Born on 24 September 1891 in Dublin and orphaned at a young age, Booth was brought up by his aunt, Alice Duggan, and educated at the Dominican Convent, Wicklow, the Catholic University School. After leaving school he worked for the Dublin United Tramways Company, and joined an amateur dramatic society, the Mount Argus Players, where he met Tom Collins and Charles E. Kelly, both civil servants. After the Mount Argus Players disbanded, Booth and Kelly joined the Rathgar Players. Sharing a talent for cartooning, they decided to start a humourous magazine, and recruited Collins as a writer.
Booth resigned from the Dublin United Tramways Company to be its first editor, and drew the covers as well as interior cartoons. The first sixteen-page issue of Dublin Opinion, funded by a loan from a friend of Booth, was published on 1 March 1922. 3,000 copies were printed, and all sold, but the second issue sold poorly. From issue 3 the magazine was distributed by Easons, and within four years was regularly selling 40,000 copies an issue. Its satire was gentle, and politically it steered a careful middle course. Nonetheless, Booth's cartoons could be bleak. During the Civil War his covers depicted ruin and desolation. Afterwards, he concentrated on unemployment.
Booth was married to Nora, née Baker, and they had three children. He died of pneumonia on 8 October 1926, his wife surviving him by only two weeks. Thereafter, Collins, Kelly and Booth's father-in-law Major Robert J. Baker founded Dublin Opinion Ltd, and Collins and Kelly took over the editing of the magazine.
References[edit | edit source]
- Thomas J. Collins & Charles E. Kelly (eds.), Fifteen Years of Dublin Opinion, Dublin Opinion Ltd, 1937
- Theo Snoddy, Dictionary of Irish Artists: 20th Century, Merlin Publishing, 2002, pp. 38-39
- Frank Kelly, "The Story of Dublin Opinion", The Political Cartoon Society
- Pauric J. Dempsey and Bridget Hourican, "Booth, Arthur James Conry", Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press, 2010
- Anne Dolan, "Kelly, Charles Edward", Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press, 2010
- Anne Dolan, "Collins, Thomas Joseph", Dictionary of Irish Biography, Cambridge University Press, 2010