A recent acquisition of the Museum is the wartime artwork of Creed Dotson Riser. Sixteen caricatures that were originally published in the supplement to the West Side Index, Sounding Off, have been donated to the Newman Museum. A few of them appear here, and portray local servicemen who were serving their country during WW II.
Sounding Off was largely the work of a local newspaper editor, Julian S. Henry, who published the supplement for local service men and women and kept them updated on others in the service. Small articles appeared on spotlighted individuals interspersed with photographs and humor. Letters from the various service personnel were regularly quoted from, and major events like upcoming marriages were sometime announced in the pages.
October 10, 1943 Introduction to Sounding Off by Julian S. Henry:
Your Sounding Off again brings to you that personal letter from the West Side boys and girls supplemented by a few thoughts here and there of Your Newman Correspondent. And for the benefit of those who are receiving their first issue a little enlightenment night not go amiss.
Sounding Off was created to fill that very important function of keeping the West Side Servicemen in closer contact with one another and with the old home town. It has no particular pattern, changing at the will of the writer. This issue may contain more letters while the next issue may contain none at all, depending upon the mood of the writer. It is rather difficult to write items of interest to all, therefore we hardly expect to please you all with every item. In fact we may step on a toe or two now and then. But just in case we do, remember someone may be getting a bang out of the item just as you may be getting a kick out of some item that may not please some other reader.
But just in case you or someone else does happen to get sore, I, Julian S. Henry, accept the full responsibility for any and all remarks contained herein and all libel action of any kind should be directed against me. Nothing in the way of financial gain will be gotten, I assure you.
Sounding Off was first intended for the male members of the Armed Forces and is written primarily to please them. And it shall be continued along those lines. So just in case our items don't click with you there is only one way out for you–discontinue your subscription. And now on with the news of the boys and girls in the service with asides by Your Newman Correspondent.
The artist was Creed Dotson Riser, whose family moved from Texas to the Newman/Crows Landing area where he was raised. A graduate of Orestimba high School in 1935, he attended Modesto Junior College, and worked at the Bank of Newman prior to joining the United States Army Air Corp in 1942 during the Second World War.