Spotlight on Phil Davis - Other illustrations

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Before his career as a comic artist Phil Davis worked as free lance illustrator, drawing various advertising illustrations.

The Liberty magazine

Phil Davis did one cover for Liberty magazine.

ANPA Medal

The American Newspaper Publishers Association held a meeting in New York in February 1941. During the meeting[1] Jerome D Barnum (Syracuse Post-Standard) announced the establishment by the ANPA of a competition with a cash prize of $1,000 and a gold medal. Open to graduate or undergraduate students in a school or college of journalism for the best monograph of 5,000 words on the subject: "The Achievement of the Daily Newspaper in Public Service." He said the competition was to be known as the "ANPA Award for the Advancement of the Daily Newspaper in Its Public Service" and would be an annual prize to be awarded at the conventions with the winner brought to the New York meetings to deliver his or her monograph. Further he said that another cash prize of $500 was to be awarded in a competition to the artist or cartoonist submitting the winning design for the medal.

Later ANPA said[2] that the medal design was open to all members of art departments who was regularly engaged in work for newspapers and to artists engaged in regular work for newspaper syndicates. The entries had to be recieced on or before November 1941. The announcement of the winner was to be made on or before January 1, 1942. The designs submitted was to be done in crayon or pen and ink, and should not exceed 12 inches in diameter. (The gold medal cast from the winning design would be slightly larger than a silver dollar.) On the face of each medal design submitted the following words should be included: "The American Newspaper Publishers Association Award". On the reverse side of the medal the following words should be included: "For Advancement of the Daily Newspaper in Public Service". Space had to be left on the reverse side for insertion of the name of the winner.

Phil Davis won[3] the medal design contest where more than 100 entries participated. He was invited to the ANPA meeting and received the $500 award on December 15, 1941.

Winners of the ANPA Medal

Journalism Quarterly wrote[7] about the first Journalism Award:

 The 1941-1942 award — a gold medal and $1,000 — will go to the graduate or undergraduate student in a college, school or department of journalism who submits the best essay on "The Achievements of the Daily Newspaper in Public Service." Three typed copies of the essay must be submitted to the ANPA office, 370 Lexington Avenue, New York City, not later than January 1. Length must not exceed 5,000 words.

Anne Diamond (Syracuse University) won[8] the first ANPA goldmedal in 1942 with the monograph "Sixteen Pages of Print."[9] In 1943 Journalism Quarterly wrote[10] that the second Journalism Award, for the best monograph on the "Achievements of the Newspaper in Public Service During War.":

 ...was open to graduate and undergraduate students in residence in a regularly organized college, school, or department of journalism at the time of the award. One hundred and sixty-one monographs were entered, coming from thirty-five schools from all over the country, by January 1, 1943, the last day for recept of all monographs. Announcement of the winner will be made at the 1943 ANPA convention in April, at which time presentation of gold medal and the $500 cash award will be made. The winner will be the guest of the ANPA, with expenses paid to and from his or her college or home town. A bronze medal in replica will also be awarded to the school, college, or department of journalism in which the winning student is enrolled. 

Beginning in 1943[11], three prizes were awarded: The first prize winner would receive a gold medal and $500 in cash, the second and third, scrolls, the awarding of silver and bronze medals being deferred until after the war because of metal shortages.

Frederick C. Irion (Syracuse University) won the first prize with the essay "Weaponds of Democracy". Second prize was won by Emil L. Telfel (Northwestern University) with the essay "What You Don't Know Will Destroy You" and Josephine Horen (Marshall College) won the third prize with "From Valley Forge to Bataan".

The third annual monograph contest in 1944, with the general subject: "Newspaper Achievements and Responsibilities in Post-War Readjustment," was won[12] by Ruth Williams Ricci (Syracuse University) with "Fortresses of Freedom". The ANPA silver medal was won by William Schmelzle (University of Illinois) and the third prize, the bronze medal, was won by Marcus Gleisser (Cleveland College).

The general subject for the 1945 contest was "The Public’s Responsibilities in Maintaining Freedom of the Press." Jane Abbott (University of Illinois) took[13] first place with an essay titled "It’s Up to the Public." Second place essay was written by Bonna M. Bequette (University of Wisconsin), and third place by Teresa Reese (University of Illinois).

First prize winner[14] in the 1946 contest was Lorraine Lowden (Syracuse University). Gertrude Scharding (New York University) won second prize, and Alicia Anne Smith (Indiana University) won third. ANPA change the rules for the competition for the year 1947:

 All entries submitted in the 1947 Monograph Contest sponsored by the American Newspaper Publishers Association must be forwarded through the director of the school or department of journalism in which the contestant is enroled and must be accompanied by a letter certifying the student's eligibility to enter the contest. No entry sent direct from the contestant will be accepted. First prize winner in this sixth annual ANPA contest will receive $500, a gold medal, and a trip to the 1947 ANPA convention. "Why Democracy Cannot Function Without A Free And Independent Press" is the subject, and monographs will again be limited to 2,500 words. Closing date is January 10, 1947.

In 1947 James Lyons (Boston University) won[15] the first prize. Jane Marshall (Indiana University) was the winner of the second prize, and the third prize was won by Constantine D. Alio (Syracuse University). The announcement for the 1948 competition was[16]:

"The Newspaper — Its Value Education" will be the subject of the 1948 annual monograph contest sponsored by the Americiation, deadline for which Jan. 10, 1948. This is the seventh annual competition, open only to graduate and undergraduate students in regularly organized colleges and schools of journalism departments who have not received Master’s degrees in journalism at the time manuscripts are submitted. The contest offers $500 cash and a gold medal as a first prize, and scrolls to second and third prize winners.

The first prize winner in 1948 was[17] Roland Strand (University of Wisconsin). Second place went to Hartwell M. Ramsey (Texas Christian University) and third to Doan Helms, Jr. (Indiana University).

In 1949 the contest subject was[18]: "How Readership Studies Affect News, Features, and Advertising in Newspapers." The prize-winning essays were written by James L. Rogers (University of Texas), who received a gold medal and a $500 cash prize; Clifford L. Johnson (School of Journalism of Oregon), winner of a scroll; and William P. Stempien (University of Texas), winner of a scroll.

1950: Evan Hill (Boston University) won[19] first prize for his essay on "The Public's Stake in Full Freeom of lnformation". Second and third prize, a scroll, was won by Jack Bilyeu (Columbia University) and David C. Finley (Colombia University).

1951: Hugh A Mulligan (Boston University) won[20] first prize for his essay on "When I'm the Editor: The Kind of Bewspaper I'm Going to Make and Why." Second and third prize, a scroll, was won by Arnold Alpert (Columbia University) and David L. Bowen (Marquette University).


It is unknown whether there are still any copies of the ANPA medal, nor is there any further information on size and weight of the medal.

Ten people are known to have won the gold medal. A bronze replica was said to be made from 1943 and was to be awarded to the school, college, or department of journalism in which the winning student is enrolled. In addition from 1943 winners of second and third prize was awarded a scroll, said to be replaced by a silver /bronze medal after the war. After the war the winners still recieved a scroll, so most likely no medals in silver or bronze medals were ever made.

The ANPA gold medal was said to be slightly larger than a silver dollar. Most likely this silver dollar is the coin known as the Peace dollar, minted in the years 1921 to 1935. The diameter of the Peace dollar is 38.1 mm (1.5 in), the thickness 2.4 mm, the mass 26.73 g, and is 90% silver (0.77344 troy ounce). The density of gold is roughly double that of silver, so if a Peace dollar was made of gold it would have the mass of roughly 53,5 g. Considering a gold price of $33.85 per troy ounce (one troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams) in 1942, the value then would be around $61.66.

According to the newspaper Carroll Daily Times Herald[21] the gold medal contained $600 worth of gold. That is 16.74 troy ounce, or 520.56 grams in 1942. Looking at pictures when winners of the ANPA contest reciving the medal it looks like the ANPA medal is about the width of two and a half fingers in diameter. A middle finger is about 25 mm, so the ANPA medal lookt to be smaller than 60 mm in diameter. Comparing with the Australian Lunar Year of the Dragon gold bullion coins (99.99% gold) from 2012 a 10 troy oz is 311.07 g, and 75.60 mm in diameter with thickness 6 mm. A 2 troy oz is 62.21 g, and 41.10 mm in diameter with thickness 3.9 mm. A modern Nobel prize medal is 66 mm in diameter, about 175 grams and thicknes ranges from 2.4 to 5.2 mm - depending of the Electrum composition.

Most likely the ANPA medal was about 55 mm in diameter, with thicknes 3,7 mm (might be thicker depending of the gold %). This is 2.79 troy ounze, worth $100 in 1942. $100 in gold + $500 in cach is $600.

Curtis Wright Air-craft

During WW2 he served as an art director for Curtis-Wright Aircraft Corp in St. Louis. He did most of the technical illustrations for the instruction book of the Curtiss A-25 Dive Bomber, and found time to write the operational data for the radio equipment used by the plane.

Various advertising illustrations

Early 40's Phil Davis took up his career as illustrator, doing art work for the D'Arcy Advertising Co.

Defense Bonds illustration

During the World War II, he illustratied some ads exhortating to buy government war bonds.

Artistic Decoration

According to several newspaper articles from mid-1945, the aircraft cargo carrier SS Joseph V. Connolly were adorned with original color drawings by thirty renowned comic strip artists. Among them "Mandrake the Magician" and "The Phantom".


For St. Louis Post-Despatch he did a presentation of the "Comic Artists Lee Falk and Phil Davis in 1951.

Book illustration

For William Randolph Hearst Birthday on April 29, 1942 the artist of King Features Syndicate drew a greeting to him. These drawings were collected in a book in format 22,85 x 16,50 cm entitled "The Artists of King Features Syndicate, Inc send cordial greetings to William Randolph Hearst on the occasion of his birthday." A similar book was made to William Randolph Hearst in 1943, entitled "Christmas Greetings to William Randolph Hearst."

In 1948 he illustratied the book "Chuck Dressler".


  1. Brown, Robert U., "ANPA Sees Primary Obligation As Furthering National Defense", Editor and Publisher, April, 26 1941, p 110
  2. "ANPA offers $500 to artists", Editor and Publisher, September, 20 1941, p 11
  3. "Phil Davis Wins Medal-Design Contest of ANPA", Editor and Publisher, December, 20 1941, p 10
  4. James Wright Brown, president of Editor & Publisher
  5. Walter M. Dear, president of ANPA
  6. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, New York Times publisher
  7. "Three Journalists Named Judges in ANPA Contest", Journalism Quarterly, December 1943, p 429
  8. "Syracuse Coed Wins ANPA Monograph Award", Journalism Quarterly, June 1942, p 239
  9. "N.Y. State Publishers Change Meeting Plans", Editor and Publisher, 2 May 1942, p 9
  10. "Merz to Judge ANPA Monograph Contest", Editor and Publisher, 23 January 1943, p 5
  11. "Publisher Says Rise In Newspaper Sales Shows Faith in Press", Evening Star, 20 April 1943, p 5
  12. "Ruth Ricci, a WAC, Wins Essay Contest", Editor and Publisher, 29 April 1944, p 100
  13. Miller, Douglas W. (ed). "News Notes", Journalism Quarterly, June 1945, p 188
  14. "ANPA Makes Rule Change For 1947 Monographs", Journalism Quarterly, June 1946, p 265
  15. "Essay Contest Winner Stressed Word Need", Editor and Publisher, 26 April 1947, p 56
  16. "ANPA Maps ‘48 Contest", Advertising Age, 5 May 1947, p 78
  17. "Publishers Hear Report on New Devices", The York Dispatch, 21 April 1948, p 1
  18. "Texas and Oregon Students Take ANPA Contest Honors", Journalism Quarterly, June 1949, p 246
  19. "Boston, U. Student Wins ANPA Journalism Prize", The Buffalo News, 26 April 1950, p 13
  20. "Boston Student Wins ANPA Journalism Test", The Morning News, 26 April 1951, p 26
  21. "Iowa Girl Is National Winner", Carroll Daily Times Herald, 14 May 1942, p 5