It is a rare thing to stumble across a syndicated comic strip that isn’t in Allan Holtz’s book, but that’s what I did the other day. Mrs. Contrary by Marion Farley ran for about 14 months from 1922 to 1923. And Marion Farley is as rare as her comic strip in the history books, not even getting a mention in Trina Robbins’ books on women cartoonists.
Mrs. Contrary was syndicated by the Herald-Sun Syndicate (or Feature). The Herald Sun seems to be a short-lived effort by Frank Munsey, a famous pulp publisher (magazines and newspapers), in the early 1920s when he, for a time, owned The New York Herald and The New York Sun. Most famously it distributed the Gene Byrnes’ Sunday Reg’lar Fellers page (the daily being syndicated by Bell). From 1922 to 1923 Munsey’s Herald-Sun Syndicate tried a couple daily strips – Stan MacGovern’s Dumbell Dan and Marion Farley’s Mrs. Contrary.
Mrs. Contrary landed in a number of newspapers – The Oklahoma Leader, The Racine Journal Times, The Mount Carmel Daily Republican Register, The Moline Daily Dispatch, and The Champaign Evening Herald among others. The earliest sample samples I find are from September 1922 (Sept. 6 in The Tulare Advance-Register and Sept. 13 in The Minneapolis Star). The latest samples are November 1923 (Nov. 3 in The Buffalo Enquirer and Nov. 6 in The York Daily News-Times).
Unfortunately November 1923 is also the last to be found of Miss Farley. No more cartooning under her maiden name. Did she marry and continue with another name? Did she live a long and happy life? Did she move on to the “finer” arts? I dunno.