Monday, September 29, 2014

Ralph Rollington’s Marriage


[1] A.J. Allingham, aka ‘Ralph Rollington

   by Robert J. Kirkpatrick
 
‘Ralph Rollington’ – the name was familiar to many readers of boys’ story papers throughout the 1880s, as both an author of school and adventure stories and as an editor/publisher of a range of cheap periodicals, in particular The Boy’s World and Our Boys’ Paper. He later became well-known for his anecdotal A Brief History of Boys’ Journals, published in 1913. Rollington, whose real name was Albert John Allingham, painted a rather rosy picture of what was, in the late 1800s, a time of intense and often bitter competition between rival publishers, and he himself came across as genial, benevolent and mild-mannered. But behind the air of bonhomie and easy friendship that Allingham portrayed lay a dark secrethis troubled marriage to an American woman which started with tragedy, then presumably settled into a state of stability, only to descend into acrimony and violence, with Allingham being accused of both cruelty and adultery. But that was only half the story…

[2] Marriage.

SECRETARY. Albert John Allingham, born in Southwark, UK, on 26 June 1844, began his working life as a compositor alongside his older brother James (who went on to launch The Christian Globe in 1874). In 1866, he travelled to New York, where he was later to meet up with the author Bracebridge Hemyng, and where, on 9 August 1868, at the Presbyterian Church of the Sea and Land, he married Eva Leoni Smith, a 23 year-old secretary. Their first child, Albert William, was born in New York in May 1869, but he died aged only 5 months. The couple then settled in London, where they had four further children: Eva Leoni (b. June 1870), Nellie Grace (born January 1873), William Albert (b. May 1875), and Violet May (b. May 1880).

BOYS’ PAPERS. Between 1879 and 1888 Allingham devoted himself to writing for and publishing boys’ papers, enjoying only limited success. He was usually struggling financially, although unlike many of his contemporaries he managed to stay out of the bankruptcy courts. It may have been that life in London was not as glamorous as Eva had been led to believe it would be, and the family’s relative poverty may well have created tension between the couple.

CLAIM. On 16 October 1890 Eva filed a petition for divorce. At the time she was living at 131 Ruckledge Avenue, Harlesden, Middlesex. In her affidavit, sworn on 15 October, she claimed that her husband had been mistreating her since around 1877in her own words:
Albert John Allingham has habitually treated me with unkindness and neglect and cruelty and that he has habitually used coarse and offensive and insulting language to me and swore at me and threatened me and (…) has dragged me out of bed and downstairs in the middle of the night and that on divers occasions he has assaulted and struck me.Read the full petition HERE.
She went on to highlight three specific incidents of violence, at their homes in East Dulwich in 1881, Heston, Middlesex in 1882 and Dulwich in 1883, which culminated in Allingham walking out on her in 1885. Furthermore, she claimed that since 1879 Allingham had habitually committed adultery with a woman calling herself Mrs Lilley, Mrs Lilian English and Lilley Tempest at various places including Islington, Dulwich, Nunhead and Tottenham.

Ava’s solicitor continued to act for her between October 1890 and July 1891. In March 1892 a new solicitor filed a notice that he was now acting for her, but when the case was finally called at the Royal Courts of Justice in the Strand on 25 October 1892 no one appeared, and the judge ordered that it be struck off. The divorce was therefore never finalised.

CENSUS. At the time of the 1891 census, Eva and her daughter Violet May were recorded as visitors at an address in Chipping Barnet, Hertfordshire, staying with a Henry Dixon, a 50 year-old carpenter, and his family. Albert Allingham was absent from the census, possibly having returned to New York with his other children, as there is no trace of them in the census either.

Whether or not Albert was a violent and/or adulterous husband as Eva claimed cannot be proved. Under the then existing legislation (the Matrimonial Causes Act 1857) if a husband wanted a divorce he had only to prove his wife’s adultery, whereas if a wife wanted a divorce she had to prove not only adultery but also cruelty or desertion.

Ironically, direct evidence of cruelty came to light three years after Eva had filed for divorce, but this time it was on the part of Eva herself.

[3] Cruelty.
Eva, described as a lady of independent means, living in Twickenham, on 12 February 1894, at Brentford Police Court, was charged with having cruelly ill-treated her daughter, May, aged 13, in a manner likely to cause her unnecessary suffering. May (actually Violet May), had been living with her mother since the previous August. The Pall Mall Gazette (13 February 1894) reported:
The child stated that she could not remember a day for the last six months when she had not been beaten. She had been struck with switches, with a blind-roller, with a carpet stick, with a violin bow, and with the back of a hairbrush. Once she bought a cake with twopence belonging to her mother, and for that she had been put in a cold bath, her head being held under water until she was quite exhausted, while she was afterwards beaten with a knotted rope until she was covered with weals, which were rubbed with salt.
Other newspapers, including Reynolds’s Newspaper, reported that her evidence included that she was only ever given breakfast and tea, and no dinner; that she was compelled to keep pieces of soap in her mouth for up to half-an-hour; and that Eva had scrubbed her teeth with a scrubbing brush such that her gums bled. The Pall Mall Gazette continued:
She had several times run away from home in consequence of the treatment she received from her mother. The punishments she had mentioned were inflicted for various small offences, such as neglecting her household work, making mistakes in errands, or telling stories.
Corroborative evidence came from May’s elder sister (named as Mary in some reports, but presumably Nellie), who witnessed some of the acts described whilst staying with Eva the previous year.

DENIALS. When Eva reappeared before the Court a few days later, she denied having beaten her daughter as alleged, claiming that she had only ever beaten her with a stick taken from the garden. She also denied the other accusations. However, the magistrates did not believe her, and she was found guilty and sentenced to three months imprisonment with hard labour, and fined £10 (half of which would go to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children).

When she was released from prison Eva went to live in Battersea, from where, at the end of June 1894, she summonsed Albert Allingham for non-payment of maintenance totalling £36 15s. It appears that at some point after separating from Eva Albert was required under a court order to contribute 35 shillings a week to her support. In his defence to the summons, Albert said that he was not aware that he was obliged to provide for her maintenance whilst she was in prison.

The magistrate told him that he was liable under the court order, and that it was no defence to say that she was being supported by the state. Despite Albert then claiming that he was unable to pay, an order for payment was made, although Albert was then allowed to take out a summons against his wife to show cause why the order should not be varied, on the grounds that he was paying for his daughter’s education. The outcome of this is not known (London Standard, 29 June 1894).

FINAL. The final act in this rather sad saga came in March 1895, when Eva was charged with obtaining relief from the Wandsworth and Clapham Poor Law Guardians by falsely representing herself as destitute. The magistrates were satisfied that, despite her claim that the allowance she was receiving from Albert was very small, Eva had made a false declaration of her circumstances, and she was sent to prison for 21 days with hard labour (Pall Mall Gazette, 13 March 1895).

What happened to Eva after that is not known. She does not appear in any further census returns, nor is there is any record of her death in any of the online indexes. Violet May Allingham married James Charles Reynolds, an actor, in Barnet in 1905. Albert Allingham appeared in the 1901 census, described as a widow, and living as a boarder in Hammersmith with the family of Nicholas Boyce, a professional musician. He died in Hammersmith on 24 August 1924, aged 80, and was buried in the Essex village of Chappel, home to his daughter Nellie Grace.

[4] Sentenced.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Alley Oop Sundays, Vol. 2


Foozy, Alley Oop and King Guz.
“…Monstrous Queen Umpateedle reduces all the men in the strip to stunned silence…”

by John Adcock

EIGHTY YEARS AGO the Alley Oop Sundays began, on September 9, 1934. This second volume of Sundays is another beautiful full-color collection from the archives of the Kingdom of Moo. The core characters — Alley Oop, King Guz and Foozy who speaks in rhymeall have explosive tempers which create differing alliances that drive the plots. The monstrous Queen Umpateedle, wife of Guz, can be explosive too and reduces all the men in the strip to stunned silence.
HIGHLIGHTS. The present volume’s highlights include an outdoor boxing match broadcast through the hills on primitive amplified megaphones, the addition of a new animal character named Terry the pterodactyl, aerial warfare, the creation of a Moovian zoo, a traveling circus made possible by the discovery of the wheel, war with the kingdom of Lem, a bruising game of football and the promotion of Oop as top cop of Moo.

New animal characters
INSPIRATION. By winter of 1938 Vincent T. Hamlin was feeling the stress of working seven days a week on the comic strip. Worse, “regardless of the vastness of my Moovian people’s jungle world” his inspiration was drying up. Hamlin’s wife Dorothy, according to his autobiography The Man Who Walked with Dinosaurs, suggested incorporating time-travel into the strip. Hamlin convinced his syndicate to give it a try and Alley Oop and Oola were materialized into the twentieth century on April 8, 1939.
NEA claimed that “the operation was a success,” the majority of letters and telegrams from readers were in favor.
The reaction of readers varied in form from the shortest telegram, “I can’t stand it much longer. For gosh sakes get Alley Oop back to Moo,” to a two page letter from a prominent New York doctor who psychoanalyzed Hamlin and discovered a “dissatisfied” complex that had caused Hamlin to make the change.

ENDING ABSURDITY. Fantagraphics Books published three reprints of Alley Oop time-traveling daily strips in the 1990s. Following that a rumor circulated that time-travel serials appeared only in the daily strips, the Sunday’s apparently all took place in the jungles of Moo. This volume will put that absurdity to rest. The collection ends with the first five time-travelling Sundays dated April 2, April 9, April 16, April 23 and April 30, 1939. Next up, based on Homer’s epic the Iliad, Alley Oop, Oola and Foozy travel to ancient Greece and participate in The Siege of Troy…

Moo – Foozy’s poem of color, green, blue and red

            Alley Oop; By V.T. Hamlin;  
            The Complete Sundays; Volume Two; 1937-1939,
            hardbound, 128 pages.
Russ Cochran/Dark Horse Book.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Animated History


1 [1921] Paul Terry’s ‘Aesop’s Fables Modernized; What They Will Do For You’ — full-page advert in Exhibitor’s Herald

J. Stuart Blackton… Winsor McCay… J.R. Bray… Earl Hurd… Walter Lantz… Sidney Smith… Wallace Carlson… Paul Terry… International Features Syndicate… Bud Fisher… Max Fleischer… Walt Disney…

“THE HARDEST ACTORS TO HANDLE ARE COMIC PEN-AND-INK CHARACTERS”

2 [1933] Earl Theisen, ‘The History of Cartoons; Along the Devious Pathway of Motion Picture Cartoons From “The Artist’s Dream,” 1913, to “Mickey Mouse” Today’ — in The International Photographer
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6 [1915] J.R. Bray, ‘Col. Heeza Liar—Ghost Breaker,’ February
7 [1939] Arthur Edwin Krows, ‘Motion Pictures—Not For Theaters’ — in The Educational Screen, October
John R. Bray… Earl Hurd… Max Fleischer… Winsor McCay… Raoul Barré… Wallace A. Carlson… Carl Francis Lederer… Earl Hurd… Paul Terry… Frank Moser…

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12 [1914] ‘…Gertie is a trained prehistoric monster which long-haired scientists call DINOSAURUS…’full-page advert in The Moving Picture World, December 26
13 [1910s] Original ‘Gertie’ cell by Winsor McCay — from the collection of illustrator Willy Ashworth
14 [1918] ‘The Sinking of the Lusitania’ by Winsor McCay — full-page advert in The Moving Picture World, September 7
Winsor McCay… Bud Fisher… John R. Bray… F.M. Follett… Hy Mayer…

15 [1917] Arthur Gavin, Jr., ‘Making Cartoon Movies; The hardest actors to handle are comic pen-and-ink characters’ — in Picture Play Magazine, June
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20 [1916] R.L. Goldberg, ‘The Boob Weekly’ — full-page advert in The Moving Picture World, May 13
Rube Goldberg… Winsor McCay… John R. Bray…

21 [1916] Leonard Keene Hirshberg, ‘Cartoons That Move and Act’ — in Motion Picture Magazine, February/May
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24 [1915] Raoul Barré, Edison Kinetogram, March
25 [1921] Paul Terry’s ‘Aesop’s Fables Modernized; What They Will Do For You’ — one more full-page advert in Exhibitor’s Herald


Thanks to Willy Ashworth