Chester Gould in his Tribune Tower studio in mid-February, 1932.

Chester Gould in his Tribune Tower studio in mid-February, 1932.

Small Town Man With Big Dreams Hits it Big
and Creates Comic Book Legend

On August 30, 1921, a 21-year-old man, lonely but full of ambition, arrived in Chicago by train. With $50 in his pocket, a suitcase and a portfolio, he was ready to hit the big time cartoon world. Part of that money went to buy a drawing board and taboret to put in his $3-a-week room on North LaSalle Street.


To be a cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune had been this man’s goal since he was a boy. Now, he would pursue his goal. What he didn’t know was that it would take 10 years working on other papers while submitting ideas to the Tribune before one would catch J.M. Patterson’s eye.

Then it happened! A new concept in comic strip story was presented to Patterson, a detective story, filled with action and fast-paced, the first of its kind. “Dick Tracy” was born.

On October 4, 1931, “Dick Tracy” first appeared in the Detroit Mirror, one of the Tribune owned papers, then in the New York Daily News, then the Chicago Tribune, and on and on, taking the country by storm. So popular was the strip that it appeared on the front page of the New York Daily News for 45 consecutive years, and it was seen in 27 foreign papers.


On December 25, 1977, this young man, then 77 years of age, retired, having written and drawn Dick Tracy for more than 46 years. His dream had been fulfilled.

Eight years later, on May 11, 1985, Chester Gould passed away. The drawing board and taboret that have found a permanent home in the Chester Gould-Dick Tracy Museum are the same ones purchased by that young man who was so filled with ambition on that hot day in August of 1921.