More memorabilia – the four cartooning Roth brothers

I came across an old promotional brochure for "The Professional School of Cartooning" (Lawrence Lariar, Executive Director), from 1947 or 1948. Four of the featured instructors were the Roth brothers, gag cartoonists who each achieved varied levels of success in the profession. Only one of them, Ben Roth, retained the family name in print. His brothers worked under the pen names of Irving Roir, Salo and Al Ross. You probably recognize the name of Al Ross as the famed "New Yorker" cartoonist. I believe he's still actively cartooning, even though I haven't seen his work in "The New Yorker" for a long time. Here are their photos and sample cartoons, from the brochure: Roth Bros- - Al.jpg Roth Bros-- Ben.jpg Roth Bros- - Salo.jpg Roth Bros- - Roir.jpg Why my interest in the Roth brothers? I thought you'd never ask. My wife and I first traveled to Israel in 1983, and in our small mini-bus group were Ellen and Herb Deutsch of Buffalo Grove, Illinois. Our conversations eventually (and inevitably) got around to my gag cartooning, and Ellen reported excitedly that not only was her father a gag cartoonist, but so were her three uncles. I, of course, responded that they could only be the four Roth brothers. Ellen was amazed that I had heard of her father and uncles and I was amazed at what an incredibly small world we live in.

Which of the Roth brothers was her father? I'm sorry to say that I don't remember. But I'm sure that someone out there will supply that little bit of information . . . please!!

Oh, one more thing. My mother's maiden name was Roth, but I'm sure that's just another weird coincidence.


  1. comment title
    Ellen Roth Deutsch’s father was Irving Roth (pen name Roir). Ellen is my mother-in-law and she and Herb still live in Buffalo Grove, IL .

  2. comment title
    Many, many thanks, Sara — this completes my little anecdote. Please give my warmest regards to your in-laws, Ellen and Herb. I still have photos of them from our vacation. And if you’d care to bring me up to date on the four Roth brothers, I’m all ears!

  3. comment title
    Thanks again, Mike. With your encouragement, I’ll be posting the photos and sample cartoons of the other instructors, in the future. Besides the Roth brothers and Lawrence Lariar, they were Henry Boltinoff, George Wolfe, Ed Nofziger and Adolph Schus. These names from the past should all be familiar to you, as a chronicler of the history of gag cartooning. And what a great job you’re doing in that respect on your blog!

  4. comment title
    Speaking of small worlds…I happened upon Mike Lynch’s blog posting about The Professional School of Cartooning, which I had recently read about when I was putting together some information for the National Cartoonists Society regarding my father, Adolph Schus. Then wandered over to your blog. fyi, I have all my father’s clip books, but you might actually have some information about him I’m unaware of, since my father died in 1957 when I was pretty young and I have no siblings.
    I recently met with one of my father’s first cousins who is now 93 and had apparently been very close to my father. He told me they ran an advertising agency together for a few years, probably around 1930-31, just after my father got back from his year in Paris. First I ever heard of it.
    Eli, would love to hear from you one of these days. I live in California near LA, where are you located?

  5. comment title
    Al Ross, the surviving Roth brother, my father, is at 96 still working and selling cartoons. Though still on contract with The NewYorker has been reluctant to submit because the editorial taste seems to have moved on. However The NewYorker Cartoon Bank has become a regular pension plan for the old school cartoonists like my father and there is collector interest in early Roth Bros. originals. The first ‘cartoon bank’ was started by my uncle Ben Roth, my mother Sylvia Roth formed The Rothco Cartoon Agency after Ben’s untimely death to continue the resale worlwide of cartoons. Many cartoon originals have not survived, many were destroyed by widows (aunts), I’m always on the lookout for early originals and have a small collection of my uncles works. Of course there is a tremendous trove of Al Ross’s en situ which we occasionally dip into to meet demand.

  6. comment title
    David, I hope you get this msg. My name is Mat Grayson. I lived in the building on Bolton st. in the Bronx where your father lived. Your father used to watch me when I was a kid when I got home from school and my mom was not home yet. I still remember, how he used to bring me a Hersheys bar almost every day. Al and Sylvia were very very good friends with my mother. My mother last spoke to them about 2 and 1/2 years ago, since then she has lost touch with them and is driving herself crazy trying to find them…
    Please if its possible…. Can you help me?
    thank you Mat G.

  7. comment title
    For David Roth, It was very nice to read a little something about the Roth Bros. After hearing stories about them from your Dad. I’ve wondered for so long if your Dad and Mom are still alive and living in the same place. I do send my yearly holiday card with news of the year. For years we lived in the same apartment building and we have lots of wonderful memories along with a few pictures of the times we shared with your parents. The last time I saw Ab was at his show that was up in South Salem I believe , he looked wonderful…I was sorry that Sylvia was not there. I think of them both so often. My children Matt and Jessica and myself remember them both with great appreciation for all their kindness and love they shared with us. We also cherish the cartoon #36492, Ab used to bring the kids a chocolate bar everday and one day Matt made Ab laugh so hard and low and behold a little while after that day Ab brought us a copy of the Nw Yrkr with that cartoon signed, Matt was so proud and excited he was all of five. We have always loved your spirited parents, they were like Grandparents to my kids when they were little and helped me through some very rough times for which I am truly greatful. I am so happy to know Ab is still working and selling cartoons @96. We all send our love along with our warmest regards to both your parents.

  8. comment title
    My late Mother, Ann was sister to the Four Roth Brothers, my favorite Uncles: Al, Ben, Irving & Salo; Salo was my Godfather. I last visited my Uncle Al a year ago and he is just as spirited as ever! My Brother, myself and all of my cousins had such an amazing childhood with my uncles and our family, never a dull moment when the family all got together, which was almost weekly back then in the Bronx.
    Many of my cousins, and myself, went on to become artists ourselves, like my cousin David. We were well immersed in the arts at an early age, and humor was a big part of it.
    When my uncle Salo passed away four years ago I inherited, basically all of the originals from his strip, Laughing Matter. I am talking hundreds of drawings. My Aunt Pearl, Salo’s beloved Wife, who now lives in a retirement home in New Jersey wanted me to donate the whole collection to a place that will care for them and if possible display them occasionally. I have been looking for such a place ever since. I am wondering if you can be of any assistance in this quest? The drawings are safely stored for now, but I really would like them to be in a place where they could be appreciated fully by anyone. Thank you for your time and cooperation and for keeping my family alive in this small way!
    Thank you! Marc Mannheimer

  9. comment title
    Thanks for your comments, Marc. As for your collection of your uncle Salo’s original drawings, I know there are various “cartoon museums” around the country which would be glad to archive them (and perhaps exhibit them at an appropriate time). Since you emailed me separately about this, I will see if I can research the names and addresses of some of these museums, and email the information directly to you.

  10. comment title
    Hi, I came across this site by accident. I used to work Pearl and Salo at Loral Elec. in the Bronx. Pearl and I had Salo’s comic’s hanging in our cubicles. Sorry to hear he passed away. Does anyone know how Pearl is?

  11. comment title
    I am so happy to here that people know pearl and salo roth. I grew up in the same building in the bronx. They were my godparents and my parents best friends. My father and salo hung out together and they all spent many a friday night playing polka. I have many fond memories

  12. comment title
    al ross is my great grandpa!!!! haha im gunna tell him what people are saying he will love it (:

  13. My father, Al Ross, passed
    My father, Al Ross, passed away today at the age of 100 years young! He was simply the greatest, and will always live on through his art, and his thousands of fans and his offspring! The world was a far better place with him, and now is still the better for it! Love you Dad!

  14. Read your comments about the
    Read your comments about the Roth Brothers. Salo and Pearl Roth lived in the Bronx, I was a friend of theirs for many years until I moved to Israel. Salo and I went to the trotters nightly. He was one of the best race horse handicappers. He worked out of his home. Eventually, the Chicago Tribune gave him notice and that ended his life’s work. Until then he was a dreamer, he saw the world through rose colored glasses. Losing his job woke him up to the reality of going to work each day and dealing with co-workers. He was very sensitive and very kind to all who knew him. He had to adjust to the outside world.

  15. It was really fun to read the
    It was really fun to read the above comments, etc. about the Roth Brothers, as I know my father (Adolph Schus) was a friend and professional colleague of them all. I well remember Ben, as well as his twin sons Peter & Alan, who were a year or so older than me. We lived in Croton-on-Hudson, NY at the time; they lived in Scarsdale.

    For anyone looking for a place to donate original cartoons, sketches, etc., I’d encourage them to contact the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, part of Ohio State University’s libraries. website: phone: 614-292-0538 Jenny E. Robb is the curator with whom I’ve been in contact. In November, they will be opening up a newly built facility.

    I get the impression their collection has only a small % of art from spot cartoonists. When I approached them about taking all the clip books, originals, etc. that I have of my father, they seemed very happy about it and said they wished they could add more such art. I’m surprised more people don’t know about this library/research facility. One of the good things about their new expansion is that it will them to have small exhibits, temporary exhibits.

  16. It was good to hear from you

    It was good to hear from you again, Stephanie — and thanks for the information on the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. As you know, I have mentioned your father, Adolph Schus several times in my archive, and now I’m going to see if I have enough old material on his cartoons to feature him in one of my “We All Have To Start Somewhere” postings in the future.

  17. Hi Eli- I happened on your
    Hi Eli- I happened on your blog while searching out info on where my father, Irving (Roth) Roir especially, as well as my uncles, Ben Roth, Al(Roth)Ross,and Salo, published their cartoons. For my Dad I remember a Sunday full page strip(?) called “Of All Things”. I thought it was in the “Journal American” but my sister, Cynthia Roth, thought it was the “Chicago Tribune”. Do you or my cousins out there have any idea? I am a “working” artist writing about my own work and the “Four Roth Brothers” for a book about my own art.

  18. Continuing on…Like my
    Continuing on…Like my cousin Marc Mannheimer says our family gatherings were hilarious! Did you ever go back to Israel? Herb and I and my sister Cynthia went to see my cousin Arlen Roth and daughter, Lexie perform in MD. They gave an exciting concert. Alan Roth & second cousin, Debra Roth were there also. So many “Roths”. It was really fun!. Let me hear from you-Ellen

  19. Hi, Ellen —

    Hi, Ellen —

    So glad to hear from you directly (after hearing from so many of your relatives and friends — I often wondered why you never sent a comment).  To answer your questions, yes, my wife and I returned to Israel the year after we were on the tour with you and your husband Herb. It was a “Volunteers for Israel” trek (our little group was stationed at an Israeli Army base and we “replaced” regular Army reservists for the short time we were there). It was even more fun and more stimulating and exciting than the two weeks we spent together. Have you ever gone back?

    As for your question about your father’s newspaper strip, I have to assume it was a syndicated strip. Since the Chicago Tribune and the New York Journal-American were both big, popular newspapers (the Journal-American no longer exists), it’s quite probable that the strip appeared in both of those papers, as well as many others. The Journal-American was a Hearst publication, by the way.

    Lila sends her best. Let’s keep in touch — we have lots of photos of our two weeks together, and I’m sure you do also.

  20. I fondly remember my Parents
    I fondly remember my Parents family circle meetings at our home in Plainview.Hanging out with Salo was always a riot. He was a very funny man. We had three “Laughing Matter Framed Pictures” hanging up behind our bar in the den and everyone us to crack up reading them. They usually had a few drinks to help their sense of humor, but the 3 scenes are histerical.

  21. There’s a Salo cartoon in the
    There’s a Salo cartoon in the 1963 Fireside Book of Horse Racing (Simon & Schuster):

    Kid nonchalantly saunters into his home, with his mother holding open the door as the sheepish husband behind the kid avoids her glaring daggers at him:

    “Daddy took me to the zoo. One of the animals came in & paid $33.80 across the board.” (by Salo, p. 257).

    Tell me, was Salo’s first name really Salo? I ask because I’m reviewing the book and want to give all the cartoonists full credit.

    And if anyone is interested in horse racing at a time when literacy rates in the sport were much higher than they are now, the book is highly recommended.


  22. From all the information I’ve

    From all the information I’ve received from his relatives, Don, I can verify that Salo was his first name, and his wife’s first name was Pearl. Thanks very much for your input.


  23. I remember Ben Roth quite
    I remember Ben Roth quite well despite his early passing. My paternal grandmother came from the same village (Seletyn)in Austria-Hungary (now on the Romanian/Ukranian border). As a child, I would see him at the NYC Seletiner-Bukoviner Society meetings. All the brothers were quite talented.

  24. Forgive this “sideways” posting not fully on topic, but I’m interested if anyone has more information on the Seletiner-Bukoviner Society mentioned by Jim Zucker. I’m told my maternal grandfather, Manny (Mendel or Emanuel) Schleien was a member. I’m also looking for family history and would welcome if anyone has had any success finding civil records from Seletin, Manny’s birthplace.
    Thank you,

  25. Dear Sir,
    I discovered your website while doing research and enjoyed looking at it. I read with interest all the messages about the Roth brothers. I am French and for more than 50 years I have been collecting cartoon books from many countries (I now own more than 10,000 books). If people from the Roth families are interested in some of my bibliographic files on Irving Roir, Ben Roth, Al Ross and Salo, I could send them to you (it is in “Word” format) and you could transfer them to those people.
    Sincerely, Jean-Marie Bertin.

  26. Jean-Marie BERTIN,
    If you see this I would be interested in getting you bibliographic files on the Roth Brothers!
    To Eli: Ellen passed away unexpectedly in 2019 and is very much missed. Herb is preparing to retire, he is almost 83 and works full time still. No longer in Buffalo Grove but Mundelein, IL.
    -Sara Deutsch

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Welcome to the Eli Stein Cartoon archive. To begin, read my introduction and personal notes, and then please look at the cartoons, which are categorized by either decade, publication name or topic. I’ve included some personal comments, memories and photos below many of the cartoons. I’ll be adding cartoons, memories and photos ad infinitum. Remember, your comments are appreciated (just click on the “comment” link at the bottom of each post).