"Jack" Alonzo Vincent Warren was born April 20, 1886 in Crawfordsville, Indiana, which is twenty miles west of Indianapolis. His father, Ora Eugene Warren, was born in 1863 in Indiana. His mother, Mary Elizabeth Smith, was born in 1864 in Indiana. His father bought and sold horses, cows, and pigs as an agent of livestock companies.
His parents met Crawfordsville and married there on October 2, 1884. According to local newspaper accounts, his father was a "splendid singer" and entertained the wedding guests with several delightful songs.
After two years the marriage ended unhappily in 1886. The divorce was granted only a few months after the birth of their only child, Alonzo Vincent Warren. The mother received custody as well as financial support from the ex-husband. Despite emotional conflict, the father provided a portion of the parental care for the infant.
On April 15, 1891, five days before Alonzo Vincent Warren's fifth birthday, his mother married a second husband, John L. Van Arsdall. The step-father was born in 1872 in Indiana. He was a farmer of livestock and dairy cattle. This livelihood suggests the step-father and the father were business associates. The newlyweds did not have any further children. His step-father brought his elderly widowed mother, Rebbecca Van Arsdall, to live with them. She was born in 1836 in Ohio.
On June 11, 1892 Ora Warren married his second wife, Mary Frances Kelley, in Crawfordsville. They went on to have three children, Eugene (b.1894), Leah (b.1896), and Nell (b.1898).
In 1900 at the age of fourteen "Jack" Alonzo Vincent Warren lived and worked on his step-father's livestock farm in Union City, Indiana, which is forty miles east of Indianapolis. He also worked for his father as a cow hand. They traveled to Wyoming to purchase Western horses. During this adventure he met and became a lifelong friend of another cowpuncher, Tex O'Reilly (1880-1946). Their friendship eventually resulted in the collaborative invention of a fictional character Pecos Bill.
In 1901 the Van Arsdale family moved back to Crawfordsville, where they lived at 110 Woodlawn Street. "Jack" Alonzo Vincent Warren was only fifteen years old, but he began to work as an artist at the local newspaper, The Crawfordsville Daily Journal. He drew advertisements, lettered sale banners, portrayed newsworthy personalities and and designed seasonal decorations. His illustrations were published regularly. His greatest ambition was to follow in the foot steps of his artistic heroes Frederic Remington (1861-1909) and T. S. Sullivant (1854-1926). His step-father owned and operated a stable livery service, which earned the family enough prosperity to afford artistic ambitions.
In 1903 Jack A. Warren moved to Des Moines, Iowa, to study at the Cummings Art School. The program was charitably sponsored by the Des Moines Women's Club and the Iowa Society of Fine Arts. He studied with Charles Atherton Cumming(1858-1932) and A. C. Macy, who had previously headed the art department at Drake University in Des Moines. One of the most talented young artists at the school was P. J. Monahan, who also worked as a newspaper cartoonist for The Des Moines Daily News.
During this period Jack A. Warren studied drawing, design, lettering, color, and painting. One of his classmates was a young artist from Iowa, Bert Floyd Carmichael (1885-1967). While in Des Moines he also met Miss Dorothy Deane Devor. She was born in 1887 in Ohio. Her father was Elmer E. Devor and her mother's maiden name was Lorinda Byron.
In 1909 he and his pal Bert Floyd Carmichael left art school and moved to New York City to seek their fortune as commercial artists. They enrolled at the Art Students League at 215 West 57th Street. They became friends with another student at that school, Wakinasa Mangoku (b.1884), who was from Fukui, Japan. He suggested they all share rented lodgings with him at 147 West 84th Street. The three roommates lived together and studied together at the Art Students League for the next three years.
The three roommates were all employed as studio assistants for a busy and successful artist, Edward Bartholomew Edwards (1873-1948), who popularized the innovative design technique of Dynamic Symmetry. His art studio was located in Lower Manhattan at 154 Nassau Street in The Tribune Building.
Bert Floyd Carmichael went on to become an owner of Art Craft Studios, which was one of the largest providers of illustrations for movie posters, advertising and the outdoor billboards in Times Square.
Wakinasa Mangoku developed an interesting second career in partnership with the artist Raymond W. Wardell to import fine art brushes from Japan for sale in American art supply stores. The Japan-Art Brush Company flourished over the next few years. Wakinasa Mangoku returned to Japan in 1921 to organize that end of the thriving business. It is fascinating to consider how such an experienced and trained associate of so many talented American artists may have gone on to contribute his own unique influence to the history of illustration in 20th century Japanese popular culture publications.
By 1910 Jack A. Warren worked as a commercial artist for The New York Sun, which was owned and operated by Frank A. Munsey (1854-1925). The income from his steady job and freelance illustrations was sufficient for him to return to Des Moines to propose marriage to his art school sweetheart.
On April 28, 1911 Jack A. Warren married Dorothy Dean Devor in Des Moines. After their honeymoon the newlyweds returned to New York City and lived at 42 West 92nd Street in Manhattan, NYC.
On July 26, 1915 their son John Vincent Warren was born.
In 1917 he was offered a job in Indiana, so they moved back to his home state and lived at 2219 North Alabama Street in Indianapolis, where he worked as a commercial artist for R. M. Franklin, the sales manager at the Eclipse Manufacturing Co., located at 424 North Meridian Street in Indianapolis. The company made spark plugs and motor vehicle accessories, which he illustrated for their advertising.
In 1923 The Century Magazine published stories by Tex O'Reilly about Pecos Bill.
On September 12, 1918 during the Great War he registered for the draft. He was thirty-two years old and the sole supporter of his wife and child, so he was not selected for military service. He was recorded at the time to be of medium height, medium built, with gray eyes and dark hair. He was also listed as having no disabilities that might disqualify him for military service.
By 1920 the family had moved back to New York and lived at 42 West 92nd Street in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
In 1920 their daughter Mary Elizabeth "Betty" Warren was born.
On November 25, 1921 his father Ora E. Warren died in Crawfordsville, Indiana, at the age of fifty-eight.
In 1925 the family left the busy city streets and moved to the suburban town of Greenburgh, NY, where they lived at 70 Lefurgy Avenue.
The following year they bought a home in Hastings-on-Hudson in Westchester County, NY, which at that time was a popular area for professional illustrators, such as Norman Rockwell, Joseph Christian Leyendecker, and Frederick Remington. Jack A. Warren worked as a commercial artist and commuted into NYC on a forty-minute train ride to Grand central Station.
In 1927 Jack A. Warren and Tex O'Reilly drew and wrote a newspaper comic strip, Pecos Pete, for The New York Sun, which was owned by Frank A. Munsey.
On August 1, 1928 he patented an invention of an articulated figurine of Pecos Pete for advertising display.
Jack A. Warren drew pen and ink story illustrations for pulp magazines. His work was published in Thrills, Ace-High Western, All Western, Popular Western, and Thrilling Western. The popularity of his newspaper comic strip may have influenced a career strategy to preserve his good name, but he signed many of his illustrations for pulp magazines with only the name "Alonzo Vincent."
On August 4, 1929 his mother, Mary Elizabeth (Smith) (ex-Warren) Van Arsdall, died in Indiana at the age of sixty-five.
In 1935 he illustrated serialized stories of Pecos Bill by Tex O'Reilly for Adventure Magazine.
In 1935 he drew Loco Luke for New Fun Comics, which was the first American comic book to include original material.
In 1936 he painted a mural for the local high school in Hastings-On-Hudson.
In he drew for comic books produced by Novelty Comics, Lev Gleason, and Marvel.
In 1942 during WWII he was too old to register with the selective service. He was age fifty-six.
In 1945 he drew "The Jerkwater Line" for Humdinger Comics.
In 1946 he became Art Director of Argos Associates Advertising Agency of Albany, NY.
In 1949 Jack and Dorothy Warren moved from Hastings-on-Hudson to Malden Bridge, NY, which is twenty miles southeast of Albany, NY.
In 1949 he became Art Director of Brown, Roberts & Bangert Advertising Agency of Albany, NY., which produced animated advertisements for television.
On 1951 he retired from illustration after having developed a worrisome heart condition.
One of his final projects was to write and illustrate "Horse and Buggy Days" for Grossett & Dunlap.
In 1952 the Albany Institute of History and Art presented an exhibition on Jack A. Warren.
One week after undergoing a serious operation "Jack" Alonzo Vincent Warren died at age of sixty-nine in Albany Hospital on December 10, 1955,
© David Saunders 2014