Frances Edwina Dumm (1893 – April 28, 1990) was a writer-artist who drew the comic strip Cap Stubbs and Tippie for six decades and is also notable as the nation’s first full-time female editorial cartoonist, She used her middle name for the signature on her comic strip, signed simply Edwina.
One of the earliest female syndicated cartoonists, Dumm was born in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, where her father, Frank Edwin Dumm, was an actor-playwright turned newspaperman. In 1911, she graduated from Central High School in Columbus, Ohio and then took the Cleveland-based Landon School of Illustration and Cartooning correspondence course. Her name was later featured in Landon's advertisements.
She drew editorial cartoons for the Columbus Daily Monitor from its first edition (August 7, 1915) until the paper folded (July 1917). In the Monitor, her Spot-Light Sketches was a full-page feature of editorial cartoons, and some of these promoted women's issues. Elisabeth Israels Perry, in the introduction to Alice Sheppard's Cartooning for Suffrage (1994), wrote that artists such as Blanche Ames Ames, Lou Rogers and Edwina Dumm produced:
- ...a visual rhetoric that helped create a climate more favorable to change in America's gender relations... By the close of the suffrage campaign, women's art reflected the new values of feminism, broadened its targets, and attempted to restate the significance of the movement.
Ohio to New York
For the Monitor, Dumm also drew The Meanderings of Minnie, a semi-autobiographical strip about a tomboy and her dog. Moving to New York City, she continued her art studies at the Art Students League and created Cap Stubbs and Tippie, syndicated by the George Matthew Adams Service. Dumm worked very fast; according to comics historian Martin Sheridan, she could pencil a daily strip in an hour.
Her love of dogs is evident in her strips as well as her illustrations for books and magazines, such as Sinbad, her weekly dog page which ran in both Life and the London Tatler. She illustrated Alexander Woollcott's Two Gentlemen and a Lady. For Sonnets from the Pekinese and Other Doggerel (Macmillan, 1936) by Burges Johnson (1877–1963), she illustrated "Losted" and other poems:
- I feel so far from anywheres!
- Perhaps my family
- Has got so many other cares
- They've all forgotten me.
- I s'pose I'll starve to skin an' bone
- If I stay losted here alone.
- My little dog, he founded me,
- An' wagged his tail an' whined,
- But he can't lead me home, for he
- Is taught to walk behind.
- And so I'm crying yet, becuz
- I'm just as losted as I was.
From the 1930s into the 1960s, she drew another dog for the newspaper feature Alec the Great, in which she illustrated verses written by her brother, Robert Dennis Dumm. Their collaboration was published as a book in 1946. In the late 1940s, she drew the covers for sheet music by her roommate, Helen Slater, who did both music and lyrics. During the 1940s, she also contributed features to the Wonder Woman comic book.
When the George Matthew Adams Service went out of business in the 1940s, Dumm's strip was picked up by King Features Syndicate. Dumm continued to write and draw Tippie until her 1966 retirement (which brought the strip to an end).
She was a recipient of the National Cartoonists Society Gold Key Award in 1978. Dumm never married. After she retired from her comic strip, she remained active with watercolor paintings, photography and helping the elderly at her New York City apartment building when she was well into her eighties.
- Perry, Elisabeth Israels. "Image, Rhetoric, and the Historical Memory of Women," introduction to Sheppard, Alice, Cartooning for Suffrage, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 1994.
- Sheridan, Martin. Comics and Their Creators: Life Stories of American Cartoonists. Hale, Cushman & Flint, 1942.
- "Edwina Dumm, Cartoonist, 96," The New York Times, May 2, 1990.
- Ohio Historical Society Timeline: "The Lady Cartoonist: Edwina Dumm," by Lucy Shelton Caswell, June•July 1989 (Volume 6/Number 3)