Shorty Schultz: Tattooed by William Grimshaw and Bert Grimm
Researched and written by Derin Bray
In 1918, still reeling from a tumultuous divorce, Clarence “Shorty” Schultz (1891-1935) quit his foundry job in Davenport, Iowa and made his way to Chicago for a fresh start in life. He soon found himself in the capable hands of Professor William Grimshaw, a seasoned tattoo artist who was happy to set Schultz on a new path. And So, from his winter headquarters in a South State Street arcade, Grimshaw covered his new canvas in fashionable designs.
By the winter of 1919, Schultz had retuned to Iowa to open the American Shining Parlor at 212 Harrison Street in downtown Davenport. In addition to shoe shines and hat cleanings, customers availed themselves of his service as “the only professional electric tattoo artist in the tri-cities.”
This motley venture didn’t last long. By the summer of 1920, Schultz was out of the shoe shine business and trouping with T. A. Wolfe’s Superior Shows as The Tattooed Marvel. At the end of a short six-week season he returned to Chicago to join “old friends” at Ward Burton’s arcade at 434 South State Street. Relative newcomer Bert Grimm was likely one of those friends. He too worked at Burton’s arcade during the wintertime and had helped complete Schultz suit.
But Shorty Schultz’ foray into electric tattooing was short lived. That October he remarried his ex-wife in Chicago; they eventually made their way back to Davenport, where Schultz resumed work as a core maker for the Davenport Machine & Foundry Company. He seems to have retired from tattooing at this time, but his colleagues in Chicago remembered him well. In 1925, his former employer at Burton’s arcade advertised for a first-class tattooer; he asked for Schultz (and Grimm) by name.