Who was Russell Maloney and What Did Harold Ross Say About Him?


In May of 1935, New Yorker founder and  editor, Harold Ross sent a six word memo to Wolcott Gibbs, at one time the artists so-called hand-holder, i.e., the middleman between the cartoonists and the editors:


“Best ideas lately come from Maloney.”



“Maloney” was Russell Maloney, a Harvard graduate, who peppered the New Yorker with so many impressive cartoon ideas, Harold Ross invited him into the fold. Maloney’s stock rose fast, soon inheriting James Thurber’s position as prime Talk of the Town editor/writer.  He wore many hats, contributing profiles, stories, ideas for cartoons, Talk pieces, etc., etc. – all told, an impressive amount of work in a short period of time at the magazine (he was there for eleven years, retiring at age 35. According to his obit in The New York Times,  Maloney said he retired because he couldn’t keep up the pace).


One of Mahoney’s signed pieces stood out from all his contributions:   “Inflexible Logic” published in the issue of February 3, 1940.  The fiction piece revolved around a theory that six chimpanzees with six typewriters “just pounding away at the typewriter keys, would be bound to copy out all the books ever written by man.”


For at least one of The New Yorker’s cartoonists, Carl Rose (his drawing at the top of this post was based on a Maloney idea) the quality of Maloney’s contributions to the art department were ranked exceptionally high.  From Rose’s 1946 collection, One Dozen Roses: An Album of Words and Pictures:


The two best gagmen in the world, for my money are E.B. White and Russell Maloney…for a couple of years he sold an incredible number of  picture ideas to The New Yorker and has been represented anonymously by most of the regular contributors to the magazine.



Maloney died of a cerebral hemorrhage in September of 1948 at age 38.  Following his retirement from The New Yorker he went on to write for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Life, and The Saturday Review (where he published “Tilley the Toiler”  — a profile of The New Yorker).  At the time of his death he was a radio book critic for CBS.  A collection of some of his New Yorker pieces, It’s Still Maloney, or Ten Years in the Big City,  came out in 1945 ( Sorry about the poor image of the book below  — it appears the cover illustration is by the New Yorker cartoonist, Richard Taylor).












Cartoons & Marriage; Two New Yorker Cartoonists on The Harvey Kurtzman Exhibit


Two recent posts on The New Yorker’s website, newyorker.com:

The magazine’s Cartoon Editor, Bob Mankoff, takes a look at marriage cartoons (what with all the marriage talk in the air and in Washington, D.C.) in his weekly blog post.


Liam Walsh and Benjamin Schwartz, two of the more recent recruits in The New Yorker‘s cartoonist fold collaborate on “Hey Look!” — their graphic report on a recent visit to see the Harvey Kurtzman exhibit at the Society of illustrators.

Joseph R. Carroll added to The One Club

Place this discovery in the happy accidents category:  Janet Utts’s  Index of New Yorker Cartoons 1975 – 1985 (John Gordon Burke Publisher,Inc.,1986) contains a basketful of biographical information on New Yorker cartoonists who contributed work to the magazine during those years.  I was going through the bios the other day, double-checking facts when I ran across Joseph R. Carroll’s entry.


Mr. Carroll, who spent 48 years at The New Yorker, had just one cartoon published in the magazine, the issue of January 16, 1984. Unlike his associates in Utts’s Cartoon Index, Mr. Carroll’s New Yorker career had more to do with the physical magazine itself, and others cartoons rather than with his cartoons, or should I say, cartoon. Here’s an excerpt of his bio (the cartoonists supplied their own bios for the book):


Born June 7, 1919, NYC…self-taught artist. First work appeared in the New Yorker in 1936… Editorial Director at The New Yorker, selected cartoons, made up and laid out every issue.  With The New Yorker over 48 years. Responsible for the New Yorker Cartoon Albums published every 10, 25 and 50 years.


An online search today revealed that Mr. Carroll only recently passed away,  December 30,  2010 at the age of 91.  His obit expanded upon the above biographical information from the Utts Index):


Starting his career in 1936 as a Make-up & Layout Specialist under the tutelage of Mr. Harold Ross, founder and original editor of The New Yorker, Mr. Carroll honed his skills and expertise that eventually culminated in his position of Editorial Production Director. As the Director, Joe was responsible for the layout and production…He held this position until his retirement in 1985. Many of his techniques are still being used by the magazine today. Beyond his technical skill in layout and production, he also lent his talent to the pages of The New Yorker that featured several articles published in the Talk of the Town as well as an original cartoon.


Mr. Carroll’s one cartoon during his 48 years at the New Yorker immediately qualifies him to enter the One Club — an Ink Spill category for those cartoonists who were published but once in the magazine during their careers.  His bio, as all  bios of One Club members,  appears in red in The New Yorker Cartoonists A -Z.


National Cartoonists Society Best Gag Cartoonist nominees include Ziegler, Stevens, Chast and Gross

From The Daily Cartoonist“NCS announces 2012 division awards” — Four New Yorker cartoonists are nominated in the Gag Cartoon category: Jack Ziegler, Mick Stevens, Roz Chast and Sam Gross. Barry Blitt, a New Yorker contributor perhaps best known for his covers, is nominated in the category of Magazine Feature/Magazine illustration. Congratulations to all!

And for more on the National Cartoonists Society, link here to their website.