This morning, while aimlessly thumbing through a bound book of New Yorkers from late 1937 I paused to look more closely at a drawing with an unfamiliar style. The signature was legible enough for me to decipher, and with that I went to “The Complete New Yorker” database and looked up the cartoonist, Thurston Gentry. I found he had but one cartoon published in The New Yorker, the one I’d just come across in the issue of December 4, 1937. This immediately qualified him to join what I’m calling the One Club; that is, a club of cartoonists who have appeared just once in The New Yorker in their lifetime.
As I wrote on Ink Spill’s “Posted Notes” back in March of 2008 under the heading “Just Once” I’m fascinated by the cartoonists who broke into The New Yorker but never made it past that first published drawing. Quoting from “Just Once”:
In 1925 alone, I counted eleven solo contributors ( one of those, Bertrand Zadig, also contributed one cover — his only cover for the magazine). Until coming across these cartoonists I’d always thought there were perhaps no more than half a dozen solo appearance cartoonists in the history of the magazine. Finding nearly a dozen in the magazine’s first year was an eye-opener.
I’ve yet to return to counting the members of the One Club — I’ll get to it someday. But for now, Mr. Gentry enters this special category.
A great book, Collier’s Collects Its Wits (Crowell-Collier Publishing Co., 1941) has supplied me with many a self portrait over the years and it did not disappoint when I looked up Mr. Gentry today. The self portrait above is from the book as is the brief biography below:
Born in Dallas, Texas, Thurston Gentry’s first tangible art reward was a German helmet – grand prize in a 1917 Liberty Loan poster contest. Five years at sea as a ship’s muscianon the Honolulu run preceded art department work on West Coast and Midwest papers. Seven years ago our subject moved to Manhattan and sold his first cartoon to Collier’s. Hobbies; Flying, amateur radio, music.
The site Askart.com supplied some additional information:
Born in Texas in 1905. Gentry was a resident of Chicago in 1930 and a pupil at the AIC. While living in Hollywood in 1932-45, he was a cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times.
Edan Hughes, “Artists in California, 1786-1940”
California Arts and Architecture list, 1932; Census.
Below is a Thurston Gentry cartoon that appeared in Click’s Cartoon Annual, 1940