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Rebecca H. Green

CRANE, ROYSTON CAMPBELL, JR. (1901–1977). Royston (Roy) Campbell Crane, Jr., award-winning cartoonist, son of Mamie (Douthit) and Judge Royston Campbell Crane, Sr., was born in Abilene, Texas, on November 22, 1901. He grew up in Sweetwater and began taking correspondence courses in drawing. His father, an eminent historian and jurist, encouraged Roy's interest in writing and drawing by paying him fifteen cents a week to keep an illustrated diary. In high school he did all of the art work for the annual. His first newspaper cartoon was printed in the Dallas Evening Journal on the day of America's entry into World War I. In 1918 he started college at Simmons College (now Hardin-Simmons University) but transferred to the University of Texas within a year. Not entirely satisfied with the art department at UT, he attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts for a year. After a year in Chicago he returned to Austin. At the University of Texas Crane drew and wrote for the Daily Texan, the university newspaper, and was the art editor for the Cactus, the university annual. He was elected to Sigma Delta Chi, an honorary journalism fraternity, and Phi Kappa Psi, a social fraternity. In 1921, while he was still in school, he began work with the Austin American-Statesman as an artist and reporter.

Crane traveled throughout the Southwest and Europe before beginning his first full-time job as a cartoonist with the New York World in 1922. He worked there until 1924, when he received an offer from NEA, a Scripps-Howard news-feature organization in Cleveland. In Cleveland he developed one of the first adventure comic strips, "Wash Tubbs," and followed it with the color strip "Captain Easy" in 1933. In 1943 he received an offer from King Features to write a new comic strip, "Buz Sawyer," which dealt with the adventures of the title character, a Navy pilot, and air crewman Roscoe Sweeney. To ensure the accuracy of his cartoon characters' adventures, Crane went several times to sea on naval destroyers and aircraft carriers. "Buz Sawyer" was eventually carried by over 500 newspapers in the United States, twenty South American newspapers, several papers in Canada, and papers in three Scandinavian countries. In 1944 Crane was honored by Rear Adm. A. W. Radford, acting deputy chief of naval operations, for the comic strip. In 1951 the National Cartoonists' Society named him Cartoonist of the Year and awarded him the Billy De Beck Memorial Award. Crane also received the Best Story-Strip Award (1966) and the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoon Work (1950). He was an avid supporter of the arts; in 1965 he established the Roy Crane Award in the Arts at the University of Texas for outstanding student creativity in all branches of the arts.

Crane was a member of the National Cartoonists' Society, the Aviation-Space Writers Association, and the United States Navy League (honorary). He was also listed in Who's Who in America. He married Evelyn Cecile Hatcher, also a former student of the University of Texas, on February 8, 1927, and they had two daughters, one of whom was Miss Florida in 1953. Crane died on July 8, 1977, in Orlando, Florida.

Texas Ranger, January 1947. Daily Texan, March 28, 1958. Maurice Horn, ed., The World Encyclopedia of Comics (New York: Chelsea House, 1976). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Rebecca H. Green, "CRANE, ROYSTON CAMPBELL, JR.," accessed August 10, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcr49.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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