It’s just too hot to go up into the Cartoon Attic today so I thought I’d post this drawing of mine that appeared in The New Yorker way back in August of 1996.
(The drawing is, of course, copyrighted by The New Yorker Magazine, Inc.)
Whither Whither, or After Sex What? Edited by Walter S. Hankel (1930, The Macaulay Co., NY)
I’ve always loved this book more for its cover than its content. It was published just five years after the birth of The New Yorker, and a year before Thurber’s first drawing appeared in the magazine (January of 1931). That isn’t to say the book’s publisher wasn’t aware of Thurber’s art. Whither Whither’s cover gently echoes the cover of E.B. White and James Thurber’s Is Sex Necessary? published to great success a year earlier. Wither Wither’s cover illustration was executed ever-so-slightly in the Thurber vein. The title’s type face is vaguely reminiscent of Is Sex Necessary? as is the use of the word “Sex” and the use of the title in the form of a question. To drive home the point: Thurber and White appear on the cover as contributors.
William Gropper, the illustrator, was no Johnny–come-lately to the illustration field. By 1930 he was a well established cartoonist and illustrator. If he was taking-off on Thurber’s style – at least for the cover piece — he couldn’t help but reveal the discipline of his art school roots. Gropper’s work inside the book is less Thurber-like, resembling instead the simpler loose yet determined style William Steig used later in his long career.
It’s interesting to note that twelve of the fourteen contributors to Whither Whither were New Yorker contributors, making this book a near de facto New Yorker collection.
While Is Sex Necessary? took off (it’s still in print some 80 plus years after its first printing), The New York Times reviewer whisked Whither Whither away, saying of its essays, “some are good, some are indifferent, and some are wearying.”
Continuing on from yesterday’s post, pictured above is Our Own Baedeker from The New Yorker (Simon & Schuster, 1947). Carl Rose supplied ten maps and one hundred and eighty illustrations. The written pieces all ran during World War II.
Regular visitors to Ink Spill might well ask, “Why these posts of ancient material all of a sudden?” The answer is that we seem to be in a summer slump of news and events ( if anyone knows of any New Yorker cartoon/cartoonist news and events, please share). With nothing doing news-wise, I’ve decided to climb back up into our cluttered cartoon attic and drag a few items out into the light. If you wish to see other things posted over time, please visit the attic.
The two paperback books above were part of a series produced for our overseas service men and women during WWII. Measuring just five-and-half by four inches, they fit easily into a pocket, duffel bag or backpack.
The eagle-eyed observer will notice that Profiles From the New Yorker features E.B. White’s only New Yorker cover (published April 23, 1932). According to Brendan Gill’s Here At The New Yorker, White came up with the cover while “sick abed.” Here’s a link to an article, “Oats for a Hoppocampus” in Time magazine, the week the White cover was published.
The New Yorker’s Baedeker, with its Peter Arno cover (originally published July 19, 1930) is not to be confused with the 1947 hardcover, Our Own Baedeker, with maps and illustrations by Carl Rose.
In 1943, San Francisco’s M.H. De Young Memorial Museum held an exhibit of artist’s self portraits called “Meet the Artist.” The catalog, 8 1/2″ x 7 3/4″ is a gem. Of the 188 artists represented, a number are New Yorker contributors: James Thurber, Saul Steinberg, Otto Soglow, Mischa Richter, Richard Taylor, Alajalov, Whitney Darrow, Jr., Richard Decker, Roberta MacDonald, Barbara Shermund, Reginald Marsh, Dorothy McKay, Garrett Price, Gluyas Williams, and Rea Irvin. Self portraits shown above, top to bottom: Garrett Price’s self portrait on the catalog’s cover, Richard Taylor and Mischa Richter.
Note: this catalog can be found online; numerous copies at varying prices are available on AbeBooks.com.