'The Romance of America' (The Green Bay Press Gazette, 19 February 1927).

Phil V. Bessey was an American cartoonist and sales representative of the Newspaper Press Association during the 1920s and 1930s. As an artist, he worked on the syndicate's educational features 'The Romance of America' (1927) and 'The Book of Knowledge' (1927-1928).

Not much is known about the artist's personal life, except that the Bessey family stemmed from Oklahoma, residing in Miami, Oklahoma by 1918. His father E. S. Bessey was a judge, who ran as Republican candidate for nomination as justice of the criminal court of appeals in 1928. To gain publicity, he had a brief illustrated history of his career sketched by his son, which was published in at least the Blackwell Morning Tribune on 7 August 1928.

Phil Bessey illustrating his father's life story, published in the Blackwell Morning Tribune, 7 August 1928.

The Romance of America
By then, son Phil Bessey had already began his tenure with the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), a service of the Scripps Howard News Service. There, he was one of the illustrators of 'The Romance of America' (1926-1927), a series of biographical picture stories about important persons from US history, written by Bill Braucher. The credit bylines weren't always that accurate, but looking at the signatures one can attribute the installments about Lewis and Clark (7 to 22 February 1927) and James J. Hill (23 February to 1 March 1927) to Bessey, even though Larry Redner, Loron Taylor and Paul Kroesen are at times credited in the header. On the other hand, the installments about John Jacob Astor and P.T. Barnum are by Kroesen, while Bessey received the credit byline.

The Book of Knowledge
Between 8 June 1927 and 13 December 1928, Bessey was also the illustrator of the feature's follow-up, the documentary-style picture story series 'The Book of Knowledge'. Again written by Braucher, it was loosely adapted from the children's encyclopedia of the same name by the W.C. Stripling Co. As illustrator, Bessey was succeeded by Art Krenz between 14 December 1928 until 17 April 1929.

NEA representative
Around 1929 Bessey moved on the become the central representative of the Cleveland-branch of the NEA Service. He roamed the Western and Southern parts of the USA, visiting the regional newspapers that printed the syndicate's features. At the time, local newspapers reported both business and family visits from outsiders in their columns, and therefore we can see that Phil V. Bessey visited Crowley, Lousiana on 26 January 1929 and Visalia, California on 8 June 1934. On 30 May 1947 The Town Talk of Alexandria, Louisiana, reported a visit from Phil V. Bessey to their offices. This time however, he represented the United Feature Syndicate from New York, another leg of Scripps Howard. Bessey is also credited for helping V.T. Hamlin getting accepted at the NEA Service, which began syndicating Hamlin's iconic caveman 'Alley Oop' on 7 August 1933.

Later life?
Like his early life, not much is known about Phil V. Bessey's later years. On 15 October 1972 The Tampa Tribune mentioned the death of a Philip V. Bessey from Sarasota, Florida on 13 October, at the age of 73. If this is the same Phil Bessey, he might have been born in 1899.

'The Book of Knowledge' (The Public Opinion, 16 August 1927).

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