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1917-04-01 Newspaper
1945-08 Shadow Comics
1926 Gelatin Isle
1946-03 Shadow Comics
1934-09-08 Ledger Synd.
1947-01 Shadow Comics
1938-06 Crackajack
1946-05 The Shadow
1940 Myra North
1946-06 The Shadow
1943-03-21 Phil. Inquirer
1947 The Shadow Annual
























(1889 - 1949)

Charles Joseph Cole, Jr., was born on April 15, 1889 in Philadelphia. His father, also named Charles Joseph Coll, was born in 1862 in Pennsylvania of Irish ancestry. His mother, Catherine McVeigh, was also born in 1862 in PA of Irish ancestry. His parents married in 1888 and had seven children, Charles, Jr. (b.1889), Leo (b.1891), Joseph (b.1892), Marie (b.1894), Raymond (b,1896), Louisa (b.1899), and Catherine (b.1906). The family lived at 49 North 36th Street. The father was a Dancing Master at a Philadelphia Dance Hall.

In 1899, while still a child in grade school, Charles Coll, Jr., became interested in a career as a cartoonist, so his parents enrolled him in a Saturday art class at the Philadelphia Art Museum, where his instructor was the celebrated newspaper artist Joseph Clement Coll (1881-1921). Despite their sharing the same last name, there was no family relation.

On July 5, 1908 The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that "Professor Charles J. Coll, the popular dancing master from Philadelphia will open the Wildwood Crest Ocean Pier pavilion with his usual attractive features."

In 1909 Charles Coll, age twenty, began to contribute illustrations to the Sunday supplement magazine of The Philadelphia Public Ledger. He regularly illustrated the feature "Stories For Boys and Girls" by Ruth Plumly Thompson (1891-1976).

In 1912 Charles J. Coll married Agatha Rice. She was born in 1890 in Pennsylvania of Irish ancestry. They had two children, Charles Earl Coll (b.1914), and Robert Coll (b.1923). The family lived at 5920 Osage Avenue in Philadelphia.

On April 19, 1914 The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, "Charles J. Coll, who for many years has conducted a dancing academy at the Knights of Columbus Hall, at the southeast corner of 38th and Market Streets, has purchased Institute Hall, at the northwest corner of 40th and Ludlow Streets for $50,000. The building will be completely renovated, refurnished and appointed for a dancing academy, The New Drawing Room, operated by Professor Coll, with the aid of his sons."

In 1916 Charles J. Coll, Jr., was a staff artist at The North American, a Philadelphia newspaper at Broad and Sansom Streets, where the artist identified his work as a "graphic designer and illustrator."

On June 5, 1917, during the Great War, Charles J. Coll. Jr., registered with his draft board. He was recorded at that time to be twenty-eight, five-ten, 150 pounds. He was not selected for military service.

In 1919 his father wrote "Dancing Made Easy" for the Edward J. Clode Publishing Company of New York.

During the 1920s Charles J. Coll, Jr., was the art director of the Newspaper Enterprise Association. He also illustrated several children's books by Ruth Plumly Thompson, "Princess White Mouse (1920), "The Little Gingerbread Man" (1923) and "The Princess of Gelatin Isles" (1926).

In 1927 he drew the comic strip "Deb Days" by Litta Mabie for The Philadelphia Ledger newspaper syndicate. When he left that strip he was replaced by another local artist, Earle K. Bergey.

In 1929 he illustrated Ruth Plumly Thompson's updated versions of classic fables, "Flapper Fairy Tales," for the Ledger Syndicate.

On July 13, 1931 the artist's father, Charles J. Coll, died at the age of sixty-nine in Philadelphia.

During the Great Depression the artist drew "Myra North - Special Nurse" for the Ledger Syndicate. He also contributed without credit to several other popular syndicated comic strips.

On April 27, 1942, during WWII, he registered with the selective service. He was recorded to be fifty-three, five-eight, 165 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and a ruddy complexion. He was listed at 7117 Hazel Avenue in Upper Darby, PA. He listed his employer as The Philadelphia Inquirer at Broad and Cahill Streets.

In 1943 he left the field of newspapers and became a staff artist at the New York art studio of Jack Binder, where they supplied material for comic books published by Fawcett, Marvel, Feature, Lev Gleason, and Street & Smith. Artists who worked at the Binder Shop included Kurt Paul Schaffenberger (1920-2002), Munson Leroy Paddock (1886-1970), Victor Eugene Dowd (1920-2010), Harry V. R. Anderson, Ann Brewster, Walter Darr, Fred Eng, Arnold Hicks, David Moneypenny, Walter Popp, Gustav Schrotter, Marcia Snyder, Jimmy Thompson, and E. C. Stoner. According to one of his artists, "Binder had a loft on Fifth Avenue and it just looked like an internment camp. There must have been fifty or sixty guys up there, all at drawing tables." Jack Binder eventually moved the business to a carriage house barn near his home in Englewood, New Jersey. While working at the Binder Shop, Charles Coll created covers for Blackstone, Red Dragon, Elliman - Ace of Magic, The Shadow Comics and Doc Savage Comics.

On May 23, 1946 the artist's mother, Catherine (McVeigh) Coll died at the age of eighty-four Philadelphia.

In 1946 Charles Coll created several covers for the pulp magazine The Shadow. He also painted the cover for The Shadow Annual of 1947.

In November of 1948 Charles Coll became ill, and spent several months in a hospital in Bywood, PA, where he died at the age of fifty-nine on January 18, 1949.

                             © David Saunders 2017

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