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1936-11 More Fun
1936-01 More Fun
1936-11 More Fun
1936-01 More Fun
1947 Delano Studio Plate
1936-06 The Comics
1947 Delano Studio Plate
























































(1896 - 1950)

Thomas Mac Fergus Cooper was born Thomas Ferguson Cooper on September 24, 1896 in Stirling, Scotland. His father, George Robert Cooper, was born in 1866 in Scotland. His mother, Mary Rebecca Ferguson, was born in 1872 in Scotland. The parents married in 1893 and had four children, Henry "Harry" Cooper (b.1893), Thomas Mac Fergus Cooper (b.1896), Selina "Nina" Cooper (b.1897), and Roberta "Berta" Cooper (b.1899). The father was a carpenter at a brewery.

In 1898 the family moved to Lancashire, England, where the father had been hired as a carpenter at an English brewery. The family lived at 115 North Greaces in Lancashire.

On January 6, 1905 the father, George Robert Cooper, left England and traveled to Canada, where he had been hired as a carpenter at the newly-founded Hamilton Iron and Steel Company of Hamilton, Ontario, which is on Lake Ontario, eighty miles east of Niagara Falls.

On September 19, 1906 the wife and four children left England and traveled on the Steam Ship Numidian to Canada, to join the father in Hamilton, Ontario. That same year the entire Cooper family applied for Canadian citizenship.

In 1908 the father, George Robert Cooper, died at the age of forty-two.

In 1911 the Canadian Census recorded the Cooper family in East Hamilton, Ontario, where the eldest son, Harry Cooper (age seventeen) supported the family as a carpenter at the Hamilton Iron and Steel Company, which went on to become Stelco, one of the world's largest steel mills.

In June of 1914 Thomas Ferguson Cooper (age seventeen) graduated high school in Hamilton, Ontario.

In 1916, during the Great War, Thomas Ferguson Cooper enlisted in the Canadian Army and served with the infantry overseas. After his honorable discharge in 1919 he returned to his home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

On April 1, 1920 Thomas Ferguson Cooper left his family home in Canada and entered the USA through Buffalo, and traveled by train to New York City, where he enrolled in the Art Students League at 215 West 57th Street. He found a small apartment in Greenwich Village at 51 West 10th Street. The two artist brothers, Edward Dalton Stevens and William Dodge Stevens shared a studio in the same building. Some of the other artists and writers who lived in this Bohemian neighborhood included Edward Hopper, John Richard Flanagan, Albin Henning, Jay McArdle, Alex Redmond, Delos Palmer, Herbert Morton Stoops, Harold Hersey, Donald C. Hewitt and Raymond A. Burley.

On August 10, 1922 the artist's mother, Mary Ferguson Cooper, died at the age of fifty in Hamilton, Canada.

On May 30, 1925 the pulp magazine Adventure featured a cover painted by Thomas Ferguson Cooper. He signed this work as "Thos. F. Cooper"

On February 19, 1926 Thomas Ferguson Cooper married Margaret C. Place in Manhattan. After three years the marriage ended unhappily in divorce. There were no children.

In 1929 the artist began to use the hyphenated name, "Thomas MacFergus-Cooper." This included both the maternal and paternal family names. Although his mother's maiden name was "Ferguson" the artist invented an altered version, possibly because "MacFergus" and "Ferguson" both mean "son of Fergus."

On January 20, 1930 Thomas MacFergus- Cooper traveled with a friend, Doris Von Kaulbach, on the Steam Ship Munplage from New Orleans to Mexico, where the artist painted watercolors of the Yucatan.

From April 11th to March 28th of 1931 Thomas MacFergus-Cooper exhibited watercolors at the Fifteen Gallery located at 37 West 57th Street. The show was favorably reviewed in The New York Times.

In 1931 Thomas MacFergus-Cooper married his second wife, Doris Von Kaulbach. She was born April 1, 1899 in Munich, Germany. She was five-foot-four, blond, with blue eyes. She was a college graduate, a professional pianist, and spoke four languages, English, German, French, and Danish. She lived at 18 West 75th Street on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Her sister, Mathilde Kaulbach was married to the renowned German Expressionist artist Max Beckmann (1884-1950).

In 1931 Mr. & Mrs. MacFergus-Cooper left NYC and moved to Long Island, where they lived in the abandoned lighthouse on Old Field Road in Setauket, NY. The local business directory listed Mr. MacFergus-Cooper's occupation as "portrait painter."

In 1932 Thomas MacFergus-Cooper was elected President of the Suffolk County Society of the Arts.

In 1935 he began to draw the comic strip "Buckskin Jim" for Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's newly-invented comic books, More Fun and New Fun. He signed his work "Tom Cooper," and also as "MacFergus." He continued to illustrate features as the primary artist appearing in these earliest American comic books for the next two years.

On November 5, 1937 the artist and his wife traveled on the Steam Ship Bremen to Germany to visit his mother-in-law, Mrs. Frida Von Kaulbach (age sixty-six), in Ohlstadt, Bavaria, Germany. She was a celebrated violinist, whose professional name was "Frida Scotta."

On June 8, 1939 the artist and his wife traveled to Germany on the Steam Ship Deutschland to again visit the Mother-in-law, Frida Von Kaulbach (age sixty-eight), and persuade her to join them in America.

In 1940 Mrs. Doris MacFergus-Cooper performed a piano recital for the Smithtown Choral Society to benefit the Red Cross.

In 1942 during WWII Thomas MacFergus- Cooper registered with the selective service, as required by law. He was recorded at the time to be age forty-six, five-eleven, 160 pounds, with blue eyes, gray hair, ruddy complexion, and "right knee scarred."

In 1945 his brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Mr. & Mrs. Max Beckmann, left Europe and moved to America.

In 1947 Thomas MacFergus-Cooper began to work with the Delano Studio of Setauket, NY, to mass produce hand-painted plates that featured watercolor designs from the artist's sketchbook. Anther artist who also lived on Long Island and worked with this company was Frederick Blakeslee.

Thomas MacFergus-Cooper died at the age of fifty-three in his old lighthouse home on May 16, 1950.

Two months later, the artist's wife, Doris (Kaulbach) MacFergus-Cooper, died at the age of fifty-one on July 23, 1950.

Five months after that, on December 27, 1950, the artist's famous brother-in-law, Max Beckmann, died of a heart attack at the age of sixty-six, while he walked along Central Park West and 69th Street in NYC.

                              © David Saunders 2017

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