Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cyrus Leroy Baldridge

Cyrus Leroy Baldridge became a student of Frank Holme, one of the founders of the P&C, at the age of 10. (Holme, a newspaper illustrator, had founded a school of illustration in Chicago. ) Here is Holme's sketch of Baldridge as a boy:

A short biography of Baldridge can be found here: he paid his own way through the University of Chicago, class of 1911, by doing graphic illustrations for the school. After graduation, he kicked around a fair bit--punching cows in Texas, learning to ride in the Illinois National Guard, chasing Pancho Villa in New Mexico with the cavalry. When World War I broke out, he joined the French army as an ambulance driver. He was a member of the P&C at that time. With the United States entry into the war, Baldridge was assigned to the creation of the Stars and Stripes, where he was in charge of illustration. He later published a book of his sketches from the first war called I Was There--these drawings are taken from that book.

(I Was There has been published in full online. You can find it here.)

Baldridge had a fascinating life--marrying a writer, Caroline Singer, travelling in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, illustrating books, designing posters. Apparently after all that he had seen on the western front, Baldridge became a committed pacifist--at least until Pearl Harbor.

When he felt his health failing in 1977, at the age of 88, he took his own life with the pistol that he had been issued in World War I. The University of Chicago has a large group of his drawings and prints.

(note: more on Baldridge is written here )


Blogger chris miller said...

What a wonderful find!

We need a special section on "most interesting lives"

February 27, 2007  

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