Thursday, August 29, 2013

Signed with a Drawing of Pogo by Walt Kelly

A prized copy of the first Pogo collection was signed and inscribed by Walt Kelly with an original drawing of Pogo Possum. The eBay seller is correct to point out that this is not a first edition, but it is a highly-collectable copy just the same.

Walt Kelly, Pogo, 1948
Walt Kelly, Pogo, 1948, inscribed "Best wishes / to Mrs. Kirk Hoerman / Walt Kelly / + / [drawing of Pogo]"
Note that in the book, Simon & Schuster's logo "The Sower" has been redrawn by Kelly in the character of Pogo.

This printing of the book is dated 1951 and the recipient is a Mrs. Kirk Hoerman. From that, I pieced together some biographical information, mostly about her husband. One Kirk Hoerman is mentioned in the University of Missouri at Kansas City Kangaroo Yearbook for the Class of 1947. Acknowledgment is given on the School and Faculty page for the Bushwhacker section, the yearbook of the School of Dentistry, page 199, "to Kirk Hoerman for drawing the splendid cartoons...." In 1960, he coauthored a paper on nutrition in Ethiopia which indicated he was then a Commander in the Dental Corps of the U.S. Navy and the chief of the biochemistry laboratory of Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 in Cairo, Egypt. He would be about 88 today. A Kirk Conklin Hoerman was married to Donna Wilson, according to, but the year isn't stated. Today he is retired in Arizona and I believe he remarried.

I'm going to speculate--it keeps me busy, after all--that in 1951 or perhaps later, Kirk Hoerman, a dentist with a talent for cartooning, must have admired Walt Kelly's Pogo, and may have obtained this book for his wife at a signing or by some other means. Of course, they could have gone together--there were, it seems, no children yet--or she could have obtained it herself, but I wanted to try to tie the story in with his cartooning. It seems to me that many amateur cartoonists, myself included, have a real appreciation for the works of the great cartoonists.

Note:  You can see more about Walt Kelly here.

Be sure not to miss the Whirled of Kelly blog here.


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