Lester Ralph

One of the signatories to the competitors’ letter congratulating Gerald Barry on the foundation of The Week-end Review.

It seems likely that Ralph (for a very long time the only person to appear as a winner as well as a judge) is one and the same as the Lester Ralph who controversially illustrated Mark Twain’s Eve’s Diary  (1905) with Beardsley-esque drawings (there is a curious film – voiced – of the book on YouTube here). This fits with the fact that a Lester Ralph born in 1877 (or maybe 1876) in the USA is resident with his journalist father in London in the 1901 census, and gives his profession as an artist, as he does later when he applies to join up in 1917 (his signing up papers are to be found online). He would therefore be in his fifties when the Week-end Review started, very likely the age of his co-entrants Seacape and Pibwob. Competition no. 181 gives his first initial as B.

Eve’s Diary, published five years before Mark Twain’s death in 1910, was banned in many places in the USA.

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