports, Dare-Devil Aces, Dime Western, Doc Savage, The Shadow, Pete Rice, Fight Stories, Phantom Detective, Popular Detective, Popular Football, Popular Sports, Popular Western, Rodeo Romances, Sky Aces, Short Stories, Sky Fighters, Super Western, Ten Detective Aces, Texas Rangers, Thrilling Adventures, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Ranch Stories, Twelve Sports Aces, West and Wings. This long list is only a sampling of his prolific production, in which the common thread is a good-natured sense of humor.
His stories were also published in slick magazines, such as Colliers, Liberty, Coronet and The Saturday Evening Post.
During WWII Joe Archibald was too old to serve in the military, so he volunteered to serve as an entertainer for the American Theatre Wing. He drew trick cartoons for wounded servicemen in East Coast hospitals. In 1945 he traveled to Europe as a field director for the American Red Cross. He returned from overseas on the Steam Ship M.I.T. Victory on October 12, 1945.
After the war he focused on his writing career for young readers. Some of his titles include Rebel Halfback (1947), Double Play Rookie (1948), Touchdown Glory (1949), Hold That Line (1950), Fight, Team, Fight (1958), Falcons to the Fight (1959), Crazy Legs McBain (1961), Smoke Eaters (1965), Special Forces Trooper (1967), Baseball Talk for Beginners (1969), Backcourt Commando (1970), Payoff Pitch (1971), and Three Point Hero (1973). Joe Archibald authored over fifty books.
During the 1950s his stories were also published in digest-sized magazines, such as Fantastic Universe, Jim Hatfield Magazine, Phantom Mystery Magazine, The Saint Detective Magazine, and Mike Shain Mystery Magazine.
In 1958 he and other members of the National Cartoonists Society toured military bases in the West Indies, Far East, and Pacific Islands.
By 1960 Joe Archibald estimated that over eight million words of his fiction had been published.
During the 1960s he also worked as a television script writer and even appeared as a guest cartoonist on national television programs.
During his long career Joe Archibald covered many famous sporting events, but according to the artist, "My biggest thrill was the twenty-ninth home run Babe Ruth hit to break the all-time record set by Frank Baker."
In 1972 he wrote," I do not believe there is a more rewarding profession in this world than being a writer. A cartoonist draws a funny picture that is almost immediately forgotten, but an author's words are preserved and read over and over again. It is my contention that Somebody Up There has been more than kind to me, blessing me with two talents."
In 1982 his wife, Dorothy Allison Fenton Archibald died at the age of eighty-four in Mamaroneck, NY. They had no children.
Joe Archibald died at the age of eighty-seven in a hospital in Barrington, NH, on March 1, 1986.
© David Saunders 2015