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Artist Biography
William Allen Rogers (1854-1931)

RogersRogers was born 23 May, 1854, in Springfield, Ohio. He attended Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Wittenberg College in Ohio, graduating from neither. His artistic training was self-taught. Roger's first cartoons were published in a Dayton, Ohio, newspaper, where his mother had submitted some of his sketches when he was 14.

Roger's career as an illustrator began at the age of 19 with the Daily Graphic in New York in 1873. He assisted with news sketches and occasionally drew cartoons. In 1877 he was hired by Harper's Weekly, where he took over the political cartoon cover upon Thomas Nast's departure. He remained at Harper's for 25 years. His cartoons were never quite as powerful as Nast's, but his messages were boldly presented and his drawings somewhat more capable.

After his tenure at Harper's, Rogers drew daily cartoons for an additional 20 years at the New York Herald. He was also among the first cartoonists for Life in 1883 and concurrently contributed now and again while employed elsewhere. He similarly submitted cartoons and illustrations for Puck, the Century, and St. Nicholas during this period.

While he was successful, some critics have declared his talent as modest. It was Roger's cartoon concepts during World War I that are most noteworthy, being among his best work and most clever ideas. Rogers was a member of the Century Association and the Society of Illustrators. He ended his career as a cartoonist on the Washington Post, retiring in 1926.

Rogers died in Washington, D.C., 20 October, 1931.


Horn, Maurice, ed. The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons. 2d ed. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 1999.

The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Vol. 24. New York: James T. White & Company, 1967.

Reed, Walt. The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000. New York: The Society of Illustrators, 2001.