S. Carlisle Martin was an early 20th century staff artist with the St.Louis Post-Dipatch, and the third artist of the paper's iconic 'Weatherbird' cartoon.

Samuel Carlisle Martin was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1867. He had a twin brother called John, who also became a newspaper illustrator. Both Samuel and John attended the School of Fine Arts at Washington University in the 1880s, and contributed to the cartoon book 'St. Louisans "as we see 'em": Cartoons and Caricatures' (1903). Samuel worked as a staff artist and sports writer for the St.Louis Post-Dipatch, a newspaper owned by Joseph Pulitzer. He eventually became head of the art department. In 1910 he started drawing the 'Weatherbird', which lightened up the paper's daily weather report. S. Carlisle Martin was the artist who turned the character into an actual cartoon star. While the bird originally just illustrated the forecast, Martin and editor Carlos Hurd let the bird comment about the news of the day. This is done in the so-called "birdline", which has a standard of six words and is still applied to this day.

Weatherbirds by S. Carlisle Martin
A selection of Martin's Weatherbirds, published with the artist's obituary on 22 August 1922

The 'Weatherbird' had originally made its debut in 1901 under the pen of Harry B. Martin (no relation). Martin had passed the feature on to Oscar Chopin in 1903, who drew it until 1910 after which S. Carlisle Martin took over. The feature has since been drawn by Amadee Wohlschlaeger (1932-1981), Albert Schweitzer (1981-1986) and the current artist Dan Martin (also no relation). As the 'Weatherbird' is still in production, it the oldest and longest running magazine mascot still used by its original publication.

For several months starting in March 1912, the Weatherbird had its own Sunday comic strip, drawn by S. Carlisle Martin and originally written by Jean Knott. It replaced one page of the Funny Side comics section which was produced by Pulitzer's other paper, the New York World. The bird universe was expanded to an entire family, and an imp called Jinx was added to the cast to stir up trouble. The strip was strongly inspired by Harold Knerr's 'The Katzenjammer Kids' and ran until 29 December 1912. C. Martin produced the page on his own during its final months. By then, Jinx had disappeared and the title had become 'The Weather Bird Family'.

S. Carlisle Martin drew the cartoon until his death in 1932.

Illustrations for a sports article by S. Carlisle Martin, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of 29 January 1911

The Weatherbird Sunday comic on the Stripper's Guide

Series and books by S. Carlisle Martin in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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