The picture below, submitted by Mr. Crawford is of David Hoag of Canandaiqua, N. Y.  who died two yours ago 1935 -ED.


Article from Life Magazine August 23, 1937  The photograph of David Hoag referred to as being below is the one above.



The picture you have posted as David Hoag under the Face subsection of human wonders of the world is a photograph of my great grandfather, David Alexander Hoag. He was diagnosed with oral cancer in the early 1900s and had his upper and lower jaw surgically resected in order to remove the tumors. Since he is depicted on your website, I am wondering whether this picture was taken from a "pitch card" for a sideshow -- I am aware the picture was used as part of a libel suit that my great grandfather initiated against three newspapers in 1927, claiming that the cartoon of Andy Gump was based on his likeness and he felt the cartoon ridiculed his deformity.

As the family genealogist, I am interested in learning if indeed my great grandfather participated in sideshows or used the photo to earn money. This was not information that was passed down through family generations, so any information you have about David Hoag would greatly interest me.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

~ Nancy L. Hoag

Nancy thanks for your email,


Here's some information from

James Mundie that he has posted on his site along with a drawing he did of David Hoag.


David Hoag's claim to fame is that he was allegedly born without a chin. A native of Canandaigua, New York, Hoag's unusual condition earned him a brief career in the sideshow where one presumes he performed tasks that those of us with intact mandibles take for granted - chewing, for instance.

Was this Chinless Wonder a popular draw? I cannot really say as there isn't much information to be found about David Hoag.


Drawing by James Mundie 2004



Andy Gump and His Deformity

The “Andy Gump deformity” is a euphemism for ananterior mandibular defect that creates the appearance of an absent chin and lower lip and severely retrognathic lower jaw . Most commonly, this defect is due to ablative head and neck cancer surgery; however, this deformity is also used to describebilateral body fractures of the edentulous and atrophic mandible or a severely retrognathic mandible.

In all cases patients with this deformity are at risk for airway compromise, cosmetic embarrassment, excessive drooling, mastication difficulties, and speech impairment. Reconstruction is difficult but has become more successful over time with improved surgical technology. The namesake of this deformity is a cartoon character from the early 20th century. Andy Gump was the patriarch in an extremely popular comic strip about a middle-class family,



The Gumps


 For 42 years, The Gumps was read daily, initially in the Chicago Tribune and later syndicated to newspapers through-out the United States. The idea of a comic strip about an ordinary American family was envisioned by Joseph M. Patterson, Editor and Publisher of the Chicago Tribune . Patterson referred to his middle-classreadership as “gumps” and thought that this strip would be appealing. Patterson hired cartoonist Sidney Smith, and The Gumps came to life on February 12,1917. Smith created a family of ordinary people: chin-less Andy with an oversized mustache, prominent nose, and bald  head and his wife Minerva; their son Chester; Uncle Bim; and their housekeeper Tilda.

When Andy spoke, his mouth appeared as a small hole in his neck. Uncle Bim was Andy’s fabulously wealthy relative, who led an exorbitant lifestyle, compared with that of the average American family Gumps. Minerva (known as Min) was the brains be-hind the family, rescuing Andy from numerous predicaments. Chester was often found throwing tantrums, and Tilda was usually at odds with Andy and Min.

The Gumps quickly became a favorite. It was the first comic strip to develop a daily soap opera like story line; these storylines included political satires of Andy running for public office—Congress and the White House.

The Gumps was the first comic strip to include the death of a character, Mary Gold, in 1929.In 1920, animated short films were developed by Paramount Pictures; in 1923 Universal Pictures produced comedy films based on The Gumps. A radio adaptation of the strip was also developed, airing on WGN and CBS radio from 1931 to 1937.The facial features of Andy Gump are thought to be based on an actual person, David Hoag, who lived in the same town as Sidney Smith. On August28, 1915, Hoag underwent surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital for extensive carcinoma of the lower lip. The surgeons at Hopkins included Drs Joseph Bloodgood, Roy McClure, and Walter Dandy. Dr McClure later went on to become a noted surgeon at Henry Ford Hospital and is attributed with instituting iodized salt in the United States to prevent goiter. Dr Dandy went on to become one of the founding fathers of American neurosurgery. Sur-gery for Hoag’s carcinoma was limited to resection alone, leaving him with an unreconstructed anterior mandibular defect. After Hoag’s surgery and subsequent recovery, here turned to his native Canandaigua, NY, a small town in upstate New York where Sidney Smith also lived. Smith subsequently moved away from Canandaigua to Chicago, IL, to start the Gump comic strip. The Gump business empire (comic strip, merchandising, film, and cigar company) made Smith an exceedingly wealthy man, earning over $100,000 per year ( Fig 2 ). Aware of the success of The Gumps and the similarity between Andy and his disfigured lower face, David Hoag brought suit against Smith and the Post Standard Company, the local central New York state newspaper company carrying The Gumps strip:

That after the year 1915, one Sidney Smith began the production of the line of comic pictures known as the Gumps, picturing and portraying certain alleged members of the Gump family, with Andy or Andrew Gump as its leading and principal character . . . portrayed as being without a lower jaw or lower part of the face, the same as the plaintiff . . .That during the early years of the life of the said Sidney Smith, he and his parents lived in the immediate vicinity of the plaintiff’s home and that for about fifty years the said Sidney Smith has known the plaintiff and the said Sidney Smith knew of the deformity and dis-figurement to the plaintiff’s face and saw the plaintiff and knew how he looked and was also well acquainted with the plaintiff’  height and other physical proportions and in adopting the said caricature of Andy Gump he not only made his face from that of the plaintiff’s but also his whole body . . .That by reason of the publication of the said libelous matters in the defendant’s said newspaper, the defendant has held the plaintiff up to ridicule and contempt and caused him to be shunned and avoided and to be made an object of ridicule and comment wherever he may go andhas caused him great pain and suffering and disgraced and humiliated him, all of his damage in the sum of One Million Dollars.

Of note, this is one of the first million-dollar libel suits in the United States. It is unclear why Hoag involved only the local newspaper company who published the comic strip, as opposed to the Chicago Tribune, who syndicated the strip; the assumption is that it was a decision based on geographic convenience. Smith denied basing Andy Gump on David Hoag. Despite these denials, there remains speculation about whether Hoag’s facial deformity influenced Smith, directly or indirectly. Smith’s father was a dentist—was Hoag one of his patients? Herb Galewitz, a comic strip historian, noted that Smith may have denied these allegations to “protect himself legally.”

Hoag ultimately lost his lawsuit. Smith was subsequently killed while driving his Rolls-Royce home on October 20, 1935, in Chicago. He had just left the Chicago Tribune offices after signing a $150,000 annual contract to continue The Gumps comic strip.


Cartoonist Gus Edson replaced Smith and continued the strip. In the 1950s the popularity of The Gumps  and the strip was canceled on October 17,1959. A statue of Andy Gump was commissioned by the Chicago Tribune and given as a gift to Sidney Smith in the 1930s. It stood on his Lake Geneva, WI, estate until his death. The statue was then shifted to Lake Geneva’s Flat Iron Park, where in 1967 it was destroyed during a drunken riot by “young, beer-swilling Fourth of July revelers who smashed it to smithereens.”

The city council of Lake Geneva replaced the statue, which was subsequently stolen. The current Andy Gump statue overlooking Lake Geneva is the fourth replica; it is alarmed and made of fiberglass, and the city created a mold to quickly replace it as needed

The 20th-century chinless cartoon character Andy Gump is the namesake of a deformity resulting from an absent or retrognathic lower jaw. History provides evidence that Andy Gump’s appearance may be based on an actual head and neck cancer survivor. With  advances in maxillofacial reconstruction, the Andy Gump deformity may become a part of history as well.

Andy Gump deformity Shahid R. Aziz, DMD, MD Associate Professor, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey New Jersey Dental School, Newark, NJ. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr Aziz: De partment of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Dental School, 110 BergenSt, Room B854, Newark, NJ 07103;   © 2010 American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons,


Hope this is helpful



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