Sunday, June 22, 2014

Frederick Waugh, Camouflage and Dickie Dare

Coulton Waugh, Dickie Dare (1943)
Above (detail) Coulton Waugh, portion of the comic strip Dickie Dare (showing "dazzle camouflage" on the right), from the Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg PA), December 27, 1943.


Ray Goulding of the Bob & Ray radio comedy team was a high school classmate of beatnik novelist Jack Kerouac. Film actress Anne Baxter was the granddaughter of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who was also related by marriage to New York urban planner Robert Moses. Western gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok (James Butler Hickok) was related to Civil War general and politician Benjamin F. Butler, as well as to Adelbert Ames II (inventor of the Ames Distorted Room) and to writer George Plimpton. Humorist S.J. Perelman was the brother-in-law of novelist Nathaniel West. And finally (this is the punchline) American artist and ship camoufleur Frederick Judd Waugh (whom we have blogged about before) was the father of cartoonist (Frederick) Coulton Waugh (1896-1973), best-known for the comic strips Dickie Dare and Hank.

The elder Waugh died in 1940. In browsing through various panels of the younger Waugh's Dickie Dare, we've found several references to camouflage, including indirect homages to his father's designs for WWI-era "dazzle camouflage" (see example above).

The F. Coulton Waugh Papers are housed at Syracuse University, while other Waugh Family Papers are in the collection of the Archives of American Art. Among the folders in the latter is one described as "World War I Material, circa 1914. Likely Coulton Waugh's, possibly Frederick Judd Waugh's." Since it was the father (not the son) who served in the war, our suspicion is that this may be his material. It may even pertain to ship camouflage.

See also: Roy R. Behrens, FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT and Mason City: Architectural Heart of the Prairie (2016).