William Donahey

Infobox Writer
name = William Donahey

imagesize = 100 px
caption = ca. 1920
pseudonym =
birthdate = October 19, 1883
birthplace = Westchester, Ohio
deathdate = death date and age|1970|02|02|1883|10|19|df=y
deathplace = Chicago
occupation = cartoon artist + illustrator
nationality = American
period = Twentieth century

William Donahey (19 October 1883 – 2 February 1970) was a U.S. cartoon artist and creator of the "Teenie Weenies", a comic strip about two inch tall people living under a rosebush. cite web|url= http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/whi/feature/teenie/|title= William Donahey's Teenie Weenies|accessdate= 2008-05-17] cite web|url= http://books.google.com/books?id=8Rv64wjtnnoC&pg=PA121&dq=Mary+Dickerson+Donahey&sig=a6dSJ7w9e1_WbJF0FBm3HE4MugE#PPA121,M1/teenie.htm|title= Weird Michigan: Your Travel Guide to Michigan's Local Legends |accessdate= 2008-05-21] The strip appeared in the Chicago Tribune for over 50 years. He drew the "Teenie Weenies" characters for a total of about 2100 strips. His work appeared in places all around the world. cite web|url= http://www.thetws.com/donahey.htm|title= More information on William Donahey|accessdate= 2008-05-17] cite web|url= http://www.toonopedia.com/teenie.htm|title= Don Markstein's Toonopedia|accessdate= 2008-05-17]


Donahey, being an introverted child, spent much of his childhood alone. One of his pastimes was imagining strange creatures in a small world. He later claimed this was the birth of the "Teenie Weenies." cite web|url= http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/highlights/archives/2007/04/teenie_weenies.asp|title= Meet the Teenie Weenies|accessdate= 2008-05-17] His parents, John C. Donahey and Catherine (Chaney) Donahey, noticing his creative work then enrolled him in the Cleveland School of Art. They had hoped that he would follow his older brother James Harrison Donahey (1875 - 1949) into the illustration business. Donahey graduated from college in 1903 and worked briefly in advertising. He then joined the staff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where his brother Hal was the political cartoonist.

While working for the Cleveland Plain Dealer he met his wife Mary Augusta Dickerson of New York City. They were married on August 16, 1905. She was a columnist and children's book author. Here he specialized in children's cartoons. His wife introduced him to some of the traditional children's stories he had missed when he grew up, such as the Mother Goose rhymes, Alice in Wonderland, and Arabian Nights. Donahey liked very much the Mother Goose rhymes and took an interest in them. He not only illustrated children's cartoons, but then started illustrating the Mother Goose rhymes as well. Soon he refined his writing skills and composed his own poems and stories.

The editor Joseph Medill Patterson of the Chicago Tribune saw Donahey's original creations and offered him a full time job as a cartoonist for the comic section. cite web|url= http://lambiek.net/artists/d/donahey_william.htm|title= William Donahey the artist|accessdate= 2008-05-17] Here is where he created the "Teenie Weenies" that was based on the characters of the "Brownies". This set by cartoonist Palmer Cox was already popular for the previous thirty years.

The stories consisted of a large illustration and accompanying text about the lives of many characters that lived beneath a rose bush with full size people objects like hats, jugs, and old boots. There was even an illustrationed story that involved an old rusty tomato can. The first feature appeared in black and white on June 14, 1912. Color was added in 1923 when the comic feature moved to the regular Sunday comics section.

The Teenie Weenies comic strip was syndicated in newspapers around the world. The characters appeared in books, school primers and advertising. Donahey franchised his work to be used on decals, dolls, clothing, handkerchiefs, and tin boxes. He had a number of licensing agreements for his work with companies like Monarch Foods and Reid-Murdoch. He dedicated most of his work and energy however into the newspaper cartoon comic strips.

The Teenie Weenies written and illustrated by Donahey contrasted normal-size objects with tiny protagonists. This plays to comic's greatest strength which is visual appeal. One feature that Donahey did in the Chicago Tribune even called the characters "The Little People."


One of William Donahey's older brothers was Victor Donahey, the governor of Ohio from 1922 through 1929.

William Donahey and his wife Mary Dickerson Donahey owned the Pickle Barrel House in Grand Marais, Michigan.


Donahey was a member of the the American Press Humorists and Society of Midland Authors.

Works authored

*"The Pixeys" - comic strip 1925.

*"Teenie Weenies" - comic strip 1914-1925, 1933-1934, 1941-1970.

* "The Teenie Weenie Primer, Adventures of the Teenie Weenies 1920

* "Down the river with the Teenie Weenies" 1921

* "The Teenie Weenie Man's Mother Goose" 1921

* "The Teenie Weenies Under the Rose-Bush" 1922

* "The Teenie Weenies in the Wildwood" 1923

* "Alice and the Teenie Weenies" 1927

*"The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn " by Mark Twain (Spencer Press, 1953) - wrote the 1953 forward.

Illustrated works

William Donahey illustrated within the following books:

*"Huldy's Whistle" by Anne Archbold Miller (Reilly & Lee, Chicago, 1919).

*"Lady Teddy Comes to Town" by Mary Dickerson Donahey (Small, Maynard & Company, 1919).

*"The Children's Mother Goose" collected or reinterpreted by William Donahey (Reilly & Lee, Chicago, 1921).

*"The Teenie Weenie Man's Mother Goose" collected or reinterpreted by William Donahey (Reilly & Lee, Chicago, 1921).

*"The Spanish McQuades - The Lost Treasure of Zavala" by Mary Dickerson Donahey (Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., Garden City, NY, 1931).

*"Hi, Ho, Pinocchio" by Josef Marino (Reilly & Lee, Chicago, 1940).

*The "Miss Minerva" books by Emma Speed Sampson (Reilly & Lee, Chicago).::"Billy and the Major" (1918)::"Miss Minerva's Baby" (1920)::"Miss Minerva on the Old Plantation" (1923)::"Miss Minerva Broadcasts Billy" (1925)::"Miss Minerva's Scallywags" (1927)::"Miss Minerva's Neighbors" (1930)::"Miss Minerva Goin' Places" (1931)


*Cahn, Joseph M., " The Teenie Weenies Book: the Life and Art of William Donahey " (Green Tiger Press, 1986). ISBN 0-8813803-5-0


NAME = William Donahey
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Comic strip illustrator / author
DATE OF BIRTH = 19 October 1883
PLACE OF BIRTH = Westchester, Ohio
DATE OF DEATH = 2 February 1970
PLACE OF DEATH = Chicago, Illinois

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