HARMAN, LOLA MAY - Archuleta County, Colorado | LOLA MAY HARMAN - Colorado Gravestone Photos


Hill Top Cemetery
Archuleta County,

Lola May
November 18, 1902 - March 22, 1999

January 9,1902 - January 2, 1982

Harman was one of the founders of the Cowboy Artists of America, was among the greatest of America’s western artists, a recognized sculptor, was honored in 1969 at the Cowboy Hall of Fame, and was a great humanitarian. He is most noted for his world-famous cartoon strip, “Red Ryder and Little Beaver” which was an overnight success, Harman himself was not.
He was born on February 9, 1902, in St. Joseph, Missouri, but his parents moved to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, when he was only two months old. Except for very brief periods, he spent most of his life in the area which was also the hunting grounds for Apache and Ute Indians.
He spent the first decade of his working life as a cowboy on local ranches. In 1922, he learned that he had a talent for drawing things and took a job with the FilmAd Company in Kansas City. There he sat at a desk side-by-side with fellow cartoonist Walt Disney. Harman and Walt launched their own commercial film venture which soon collapsed. Disney went to Hollywood and Harman back to Pagosa Springs.
Awhile later he went back to St. Joseph where the Pony Express was born back in 1861. He did quite a bit of art work on the subject and illustrated some books. MGM Studios hired him to design the costumes for a Pony Express movie. It was during this time that he met Lola Andrews and on their first date took her took her to the premier of the movie. A year later they were married and in 1927 they had a son Fred who, like his father, was born in St. Joseph.
The Depression came along and Harman was broke. He had two younger brothers who were also talented artists and quite successful in Hollywood where they produced the popular Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. So, he was off to Hollywood. He had a large exhibit at the Stendhal Art Galleries and not a single piece sold. He created a western cartoon strip he called ”Bronc Peeler” and again, no one was interested ,so he syndicated it himself and again went broke.
His work did catch the eye of some eastern publishers and he worked winters in New York City until he had enough money to buy the land that became his ranch near Pagosa Springs. There he created his Red Ryder and Little Beaver comic strip and success fell upon him immediately.
Scripps-Howard newspapers gave him a ten year contract and his cartoon was in 750 newspapers with 40 million readers. That was followed by a radio show, 38 movies, and 40 commercial products and by 1938 he had all the work he could handle. Eventually he turned the comic strip over to someone else so that he could pursue his first love, western art.

Taken fro Tombstone by Tombstone, Volume One


Contributed on 2/19/14 by tomtodd
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Record #: 36792

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Submitted: 2/19/14 • Approved: 2/19/14 • Last Updated: 3/22/17 • R36792-G36791-S3

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