Meek, Clifton

Meek, Clifton (1888-1973)

Clifton Meek was born on January 22, 1888, in Fremont, Ohio. He learned telegraphy at an early age and by the time he was 17, was working for a railroad company. Looking for a better career, he attended a Cleveland school of art and became a cartoonist for the Scripps-McRae Syndicate first in Cleveland and then in San Francisco. In the latter, he drew a four panel comic strip entitled, “Johnny Mouse,” and Walt Disney claimed that “Johnny” was an inspiration for “Mickey Mouse.” In 1912 John Gruelle of Norwalk, creator of the “Raggedy Ann” books, invited him to move east. Meek settled in Silvermine and was one of the earliest members of the Silvermine Guild of Artists. He drew comic strips for the New York World andNew York Evening Journal. His mouse cartoons appeared in Life Magazine. However, he grew disenchanted with cartooning. At an auction he purchased a portable forge, and for the remainder of his life he created ironwork, much of which was used in the region. He began working for the WPA Federal Arts Project in November 1935 and completed 28 bronze and wrought iron signs allocated to Benjamin Franklin Junior High School, Broad River School, Washington School, and New Canaan Town Hall. Reproductions of his This is Silvermine signs can be seen throughout Norwalk. Meek died in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1973.

 Sources: WPA Artist’s Work Card; WPA Allotment Card; “Cartoonist Meek Held in Auto Death,” Hartford Courant, May 24, 1923; Obituary, Norwalk Hour, July 31, 1973;“Clifton Meek,” Lambiek.netwww.lambiek.net/artists/m/meek_clifton.htm; Social Security Death Index

Works of Art Listed in CT Archives’ database from Clifton Meek:

2 Signs: bronze
18 Signs- New Canaan Town Line: wrought iron
4 Lighting Posts: wrought iron and copper
School Sign: wrought iron
School Sign: wrought iron
School Sign: wrought iron
Road Sign- Hare & Tortoise: wrought iron
Meek, Clifton