Gene Ahern was trained at the Chicago Art Institute. He started his career in the early 1910s, creating the strips 'Taking Her to the Ball Game', 'Fathead Fritz', 'Dream Dope', 'Otto Auto', 'Balmy Benny', 'Squirrel Food' and 'The Crazy Quilt' for the NEA Syndicate in Cleveland. In the latter strip, he introduced his long-lasting characters 'The Nut Brothers', Ches and Wal.
In 1921 Ahern's innovative daily strip 'Our Boarding House' was published and became a great success, especially after the arrival of Major Hoople in January 1922. By 1936, Ahern was a nationally famous cartoonist. He later created a variant of 'Our Boarding House' called 'Room and Board', which ran from 1936 to 1958. Ahern died in 1960, leaving 'Our Boarding House' to Bill Freyse who continued it until 1969.