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1913-02-15 Hank & Knobbs
1951-04 Triple Western
1950 South Pole Husky
1951-04 Triple Western
1947-04 Thrilling Det.
1951-05 Exciting Western
1950-11 West Magazine
1951-05 Exciting Western
1951-03 West Magazine
1951-05 Exciting Western
1951-03 West Magazine
1951-05 Exciting Western















Joseph Alfonsos Farren was born on December 20, 1884 in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Patrick Henry Farren, was born in 1832 in Ireland and moved to America in 1853. His mother, Sarah F. Farren, was born in 1844 in Massachusetts. His parents married in 1864 and had five children, Henry (b.1865), Frank (b.1868), James (b.1871), John (b.1880), and Joseph (b.1884). The family lived at 130 Worthington Street in Boston. The father was a traveling salesman.

On September 16, 1895 the father died at the age of sixty-three.

By 1900 his widowed mother had moved the family to 57 Aspinall Avenue, Brookline, a Boston suburb, where four of her five sons were working adults. The oldest son Henry was age thirty-five, while the youngest son, Joseph, was still in school at age fifteen.

Joseph Farren enjoyed art and worked on the school newspaper. At that same time, his brother, John Farren, was working as a newspaper staff artist at The Boston Post.

In June of 1903 Joseph Farren graduated from Brookline High School, and then joined his brother John as a staff artist at The Boston Post.

In 1910 Joseph Farren, age twenty-six, married Ada Burns, age twenty-two. She was born in 1888 in Massachusetts. They moved to 212 Milton Street in Boston, where they raised three children, Joseph, Jr. (b.1912), Donald (1918), and Lorna (1924).

In 1912 he drew the comic strip "Hank and Knobbs" for The Boston Globe. From 1916-1918 he drew the comic strip "Terry and Tacks" for The Boston Post. He later drew sports cartoons for The Boston Herald.

Joseph Farren was an avid golfer. He competed in many statewide tournaments. He was even offered a steady job as an advertising salesman for the Thomas H. Logan Golf & Ski Shop of Boston.

On September 10, 1918 Joseph A. Farren reported for draft registration during the Great War. At the age of thirty-three with a wife and children, he was exempt from military service. He was recorded to be of medium height and build, with blue eyes and brown hair.

In 1918 the Farren family lived at 1157 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. His elderly widowed mother also lived with them.

In 1926, at the age of forty, he was hired to draw political cartoons for The New York Times. He moved to half of a two-family home at 32-20 Eighty-third Street in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY, which he rented for $75 a month. In 1930 they moved nearby to 34-20 Eighty-Fourth Street.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s Joseph A. Farren began to work as a freelance artist, to supplement his income from newspapers. He drew pen-and-ink interior story illustrations for pulp magazines, such as Clues Detective Stories, Detective Fiction Weekly, Exciting Western, and Fifteen Western Tales.

On April 25, 1942 during WWII he again registered with the draft. He was recorded to be fifty-eight, five-ten, 175 pounds, with blue eyes, gray hair, ruddy complexion, and "completely deaf." He was listed as self-employed, but his business contact was listed as Mr. W. T. Tate at the Frank A. Munsey Company, 280 Broadway, NYC, which suggests his most steady work with that pulp publisher.

After the war the family moved to 82-16 Thirty-fourth Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. He used a spare room as his art studio, where he drew freelance pen-and-ink story illustrations for pulp magazines, such as Adventure, Exciting Western, Fifteen Western Tales, Giant Western, Popular Sports, Popular Western, Texas Western, Thrilling Mystery, Thrilling Western, and West.

He remained an avid golfer all his life. He balanced his art career and golf by a clever weekly routine of visiting midtown Manhattan on Friday afternoons to pick up his new pulp magazine assignments from publishers and then spending Saturday and Sunday composing, designing and drawing everything. He would then mail a small portion of his finished drawings to the art director every morning before heading off to the golf course at the Kissina Club in Flushing, Queens.

In 1950 he illustrated a popular book for young readers, "South Pole Husky" by Charles S. Strong from the Longmans Green Publishing Company of NY.

Joseph A. Farren died of a heart attack in his home in Jackson Heights, Queens, at the age of seventy-nine on February 9, 1964.

                             © David Saunders 2009

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