Early Christian Cartoonist, E.J. Pace

Posted by Don Manley on

An early Christian Comics Pioneer, Ernest James Pace was born November 11th, 1879 in Columbus, Ohio. He died in 1946. When Pace was a teenager a news reporter saw him sketching during a church service and introduced him to the editor of a local paper where he began drawing cartoons.

Below is a 1919 photo of Pace. The two cartoons are from the 1930 "Pictures That Talk" Evangel booklet by Pace. The Evangel booklet has been sold. I'm on the lookout for another.

At the age of 19 Pace moved to Chicago to illustrate political cartoons for the daily Journal. Pace later recalled, "But there in that great city I met Larsen, a Dane, whose beautiful Christian life and personal efforts won me to Christ. My conversation was of the revolutionary kind, positive and complete, like stepping out of a deep, dark cellar in to the blazing light of noonday. Naturally, I lost all interest in politics, and lost my job. At once I set about preparing for Christian work, and offered some drawings for Frank Beard, famous cartoonist of the "The Ram's Horn. He accepted one, but redrew it in colors and published it on the cover."

Soon afterward Pace met his future wife, Cornelia Parker. They where married and moved back to Columbus, Ohio where he was licensed to preach and became the pastor at several Ohio churches.

Pace's denominational affiliation was with the United Brethren. After graduating from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio he and his wife Cornelia went to the Philippine Islands as missionaries. During this time he contributed hundreds of cartoons to "The Watchword," a weekly journal published by the United Brethren in Christ. On furlough from the Philippines, Pace attended the Bonebrake Theological Seminary and in 1912 was a member of the first graduating class of the Kennedy School of Missions, formerly a division of Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut. Afterward he returned with is wife and infant daughter to the Philippines.

Sometime before 1814, Pace, influenced by the emerging "modernist" sensibilities had a crisis of faith. However he rededicated himself and his work to the "Lord"after receiving a "loving rebuke" from a fellow missionary, Julia Mott Hodge. In a letter Pace wrote to Miss Hodge in 1934 he says "the dear Lord took his erring child again into His bosom, and oh, what a transport of joy, what cleanness of soul was mine by the blessed effusion of His Spirit. It seemed I had had an inward bath; every nook and cranny of my being was every whit made clean. God turned my captivity, and springs of water made glad the desolate desert of my soul. That was March, 1914, and from that day to this, Modernism has had no more influence over me than to awaken a burning hatred of it."

Pace and his family reluctantly left the Philippines in 1915. Doctors diagnosed him with "Tropical Sprue," a digestive disorder often occurring in the tropics and subtropics. Pace wrote; "On returning to the States, I recovered my health on strawberries and milk as a diet, and plenty of rest and warm sunshine on the shores of beautiful Lake Chautauqua New York."

Back in the continental US Pace continued to published cartoons, this time for the "Sunday School Times." His cartoons first appeared in the "Times" in December of 1916 and continued to run for the next thirty years. He later worked at the Moody Bible Institute before embarking on a traveling church and Bible conference speaking ministry. Pace continued his cartooning ministry (both in publications and as lecture aids) until his death in 1946 at the age of 67.

Excerpts of the above bibliographical text where borrowed from the following two sources. Click on the links to learn more about E.J. Pace's life and work.

E.J Pace Christian Cartoonist by Alec Stevens, 3/2011

Dr. E.J. Pace (Christian Comics International)


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