Gallery Artists > Jim Bagley Biography :

Jim Bagley (1837 - 1910)  Artworks >>

Civil war veteran and noted cartoonist whose funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon. Major James M. Bagley, Denver's first cartoonist and wood engraver, died at his home, 342 South Sherman Street, late Thursday afternoon. Maj. Bagley, who came to Denver in 1873 and drew the first cartoons and made the first engravings that were used in Denver newspapers, has been and invalid for the last 18 years, suffering with throat trouble. He has been gradually failing for the last year. He was well known to most of the early residents of this city, gaining so great a reputation for his work as a cartoonist that he was known as the Thomas Nast of the West. He owned the first engraving shop in Denver and was building up a large business when he was forced to give up active life on account of his failing health. Maj. Bagley was born in Maine in 1837 and early showed a wonderful skill in the now almost lost art of wood carving. He went to New York and worked for several years as one of the engravers employed by the Frank Leslie Publishing Company, whose weekly magazine was known as the best and most (unreadable) illustrated periodical of the day. At the outbreak of the Civil war, the young engraver gave up his bright prospects in his chosen line of work and enlisted as a private in the Seventy-third New York infantry. His military record is a fine one. He served during practically the entire war and when he was mustered out of the service he had reached the rank of major. He was wounded several times during the war and his health was impaired to such an extent that he was almost an invalid for the rest of his life. At the close of the war he went to St. Louis and opened an engraving shop in that city. He was a wonderful workman and his business prospered but his health continued to fail and 1872 he came to Denver where he was able live until he reached the age of 72. He opened the first engraving shop in Denver and drew numerous cartoons for the early Denver newspapers. His work was much in demand and he made practically all of the cuts that were published in the Denver papers in the days before the coming of the steel engraving. Most of the early cartoonists who worked upon the Denver newspapers received their early training in Maj. Bagley's shop. About 18 years ago he became an invalid and has lived quietly at his home ever since. All his life he had done much painting in oils and his ability to carve figures from wood and stone is shown by some of the splendid pieces of workmanship he has left. One of his most famous works is a black and white drawing of the Georgetown loop made when that famous engineering feat was completed. This picture which is one the finest specimens of black and white work in the city still hangs in his home. This picture (unreadable) a great stir in Denver when it was complete, and has been frequently exhibited. It still remains the best picture of the Georgetown loop district, the artist having added many features to the picture that no camera could have caught. Many photographs of his Georgetown loop picture have been taken and reproductions of the picture may be seen in all parts of the county. Source

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