Don Trachte Sr.

Don Trachte Sr.

Donald Trachte Sr. (1915-2005)

Donald Trachte was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1915.  In high school, Trachte took art classes from Carl Anderson an experienced cartoonist who worked for the Philadelphia Times and New York World newspapers.

In 1932 Anderson sketched his famous first Henry cartoon and submitted it to the Saturday Evening Post.  The cartoon showed a little boy lifting Henry off the ground so his bald head was pushing up on the belly of an old draft horse, and the caption read, “Isn’t your head warmer now Henry?” The Post ran the Henry cartoon for two years until the Hearst press began publishing it in over 400 newspapers worldwide. Anderson and Trachte collaborated on the cartoon strip until Anderson’s death 1948, and Trachte continued to draw Henry for the Sunday additions until 1994.

In 1950 Trachte and his family purchased Mead Schaeffer’s home on the Sandgate Road and joined the cadre of prominent illustrators in Arlington. Trachte modeled for Rockwell, appearing on the cover the Saturday Evening Post – Girl with the Black Eye. In addition to drawing the Henry cartoon strip, Trachte enjoyed oil painting and spent much of his time experimenting with his own techniques and style.

In 2005 Trachte died at the age of 89.  One year later his two sons discovered that Trachte made an exact copy of a Norman Rockwell painting and kept the original hidden behind a secret wall in his studio. The painting – Breaking Home Ties was one of Rockwell’s most popular works and published in the Saturday Evening Post on September 25, 1954.