Carl Thomas Anderson

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Carl Thomas Anderson

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Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


Anderson was a cartoonists and comic strip artist most well-known for his drawings of Henry. Anderson began his career as a cartoonist for the Philadelphia Times drawing fashion illustrations in 1894. Throughout his career, Anderson worked for the New York World, where he published a comic strip titled The Filipino and the Chick, and later at the the New York Journal, where he published his comic strip series, Raffles and Bunny. For the McClure Syndicate, Anderson created his series Herr Spiegelberger, the Amateur Cracksman in 1903. Anderson also freelanced, creating cartoons for magazines like Puck, Life and Judge.

In the mid 1910s, Anderson turned his attention to animation, and for two years directed and animated the Police Dog series (1914-1916) for Bray Studios.

After taking a break from working as a cartoonist and comic strip artist, Anderson returned with a new series, Henry, in 1932, which was first published in the Saturday Evening Post. The series became so popular that from 1934 onwards it was published daily in many of King Features Syndicate’s newspapers.

Anderson retired in 1942. That same year, he published a book titled: How to Draw Cartoons Successfully.


Family and early life

Carl Thomas Anderson was born in Wisconsin to two Norwegian immigrants, and grew up working in his father’s planing mill. There, he developed skills that would enable him to work as a carpenter, and he later successfully invented and patented his own folding table, still in manufacture today. In his youth, Anderson left school early on to drift around the Midwest, and worked as a cabinetmaker and carpenter. He developed an interest for drawing at the age of 25 and decided to pursue it. 


Career outline

Anderson was hired by Arthur Brisbane for the New York World at the end of the 1890’s where he worked on a strip he created called “The Filipino and the Chick”. The comic, in turn, attracted the attention of William Randolph Hearst, who offered Anderson more money at the New York Journal. There, Anderson created two comic strips that ultimately did not take off, called “Raffles and Bunny” and “Herr Spiegelberger, the Amateur Cracksman”. Since these comic strips were never great successes, Anderson also freelanced in this period of his career for various magazines, doing illustrations and small gag cartoons.

Having exhausted his prospects by the beginning of the 1930’s in the midst of the looming depression, the 64 year old Anderson moved home from New York City in 1932. In his hometown of Madison, he cared for his ailing father and took up again his earlier woodworking trade for income. In addition, he taught a night-class in his hometown on how to draw cartoons, creating the character Henry to help along his lessons. This character would turn out to be a huge hit. Anderson mailed this character to the Saturday Evening Post, selling the first Henry cartoon for $50. Henry ultimately became a regular, weekly cartoon in the magazine.

After grabbing the attention of William Hearst yet again, Henry became a running cartoon published in 50 American papers, 15 of those which were owned by Hearst. Anderson continued working on Henry until his retirement in 1942, finding it hard to continue drawing with arthritis, at which point his assistants took overBefore his death in 1948, Anderson published “HOW TO DRAW CARTOONS SUCCESSFULLY” , with lessons for all readers to become successful cartoonists. 

Personal style

Henry is drawn in a series of simple lines, representing a bald-headed boy with mischevious but clever tendencies, signed off by Anderson with his signature AnderSon. The cartoon often works with Henry directly opposing the other “adult” characters represented, whom are rendered humorless, serious and dull, while Henry is full of youthful, boyish spirit, often too curious for his own good.



  • Crafton, Donald. Before Mickey: The Animated Film 1898-1928. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1982.
  • Lenburg, Jeff. Who’s Who in Animated Cartoons. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2006.
  • Maltin, Leonard.Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980.
  • Strickler, Dave. Syndicated Comic Strips and Artists, 1924-1995: The Complete Index. Cambria, CA: Comics Access, 1995.

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