Brad Anderson was born to Jennie Anderson (Mabee) and Perle Anderson in Jamestown, New York on May 14, 1924. His parents thought it was quite remarkable that their son requested a pencil at two years of age in their family home in Portland, New York.
His first sketch was of a car and by the age of five he was already creating complete comic strips from his own imagination. His attention to detail was heightened after extensive bedrest as a child due to a prolonged illness. Even after he recuperated, his love for drawing continued.
By the time he graduated from Brocton Central High School in 1942, his illustrations had already been published in an aviation magazine. During his enlistment with the U.S. Navy, directly after graduation, Anderson drew every chance he had while he was at sea. At the end of his third year of service he turned down an offer to stay on and work on diesel engines with the U.S. Navy in order to pursue his talents as an artist. He married his high school sweetheart as soon as he returned home and immediately made his way to the School of Fine Arts at Syracuse University.
Initially, he had planned to apply his talents as an industrial designer, but his love for non-conventional illustrations won his heart. He had the confidence to make such a decision after his work had proven to be fruitful while he was a student. Collier’s, the Daily Orange, the Saturday Evening Post and his own university all, impressively enough, had purchased his work.
Anderson joined a public relations firm after graduating from Syracuse University to sustain himself and his wife. By this time, he had already solidified his career as a freelance cartoonist. His sketches regularly appeared in The New York Times and Reader’s Digest.
After achieving continual success with the mentioned famed publications and a number of trade journals, he left his position with the firm to begin drawing full-time. Brad and his wife Barbara (Jones) moved to Shirley Lane in Jamestown, New York. This became the birthplace of the couple’s four children: Christine, Craig, Mark, Paul, and Anderson’s most famous cartoon.
After achieving instant stardom, Marmaduke was paired with the addendum “Doggone Funny” where Anderson illustrated (and in some cases responded to) submissions from the strip’s readers. The readers all reported striking similarities in their own canine’s behavior to the behavior that was exemplified Marmaduke.
Marmaduke has been a part of the United Feature Syndicate since 1976 and continues to be wildly popular today.
The American public not only fell in love with the Great Dane featured in Anderson’s comic strip, they also fell in love with the strip’s creator.
Later in his career, Brad Anderson appeared on Animal Planets “Breed All About It” and “Dog 101”.
A statue of Brad Anderson was dedicated in 2016 his memory just under a year after his passing (August 30, 2015). The life like sculpture with Anderson seated with a drawing board in his left hand, a pencil in his right hand, and Marmaduke obediently by his side, is situated in front of Portland Town Hall on Route 20.
Ship Ahoy: Tales of Lake Chautauqua’s Great White Fleet
In 1983, a booklet was published by the Pennybridge Corp. Publishing Division in Jamestown, New York that described the steamboats of Chautauqua Lake through the eyes of someone who had physically “worked the boats”, the history of the steamers themselves and the various points that the steamers navigated to: Celoron, Greenhurst, Sheldon Hall, Lakewood, Long Point, Victoria, Midway, Chautauqua, and Point Chautauqua.
All of the stories included in the unique booklet had previously been included in a ten-day special feature in the Post-Journal in 1956. The original author’s wish to remain anonymous was honored in the 1983 Pennybrigdge publication: “Ship Ahoy:Tales of Lake Chautauqua’s Great White Fleet”.
The booklet was edited by David A. Fuscus, designed by Matthew Nuzzo, and was illustrated by Brad Anderson.
In one particular illustration, the Cincinnati is pictured after it was inadvertently, yet skillfully, dry docked due to poor visibility as a result of heavy fog. Anderson’s illustrations bring the original author’s personal accounts aboard Lake Chautauqua’s steamboats to life and make the unique booklet doubly enjoyable.
Learn more about the illustrious Chautauqua Lake, what it was like when it was in its prime and its majestic “Great White Fleet” by visiting the Fenton History Center’s Chautauqua Lake Room.
The museum, gift shop and research center are open Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Admission includes access to the museum and the research center: Adult $10, Child (age 6 to 12) $4, Children (age 5 and under): Free, Family Admission (children accompanied by parents): $30.
Purchase a membership to enjoy unlimited access to the museum and research center, a weekly newsletter, discounted ticket rates to select events, exclusive invitations, and the option to join the Fenton Genealogy Support Group at no cost. Call (716) 664-6656 to learn more.
(Family memberships are also available.)