| Chicago, 1915 – Look Out For Motorcycle Mike! original color sketch by Frank King.|
by John Adcock
RING BINDER. The material has been collected in a ring binder – I now call the Cory Binder – that has a number of puzzling aspects; most baffling is its provenance. The book obviously was compiled by someone named Cory, but was the compilation the work of the famous cartoonist J. Campbell Cory or some other Cory?
| The Chicago binder page signed by J. Campbell Cory. The ‘(15)’ in the top right-hand corner suggests the year 1915.|
| The ‘J.W.C.’ embossed cover initials.|
69 ON A PAGE. Many (but not all) of the pages are artistically titled with names of US cities. The signatures – one page from New York City holds 69 of them – are of persons affiliated with commercial art, of advertisers, newspapers, magazine publishers and printing companies between 1906 and 1925. The binder measures 20 x 28 cm – or for us metric-deficient types, 8 in. x 10 3/8 in. Pages measure about 15.5 x 25.5 cm (6 x 10 in.)
| A 1912 newspaper advertisement with Cory’s curly C signature compared with the binder’s cover initials.|
| Chicago, 1915.|
| Detroit – Now, 1922.|
| Chicago, 1919.|
| Detroit Overflow, 1921.|
CARICATURED? The drawing on the lower left-hand corner represents Cory, the binders compiler and apparent travelling salesman, selling the British Isles volume of Burton Holmes’ Travelogues to the unidentified cartoonist in 1921. The drawing is vague but doesn’t seem to bear much resemblance to the real-life J. Campbell Cory. In The History of Colorado a section on John Campbell Cory quotes an unidentified source describing him as “a little man with a big sense of humor and an inexhaustable fund of talent.” The above caricature is not a caricature of a small round-faced man.
| The original R.F. Heinrich drawing from Annual of Advertising, 1921.|
| Detroit Then, 1907.|
DETROIT. The page for Detroit Then carries the date 1907 (page 2A in the binder), Detroit – Now has 1922 (page 2B), Detroit Overflow (page 3A) has the year 1921.
| Dayton, Ohio.|
GOLF AFICIONADO. There are two references to Burton Holmes’ Travelogues and one reference to golf. John Campbell Cory was a lifelong aficionado of the sport.
| The Twin-Cities Again, 1924.|
MINING. The image middle right looks to represent a mining concern – possibly a smelter – though it could be a sawmill. Mining was a major preoccupation of J. Campbell Cory and his father Benjamin Sayre Cory.
CANADA. The Canada page is autographed by cartoonist Newton McConnell. The Cory family had deep family ties with Canada. John Campbell Cory’s mother was born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, his father Benjamin Sayre Cory Jr and his grandfather Benjamin Sayre Cory were born at Wellington, Ontario.
| Omaha, Des Moines, St. Joe, Cedar Rapids, 1912.|
MR. CORY. Once again we have a caricature of “Mr. Cory in action selling his book,” this time in 1912. Again I see little resemblance to the cartoonist J. Campbell Cory with his round face and pug-nose. And he is pictured with a moustache. Mr. Cory – whoever he was? – spent many years selling the Burton Holmes books which may have been used as reference works for artists in commercial art studios. Could the ‘Mr.Cory’ have been Helena, Montana cousin James Warren Cory?
| Washington, 1913.|
MYSTERIES. So, who was the mysterious Cory who compiled this baffling autographic record from the golden age of newspaper illustration? It would be nice if I could give a definitive answer, unfortunately I can’t do this with certainty – yet. The only reason to suspect that this was J. Campbell Cory’s binder is his signature on page 11A and the curious curly C embossed on its front cover. The caricatures bear no resemblance to the many portraits and caricatures of Cory that do exist. And, any pages for Montana – where Cory spent a great period of his life both in 1903 and from 1918 until his death – are missing.
| Business Screen Magazine, 1938.|
BLANKS. Cousin James Warren Cory is a bit of a blank, he doesn't seem to have traveled much outside Montana. Father Benjamin Sayres Cory died in 1913 but entries continue into 1924 – so does the connection with Burton Holmes Travelogues. It’s just still possible that the Cory of the binder was not related to the cartoonist at all. First name or last name, this Cory may have simply been a traveling salesman working directly for Burton Holmes company and the binder may have been a record of his various connections. More illustrators than cartoonists are recorded in the binder and any artist would have found the Travelogues the most helpful reference for world costumes and backgrounds for their drawings and paintings.