<<BACK          HOME          GIFT SHOP           CONTACT            LINKS          NEXT>>
1917 DeWitt Clinton
1937 Sally the Sleuth
1920 Gypsy Girl
1941 Book Illustration
1931-03 Five Novels
1941 Book Illustration
1931-03 Five Novels
1941 Book Illustration
1931-03 Five Novels
1941 Book Illustration
1936-02 Enchanted Stone
1955 Book Illustration
1936-10 Spicy Detective
1955 Book Illustration
1937 Sally the Sleuth
1968 Glamor & the Camera





































"Adolphe Leslie de Griponne Barreaux, Jr." was born Adolphus Barreaux Gripon on January 9, 1899 in Charleston, South Carolina. His father, George Barreaux Gripon, was born in 1870 in Charleston. His mother, Georgiana Little, was born an orphan in 1873. She was adopted and raised by Mr. & Mrs. James Gadsden, a barber, at 105 Calhoun Street in Charleston. His parents married in 1895 and had two children, Helena Gripon (b.1897), and Adolphus Gripon (b.1899). The family lived at 36 Alexander Street. The father was a wheelwright at the H. Steenken Company of Charleston.

Charleston is a Southern port town, so it is a hot and humid entry point for foreign commerce, as well as foreign diseases, such as Malaria, Yellow Fever, Smallpox, and Typhoid.

On October 18, 1899 the father, George Barreaux Gripon, died from typhoid fever at the age of twenty-nine. The widowed mother supported the family by working as a dressmaker. In 1904, after five years of working as an independent seamstress, she began to work for the Louis Cohen Dressmaking Company. For the next ten years the family lived at a succession of boarding houses at 10 Marion Street, 38 Morris Street, 5 Lee Street, and 324 Meeting Street. This instability suggests the family endured financial hardships.

Later in life, the artist fondly recalled his hometown, "There is no place on earth like Charleston. It's unique heritage is priceless. When I grew up the youngsters were happy and the city was safe. The fastest vehicles being drays pulled by tired mules. There were so many simple pleasures of local interest, Washington Day Parade, Friday Dress Parade on Citadel Green, Metz Band concerts on South Battery on Wednesday evenings in the summer, September Gala Week, a bally-hoo shouting carnival on Calhoun Street lined with multicolored flares. A child's wonderland. And big delicious groundnut molasses cakes for a penny. On late Saturday afternoons the town's young bloods gathered in front of Pinkusohn's cigar store at King and Wentworth to discuss plans for the evening. I, much younger, would listen to mention of Beresford Street, wondering what Paphian mysteries were to be celebrated in those murky depths. When in Charleston I cling closely to the heart of my beloved city and when moonlight paints the ancient rooftops, I drift off to slumberland as the gentle bells of venerable St. Michael's chime their quarter-hour blessing upon the sleeping city." Although his childhood may have seemed charming in retrospect, at the age of twelve Adolphus Barreaux Gripon nearly died from typhoid fever. His recovery dragged on for several years. During this long home-bound recuperation he learned to entertain himself by reading and drawing.

He finally regained his health in 1915, at the age of sixteen, when he followed doctor's orders to leave the hot and humid atmosphere of Charleston. He moved to New York City, where he lived with two aunts, Eugenie Gripon Steele (b.1867), and Marie Barreaux (b.1879). They lived at 125 West 90th Street in Manhattan. Adolphus Barreaux Gripon started his new life in New York City under the name "Adolphe G. Barreaux."

In September of 1916 he began to attend DeWitt Clinton High School on Tenth Avenue and 59th Street. This was a large modern public school, which held the national record for the largest number of students. Adolphe Barreaux became a popular student, serving as Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, as well as the Director of the Dramatics Club.

On September 12, 1918 at the age of nineteen he registered for the draft during the Great War, but was not selected for military service. He was recorded to be a high school student of five-foot-six, slender build, 130 pounds, with dark hair and gray eyes.

In June of 1919 he graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School. The yearbook described him as, "staid as a patriarch." He was awarded the Saint-Gaudens Art Medal, which was named after Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), America's greatest Beaux-Arts sculptor, and creator of the famous Robert Gould Shaw Memorial in Boston Commons.

During the summer months after graduation, Adolphe Barreaux worked as a staff artist at the J. Walter Thompson Advertising Company.

In September of 1919 he left NYC and moved to New Haven, Connecticut, where he had been accepted to Yale University School of Fine Arts (Class of 1923). He lived as a boarder at 170 York Street. Yale's office of student employment found him a job at a local drug store, where he made posters and advertising signs. After a few weeks he found a better-paying job as an illustrator at the Hopkins Advertising Agency, 82 Church Street in New Haven. He worked part-time at this agency during semesters, but over summer breaks, he worked there full-time as Art Director.

In July 1920, after completing his freshman year at Yale, he submitted a short story entitled "Hunch" to the pulp magazine Breezy Stories, which was accepted and published in the February 1921 issue.

He remained at Yale for three years, where he directed several art school social events, and was a member of the fencing squad. The Dean of the Yale School of Art at that time was William Sergeant Kendall (1869-1938).

After the summer vacation of 1922 Adolphe Barreaux did not return to Yale to complete his final year, but instead returned to NYC to seek his fortune as an advertising artist. He lived at 552 West 160th Street. He studied with Pruett Carter (1891-1955) at the Grand Central School of Art. He joined the Yale Club, the Cosmopolitan Club, the Fencers Club, the Green Room Club, and the Washington Square Club. He was also a member of the Bohemian Kit-Kat Club, where he played a role in the Annual Artists & Models Ball, which featured goofy skits performed by celebrated artists, such as James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1960), C. D. Williams, Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) and Lejaren A. Hiller, along with their nude models. In 1923 the Artists & Models Ball was raided by the vice squad for indecency. This scandal generated such notoriety that the next annual ball sold thousands of tickets, and had to be staged at the enormous Lyceum Theater on Broadway and Times Square, where Ziegfeld's Follies appeared.

The top Broadway show of the 1922-1923 season was "Make It Snappy" at the Winter Garden Theatre, which starred Eddie Cantor singing his major jazz-age hits, "The Sheik of Araby" and "Yes! We Have No Bananas." 

During Prohibition the American popular culture was significantly influenced by these erotic Broadway productions. Many sideline industries were spawned, including sales of spicy magazines, which were purchased as souvenirs from a hot night on Broadway. William M. Clayton produced Snappy Stories, edited by Harold Hersey. Hersey's ex-wife, Merle Williams Hersey (1889-1956), edited Hot Stuff and La Boheme from the Bohemian Magazine Company of John F. Edwards and Theodore Epstein. Joe Burten produced Burten's Follies, and Frank Armer produced Artists & Models, Art Classics, and Art Lovers. Artists who contributed to these racy magazines included Lejaren A. Hiller, Worth Carnahan, Wesley Morse, R. A. Burley, Oscar Greiner, Max Plaisted, and Adolphe Barreaux. Newsstand sales were handled by Eastern Distributing, which was founded in 1924 by Warren Angel and Paul Sampliner.

In 1924 Adolphe Barreaux wrote a quasi-academic article on "Ancient Aztec Mosaics" for the July issue of the fashionable art magazine International Studio.

In 1924 he opened an art studio at 244 Fifth Avenue and 28th Street, where he painted portraits of celebrities, such as the baritone, William Ryder, and the Ziegfeld girl, Marilyn Miller.

In 1926 he moved to a studio in the Lincoln Arcade Building, at 1947 Broadway on West 66th Street. Several other pulp artists had studios in this same building, such as Alex Redmond, George Gross, Rafael DeSoto, Richard Lillis, and Morr Kusnet.

In 1927 Adolphe Barreaux was elected Director of the Art Alliance of America. Later that year he moved back to live with his two aunts in their apartment at 158 West 106th Street.

In 1929 he rented a new studio at 30 West 47th Street, where he hosted meetings of the new Actors & Artists Club of NY. He entertained celebrities and professionals from the arts, music, and theater. He became a partner in an advertising agency with Raymond L. Thayer, a forty-three-year-old commercial artist, whose illustrations regularly appeared in Judge and Life.

Throughout these flamboyant roaring twenties Adolphe Barreaux waged a publicity campaign to keep his name in the newspapers by sending columnists a steady stream of gossip, jokes, and editorial essays on feminine beauty.

By 1931 the Great Depression had forced most manufacturers to drastically reduce their advertising. As a result, most artists could not survive on income from advertising jobs. Barreaux and Thayer ended their partnership, after which Barreaux opened a private studio to 45 Seventh Avenue on West 13th Street. Thayer found a new partner, Charles T. Stoll, whose daughter would later become one of the few women artists in the pulp magazine industry, Gloria Stoll.

In 1933 Barreaux became a partner in the Beach & Barreaux Advertising firm at 305 East 45th Street. After one year he left that company to become a partner in Jaudon & Barreaux Advertising Agency of 522 Fifth Avenue. Ten months later, that partnership was legally dissolved.

While the Great Depression brought hard times to the once-lucrative advertising industry, pulp magazines were enjoying their period of greatest prosperity, because they sold cheap thrills at newsstands and did not depend on subscribers or advertising income.

In July of 1933 Adolph Barreaux joined Harry Donenfeld and Merle Williams Hersey in the revival of The Police Gazette. This weekly publication, uniquely printed on pink newsprint, featured a comic strip by Barreaux about the saucy misadventures of a Broadway chorus girl named "Flossie Flip." The new Police Gazette ran for one year until it was sold to Harold H. Roswell (1897-1993), who published it for another three decades.

After the sale of The Police Gazette, Adolphe Barreaux continued to serve as the creative art director of Donenfeld Magazines, which included a sensational line of pulps, such as Snappy Stories, Pep, Ginger, Spicy Adventure, Spicy Detective,and Spicy Mystery.

As a clever businessman who produced risqué materials, Harry Donenfeld preferred to cloak the true ownership of his publishing empire behind a maze of smoke and mirrors. As his business rapidly expanded, he needed larger quantities of illustrations. In order to coordinate these assignments, he asked Barreaux to be his art editor, but instead of working for a salary, Barreaux formed an independent artist agency, which was similar to the many advertising agencies he had managed. In 1934 Adolphe Barreaux opened the Majestic Art Studio at 101 West 46th Street, where he coordinated production of all pen-and-ink art that appeared in Donenfeld's magazines. In so doing, he invented the first "comic shop," which would later compete with Harry A. Chesler, Lloyd Jacquet, Jack Binder, Samuel Iger, and Will Eisner (1917-2005).

On June 28, 1934 Adolphe Barreaux married Vera Marie Zirpolo. She was born in 1909 in Brooklyn. Her parents were immigrants from Bagnoli, Italy. The newlyweds moved to 269 West 11th Street. Their marriage was performed at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin on West 42nd Street. Adolphe Barreaux remained a lifelong member of that church, where he was also the Treasurer of the Catholic Layman's Association.

Barreaux convinced Donenfeld to publish an eight-page erotic comic strip called Sally the Sleuth in the November 1934 issue of Spicy Detective Stories. The idea of an adult comic was innovative and popular. Other pulps from Donenfeld soon included similar comic features, such as Dan Turner, Diana Daw, Marcia of the Movies, Polly of the Plains, The Astounding Adventures of Olga Messmer - The Girl with the X-Ray Eyes, and Vera Ray. This last one was named after Barreaux's wife Vera Marie Barreaux.

The Majestic Studio also created comic strips for other pulp magazines, such as "Six-Gun Sandy" by Harold C. Detje for Thrilling Western, and Ace Jordan for Thrilling Adventures, which was drawn by Max Plaisted under the pen name Bob McKay. Plaisted invented that pen-name in honor of his Aunt Roberta McKay. Thrilling Adventures and Thrilling Western were both produced by Ned Pines, who was a business associate of Paul Sampliner, who was a magazine distributor and business partner of Harry Donenfeld.

In March of 1935 Barreaux created the comic strip "The Enchanted Stone of Time" for the George Matthew Adams newspaper syndicate. "The Enchanted Stone" was an educational adventure that featured curious anthropological facts. His strip was marketed to various newspapers in a package deal along with other comics, such as Loco Luke by Jack Warren and Rod Rian of the Sky Police by Paul Jepsen. Both of these artists also worked regularly for Barreaux's artist agency, Majestic Studio.

The very first issue of New Fun Comics was dated February 1935, and the very first page presented "The Magic Crystal Of History" by Adolphe Barreaux. He continued to draw that feature for New Fun Comics, as well as for More Fun Comics, until he was replaced by Raymond Wardel in January of 1936. These were among the first American comic books that used original material, instead of reprinted newspaper comic strips. A portion of the companies that produced, supplied, printed and distributed these comics was owned by Harry Donenfeld and Paul Sampliner.

Some of the other artists that also contributed to these comics were Jack Warren, Paul H. Jepsen, Henry Kiefer, Clem Gretter, Monroe Eisenberg, and Lyman Anderson. All of them worked regularly for Barreaux's art agency and contributed pen and ink story illustrations to Donenfeld's spicy pulp magazines, along with John Kenneth Battefeld, Raymond Burley, Henry Kiemle, Jay McArdle, Harry Parkhurst, Max Plaisted, Paul H. Stone, and Joseph Szokoli.

The February 1938 issue of The Comics from Dell Publications included "The Enchanted Stone of Time" by Adolphe Barreaux. The feature continued for six issues.

In 1938 there was a explosion of interest in comic books, which shook the world of publishing. An amazing hero, Superman, was suddenly selling millions of comics and most pulp publishers rushed into the field. In the spring of 1938 Donenfeld was determined to consolidate control over the company that would become DC Comics. Towards this end he moved Barreaux's art studio to his own company headquarters at 480 Lexington Avenue, where it was officially listed in the NYC telephone directory for the first time.

The degree to which Donenfeld valued Barreaux's contribution to his comic division is indicated by this abrupt relocation during those frantic formative months. This heavy-handed move also reveals Donenfeld's silent but controlling interest in the art agency, of which Barreaux was only the titular head.

On March 22, 1938 Mr. & Mrs. Barreaux had a son, Adolphe Leslie de Griponne Barreaux III, in St. Vincents Hospital. Two years later their second child was born, Theodore Eugene Charles Barreaux. His growing family moved to his Aunt Marie Barreaux's spacious apartment at 79 West 94th Street, near Central Park West. His elderly widowed mother, Georgiana Barreaux Gripon, also came to live with them.

During the 1940s the Majestic Studio was busy producing materials for the booming industry of Golden Age comic books. Barreaux contributed work to The Black Spider, The Raven, The Magic Crystal of History, Tad Among the Pirates, Enchanted Stone, Flip Falcon, Patty O'Day, The Blazing Scarab, and The Dragon's Teeth.

In 1942 during WWII Adolphe Barreaux, at the age of forty-three, did not serve in the military.

In the late 1940s he illustrated children's books, such as "Seven Round the Mountain," "A Treasury of Humor for Boys & Girls," and "A Treasury of Good Night Stories."

In 1949 he became Editor-in-Chief of Trojan Magazines, located at 69 West 46th Street. Barreaux and Donenfeld became co-owners of Trojan Comics. That same year he was promoted to editor of the pulp magazine Hollywood Detective.

By 1952 Trojan Comics had declared bankruptcy, and in 1953, when self-censorship by the Comic Book Code of Decency was adopted by the industry, the market collapsed, at which time Barreaux closed the Majestic Studio.

In the second half of the 1950s he became an editor at Whitestone, a subsidiary of Fawcett Publications, where he produced several books on artistic nude photography, such as Beauty and the Camera, Salon Photography, Bunny Yeager's Nudes, and Glamor and the Camera.

In 1962 he edited several medical textbooks for Fawcett Publications.

On October 3, 1965 his elderly mother, Georgiana Barreaux Gripon, died in Brooklyn at the age of ninety-two.

On April 1, 1971 The News & Courier of South Caroline News published an article about Adolphe Barreaux.

On December 12, 1973 The News & Courier of South Carolina published an article written by Adolphe Barreaux.

Adolphe Barreaux died in NYC at the age of eighty-six on October 23, 1985.

                         © David Saunders 2009

<<BACK          HOME          GIFT SHOP           CONTACT            LINKS          NEXT>>