Harold Lincoln Gray was an American newspaper artist and cartoonist.
Gray grew up on a farm near the small town of Chebanse, Illinois. He graduated from Purdue University with a degree in engineering, but as an artist, he was largely self-taught. A former letterer for Sidney Smith on The Gumps, he came up with a strip idea in 1924 for Little Orphan Otto
. The title was quickly altered by Chicago Tribune editor Joseph Medill Patterson to Little Orphan Annie
By the 1930s this strip had evolved from a crudely-drawn melodrama to a crisply rendered atmospheric story with novelistic plot threads. The dialogue consisted mainly of meditations on Gray's own deeply conservative political philosophy.
Gray sometimes ghosted Little Joe
(1933-72), the strip by his assistant (and cousin) Ed Leffingwell which was continued by Ed's brother Robert. Maw Green,
a spin-off of Annie
was published as a topper to Little Orphan Annie.
It mixed vaudeville timing with the same deeply conservative attitudes as Annie.
Harold Gray was a charter member of Lombard Masonic Lodge #1098, A.F. & A.M. in 1923.
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