A recent blog posting I came across recently listed some sources of free online genealogy and history books. I had a search for “Van Cooten” at The Digital Public Library of America and came across this cartoon contained within the 29 November 1917 copy of the “The “Oo La La” Times” – a field publication of the 17th U.S. Engineers in France. This is contained in the Princeton University Posters Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History catalogued by the Smithsonian Institution.
Consulting my research, I determined that this must have been drawn by John Atrill Van Cooten, whose Declaration of Intent to become a US citizen dated 23 May 1917 states that he is a Commercial Artist. This Declaration stated that he had been living in the US since 1914, and was obviously part of the process of volunteering to serve with the US forces in WWI. John’s service abstract indicates that he enlisted in ERC (Enlisted Reserve Corps), Company B, 17 Reserve Engineers, Nashville, Tennessee on 23 May 1917, served overseas from 25 Jul 1917 to 25 Mar 1919, and was discharged 11 Apr 1919, having been promoted to Corporal. He wasn’t fully naturalized until 30 June 1943.