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Percy Leo Crosby
Birth: Dec. 8, 1891
Kings County (Brooklyn)
New York, USA
Death: Dec. 8, 1964
New York, USA

Birth: Dec. 8, 1891
Kings County
New York, USA
Death: Dec. 8, 1964
New York, USA [Edit Dates]

The Child of His Soul
(In memory of "Skippy")

The child of his soul
-He sketched with steady hand;
In painful moments of despair
The child would understand.
The child of his soul
Could vanquish every fear;
A companion through eternity
-A friend forever near.
Created by the artist
With great artistic flair;
A young lad with angelic face
And quite unruly hair.
A shining light through darkest hours
-A spark from memories past;
The breath of Hope that gave him life
Remains with us at last.
Though creator's tools have long been stilled
-The artist now at rest;
The child who dwells within our souls
Has left the world most blessed.

-Robert Westberry

The following biographical information was taken from the wonderful website and is used here with the permission of Percy Crosby's daughter, Joan Crosby Tibbetts. For more information about Percy Crosby and "A Case of Stolen Identity" please visit Joan's site.


Percy Crosby was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 8,1891 to a family of modest means. His paternal grandparents immigrated from County Lough, Ireland at age 16,in the 1860's. They spoke only Gaelic. His father, Thomas Crosby, was an amateur artist and inventor, who owned an artists supply store with his brother Ben. His mother, Fanny Greene, was an accomplished singer with interest in drama and theater she had acquired from her father, an actor. Percy's artistic talents emerged at an early age, and he often used his father's oil paints and brushes to paint pictures on their backyard fence, which became a theme in the Skippy comic strip. When his father locked up these art supplies, Percy went to the coal bin in the cellar and used his creativity to decorate the cellar walls and floor, much to the delight of his sisters, Ethel and Gladys. His grandparents imbued him with stories of their Irish ancestry and tribal wars. This fascinated Percy, especially the Crosby coat of arms: a knight's helmet with crossed swords above a shield and the Latin motto,"Indignante florebit justus invidia" (the just man will flourish despite envy and indignation). Percy was a lackluster student. School lessons bored him, and he often skipped school to visit the public library, reading history books and literature beyond his grade level.
The Crosby family moved to Richmond Hill, Long Island, in 1900, then a small town surrounded by farmland, where Percy helped the milkman care for his dairy farm and deliver milk. He had many friends, and formed a club called the "Liberty Boys", who played soldiers and marched through the fields with their drums (old tin pans) and wooden swords. Another favorite pasttime was building pedal cars from discarded wood and wheels in the town dump. Percy's sisters were assigned as lookouts, and to raid the Crosby family kitchen for cookies and other goodies to feed the troops. These childhood adventures would later come to life in the Skippy comic strip and novel (1929), on which the 1931 Paramount films, Skippy and Sooky, were based. The Skippy movie was nominated for 3 Academy Awards, and Norman Taurog won an Oscar for best director. The film also launched the career of Jackie Cooper as child star, in the role of Skippy.
Although Percy Crosby had been drawing numerous cartoons for Life, Charles Dana Gibson, the publisher (and famous creator of "the Gibson girl") ran an ad in the March 15, 1923 issue to introduce Skippy, whose impish character and mischief quickly captivated the hearts of both adults and children. Crosby, who called his character "the child of my soul", used his childhood adventures in Brooklyn and Richmond Hill to portray life in a small American town, as seen through the eyes of children. Skippy became known as "the little boy inside every man". Crosby had finally arrived and his cartoons on Life covers, which originals today are worth thousands of dollars, increased circulation. The Skippy weekly feature commanded the attention of William Randolph Hearst, who offered a contract to Crosby with King Features Syndicate that began in 1926 and lasted until 1945. The Skippy daily strip was was the only comic featured on the first page of the Hearst papers. The Sunday Skippy strip began in 1929, and the character had such universal appeal as "the All-American boy" that Skippy was syndicated worldwide and translated into over fourteen languages. Crosby was then making more money than the President of the United States. In 1927, Crosby hired Fred Wish, a well-known agent for famous artists and celebrities, to handle Skippy licenses. A major law firm (Lord, Day & Lord) was retained to protect Percy Crosby's valuable reputation and Skippy business, including trademarks and copyrights.
In 1928 Percy Crosby met Agnes Dale Locke, secretary to G. P. Putnam, publisher of the Skippy novel and husband of Amelia Earhart. They were married in April, 1929 and were given a free honeymoon cruise on the luxury liner, Ile de France,to France, where they rented a villa in Normandy, which Crosby described in his book, A Cartoonist's Philosopy (1931). Some of Crosby's finest art work was done during this period, a collection of "French scenes and sketches" he did of the Cliff Dwellers in Normandy, whose homes were destroyed during the Normandy Beach invasion of World War II. The Crosbys returned to America just before the stock market crash in October, 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression, and moved to McLean, Virginia. They had four children, Percy, Jr.("Skippy"), Barbara, Joan and Carol.
During his career as a celebrity American artist and author, Percy Crosby crusaded against corruption and stood up to the likes of Al Capone and his henchmen when American citizens were too frightened to speak out. He used his Irish humor and gift of satire to lampoon politicians, President Roosevelt, the Ku Klux Klan, and fought for civil liberties, child labor laws, rights of veterans, and freedom of the press. Although he made a profound impression with millions of Americans, primarily through Skippy, the loveable and mischievous cartoon character who became a household word, Percy Crosby was unable to prevent retaliation by those who coveted control of Skippy for their commercial gain, and wanted him silenced. Percy Crosby was falsely imprisoned in a New York mental hospital for the last 16 years of his life. He died in the mental hospital on his birthday, December 8, 1964.
See for more information
Long Island National Cemetery
Suffolk County
New York, USA
Plot: R, 2816 [Edit Plot] 
Long Island National Cemetery
East Farmingdale
Suffolk County
New York, USA
Plot: Plot R, 2816
Created by: Wiregrasswalker
Record added: Jan 16, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 64285026
Percy Leo Crosby
Added by: Wiregrasswalker
Percy Leo Crosby
Added by: Wiregrasswalker
Percy Leo Crosby
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Happy Birthday and Angel Day
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 Added: Dec. 8, 2013
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