AUGUST 8, 1915


Born in Vian, Oklahoma (OK), his name meant “They Have Returned.”  He was age 8 when forced to attend school.  He loved learning, had a talent for art and sports.  After high school, Franklin spent 2 years at Bacone College in Muskogee, OK, focusing on Indian art before a Bureau of Indian Affairs loan allowed him to attend the University of OK at Norman, OK.  Upon graduation, Gritts taught art at Fort Sill Indian School in Anadarko, OK, before transferring to Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas.  In 1943, Gritts entered the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Franklin (CV-13) in the Pacific and, on March 19, 1945, was injured by shrapnel during an attack that nearly destroyed the ship.  His recuperation took almost a year.  Returning to Haskell in 1947, Gritts developed a commercial art curriculum.  In 1955, Franklin left Haskell to become art director of The Sporting News’ monthly magazine, The Sporting Goods Dealer.  He died in November 8, 1996, in St. Louis, Missouri.

 “Gritts, Franklin,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/10/1996.  Retrieved 12/12/2020,
Photo:  Franklin Gritts, 1941.  Public Domain.

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