Harry Grant Dart was an American illustrator and comics artist active in the late 1800’s and early 1900s.
He worked for the Boston Herald and then the New York World, where he eventually held the position of Art Editor. He was one of the newspaper sketch artists who sketched important events for newspapers prior to the use of photographs (see my post on The Illustrators of La Domenica del Corriere). He also maintained an outside career as a magazine illustrator, working for titles like Life and Judge.
As a cartoonist Dart created a comic strip called The Explorigator, about a an airship staffed by a crew of adventurous kids. Meant to be a competitor for Winsor McCay’s spectacular strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, The Explorigator only ran for 14 weeks in 1908.
There aren’t a lot of resources on Dart that I could find, but there is a treasure of an archive of The Explorigator on the Barnicle Press site; sadly, not in color, but still a stunning example of this detailed, beautifully drawn and wildly imaginative strip.
The strip featured Dart’s penchant for drawing fantastic Victorian era aircraft, which also showed up in his other illustrations, like the image above (large version here on Flickr), done for a magazine called The All-Story.
I love the fact that he’s given us a liberated, fashionably attired Victorian era woman pilot, years before women could vote.