Chester Gould

A Daughter’s Biography of the Creator of Dick Tracy

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About the Book

In 1931, the Chicago Tribune introduced the public to an exciting new comic strip destined to become a classic: Dick Tracy. Tracy’s creator, Chester Gould, would spend the next 46 years of his life developing the dynamic, crime-fighting character, and his work on the strip won him the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in both 1959 and 1977.
A revolutionary in the comics industry, Gould invented both a genre and an icon. The personal story of this pioneer cartoonist is now presented in a biography written by Gould’s only child. Beginning with his young life in a three-room house in Pawnee, Oklahoma, this book traces all the steps Gould took to eventually achieve remarkable distinction at the top of his field. The early pages relate his ancestors’ part in the Oklahoma land rush, drawing on the unpublished memoir of his father, Gilbert Gould. Chester Gould’s story is then augmented by his own personal commentary, taken directly from recorded conversations with his daughter. Throughout these conversations, Gould recollects the evolution of his career, from painting advertisements on barn roofs at age 17 to documenting the violent crime life of Chicago, from which he drew inspiration for his Dick Tracy strip. Discussion of his ambitions, disappointments, popular accomplishments, and family moments comprise a thorough account of Chester Gould’s fascinating life. Appendices include commentary from his two grandchildren and a comprehensive list of his awards and distinctions, which included formal recognition from three American presidents.

About the Author(s)

Daughter of Chester Gould, Jean Gould O’Connell contributed to her father’s Dick Tracy storylines and appeared as a character in the famous comic strip. She helped create the Chester Gould-Dick Tracy Museum in Woodstock, Illinois. She lives in Geneva, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Jean Gould O’Connell
Foreword by Dick Locher]
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 231
Bibliographic Info: 173 photos, appendices, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2007]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7299-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vi
Foreword by Dick Locher      1
Preface      3
Introduction by Garyn G. Roberts      5

1. Ancestors      11
2. My Father’s Boyhood      17
3. Off to College      36
4. Chicago      50
5. The Birth of Dick Tracy      79
6. The Farm      88
7. Dad at Work and at Home      101
8. More Farm Life      146
9. Dick Tracy and His Public      156
10. Exciting Times and Travels      164
11. The Later Years      174
12. Honoring Chester Gould’s Legacy      193
13. Afterwords      202

Appendix A. The Grandchildren Remember      215
Appendix B. Awards and Honors Received by Chester Gould      219
Index      221

Book Reviews & Awards

Finalist, Edgar Allan Poe Award—Mystery Writers of America. Finalist, Macavity Award—Mystery Readers International
“engaging”—Mystery Scene; “delightful”—School Library Journal; “useful”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly.