Friday, October 15, 2010

Guerrieri Cartoon, circa 1925


We moved into our old Victorian house April 2008. Only a few weeks ago, I started unpacking three closets of boxes. My mission was to select at least 50 items in the boxes to a) give to charity or b) give to a friend, or c)throw in the trash. My friend Pam was there to guide me (push me) to get rid of things--especially things I haven't looked at for decades. I got rid of two car loads of items.

Among the boxes I found a cardboard tube containing this original cartoon by Guerrieri. I inherited the cartoon from my great uncle Herman Cooksey 30 years ago. Herman was born in Chicago 1909. He was a bachelor all his life. I met Herman for the first time after his sister Eva passed away in 1973. Eva was my grandmother.

If you look at the cartoon closely, you can see corners of old banknotes tucked at the corners of the cartoon. Yes, real currency! But only corners of real currency. Dang.

There is no title. But I call it, "Where the Money Went". What would you call it? I'm not sure what the halo means.

As I understand it, Herman had lots of jobs in his lifetime. He worked at the Cook County Jail, and he cleaned apartments and buildings in Chicago to make extra money. Many of the things we inherited from Uncle Herman were items he was given, or leftover items he picked up from vacated apartments he cleaned.

I've been doing some search on the internet to find Guerrieri, the cartoonist. Nothing, so far. Now, I'm including searches of people with the last name Guerrieri. I'm hoping somehow, somewhere, someone may have information about Guerrieri the artist. Do you have any clues?

A special thank you to Lana Giacalone, Wilderness Custom Framing, Waupaca WI. You did a beautiful job of framing the Guerrieri cartoon. I love it!

Sorry about the glare on the photo. I should have photographed it before I had it framed recently.

Mrs. D


  1. What an interesting caricature! Do you think it's of your uncle? That would be really great to find out who the artist was. All that money stuck into the corners makes it even more unique. It must be from the Depression era, right?


  2. Linda, Here's my take on the cartoon...The man is a businessman or banker. He's sitting at an adding machine probably totaling money. In his mind he is thinking of all the things this money will buy if he "borowed" some of the money. Around him in the cloud are all the things he could have...nice clothes, new car, new house, pool table, vacation, women, and on his finger is a large diamond. The halo signifies he is resisting the temptation to "pinch" some of the money. He seems to feel very righteous by resisting the tempataion. The real money around the edges gives us the feeling of having money as we can see it for real. Sounds like a good story, huh? I wonder if he was able to overcome the urge to "pinch"!

  3. Pam,

    I don't think the caricature is my uncle Herman. Still looking for more clues about the artist. Coming up with nothing.

    Did you ever find out the name of the lady in the photograph you posted sometime ago on your website? Just curious.

  4. Hi Gearhart,

    You should be a writer. I like the storyline you suggest. Yes, yes, looks like he's trying to resist temptation.

    Nothing written on the back to suggest a title, date, or theme.

  5. Using the census and military information at, there was a Raphael/Ralph Guerrieri who was a commercial artist in Chicago from the 1910s to the 1940s. Guerrieri was born in Brindisi Di Montagna, Italy on June 9, 1886 according to this World War I and II draft registration cards. On the WWI card, Guerrieri worked as a commercial artist for the Ernest Krentger Engraving Company. On the WWII card, he worked for the Tape & Label Company.

    In the 1910 census Raphael Guerrieri was listed first of four children born to John and Magdelena. Guerrieri and his parents immigrated in 1891; his younger siblings were born in Illinois. Guerrieri's occupation was "Artist" at an "Engraving Company".

    In the 1930 census Ralph Guerrieri's wife was named Mary, whom he married in 1928 or 1929. She immigrated from Italy in 1923. He worked as an "Artist" in an "Art Studio". They owned their home which was located at 745 North Trumbull Avenue; the same address was on the 1942 WWII draft card.

    A death notice for Anthony Guerrieri was published in the Chicago Tribune on February 11, 1960. Anthony's two older brother's and parents were mentioned: "brother of the late Michael and Ralph; son of the late John and Madelena". Michael's name did not appear in the 1910 census so he immigrated separately from the family. Ralph died some time between 1942 and 1960.

    Ralph Guerrieri was a commercial artist but not necessarily a cartoonist.

    by Alex Jay