Tag: The New Yorker

Found in the Collection: Gardner Rea (1894-1966)

One of the very first cartoonists to appear in the The New Yorker in 1925, Gardner Rea is yet another among the strangely large number of cartoonists from Ohio. In accordance with his drawing style, any and all information about Rea seems to provide just the most basic outline. Rea lived out the majority of his life in Brookhaven, New York, in a home that he specifically designed to not have a front door. Visitors could only enter through the back, and in many of his obituaries he is noted for standing with his back to you as you spoke- facing a blank wall instead.

She just lives for horses, and horses for her.” Gardner Rea original. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

But despite this idea of him, Rea was hilarious and an absolute master of line work. His distinguished style of undetailed illustrations with a singular spot-black and total command of design and shape were the least of his contributions- at one point he was writing up to 40 gags a week for other cartoonists like Charles Adams and Helen Hokinson.

The Triumph of Technique” Gardner Rea original. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Rea attended East High School in our beloved Columbus, Ohio, and came here to The Ohio State University for his undergraduate degree. He edited the campus humor magazine, and is noted to have proudly won a prize from the Serious Poetry Committee and the Humorous Poetry Committee for the same poem. His cartooning career launched at age 15, when he sold his first cartoon to Life, and appeared occasionally in Judge and Puck later.

Gardner Rea original. Gift of Barbara Rea Renwick, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Possibly Rea’s most distinct feature was his wiggly lines, for which we love his quick explanation: “nobody will catch on when I’m senile.”

Found in the Collection: Eldon Dedini Doodles

In December of 2005, the late great Eldon Dedini donated his original art and personal papers to us here at the Cartoon Library. Known for his voluptuous and fantastical Playboy cartoons and his contributions to Esquire and The New Yorker, Dedini’s collection contained not only 1,500 original cartoons, but also correspondence, business papers, idea files, rough sketches and more.

As our steadfast and enthusiastic MLIS practicum student (yes, we take MLIS practicum students!) Caitlin Naber from The University of Illinois processes Dedini’s collection, she continuously uncovers jam-packed folders of fascinating gems! The “oohs” and “ahhs” from her corner of the archive seldom cease. One of the great blessings of working on a collection like Dedini’s is that he was incredibly meticulous and organized about keeping his collection comprehensive.

MLIS Candidate and practicum student Caitlin Naber and the Dedini files

In one of the 13 folders of Dedini’s eloquently titled “Doodles” in his collection, there are a great number of fantastic quick sketches of famous folks. It’s quite a random selection, but we wanted to share some of our favorites.

Eldon Dedini's George Herriman. The Eldon Dedini Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Eldon Dedini's J.D. Salinger. The Eldon Dedini Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Eldon Dedini sketch of Edie Sedgwick at Andy Warhol's Factory. The Eldon Dedini Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Eldon Dedini's Anais Ninn. From the Eldon Dedini Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Eldon Dedini's Honoré Daumier. From the Eldon Dedini Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

 

Eldon Dedini's Diego Rivera. From the Eldon Dedini Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

 

 

Eldon Dedini's Wassily Kandinsky. From the Eldon Dedini Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps, dear reader, you are curious about what processing a collection such as Dedini’s entails.

While we would love to appease the envy of those who may think that archiving the collection of a cartoonist just means reading comics all day, rest assured there is indeed a science to the sorting. In order to make the Dedini collection accessible and easy to navigate for researches, scholars, students, and the general public- we will be making an online finding aid for the collection. When the Dedini collection arrived here at the Cartoon Library, it was comprised of 103 boxes of materials, containing everything from Chinese restaurant menus, to rejection letters, to oil paintings, to the original character sketches of Mr. Toad for Disney’s The Wind in the Willows. When we receive a collection as broad as Dedini’s, an initial organizational plan of attack must be made on how to categorize the materials in a way that makes sense of their career, and will be most understandable to a researcher. This requires going through all of the boxes, and all of the folders and sub-folders within those boxes, and sorting out materials into their appropriate series.

The categories that have been designated for the Dedini collection are as follows:

Series I. Playboy (Subseries 1. Correspondance, Subseries 2. Sketches and Roughs)

Series II. The New Yorker (Subseries 1. Correspondance, Subseries 2. Sketches and Roughs)

Series III. Esquire (Subseries 1. Correspondance, Subseries 2. Sketches and Roughs)

Series IV. Advertising Illustrations

Series V. Book Illustrations

Series VI. Freelance Works

Series VII. Sketches, Drawings, and Scrapbooks

Series VIII. Original Art

Series IX. Research Files (Reference Pictures, Picture Files- Organized alphabetically by topic)

Series X. Cartoonist/Professional Organizations

Series XI. Correspondence (fan and personal, organized by year)

Series XII. Personal and Family materials (photographs, genealogy info, wedding anniversary)

Series XIII. Memorabilia

We hope that this not only gives our readers some insight on how materials are processed, but for the cartoonists reading out there with a flare for organization (and perhaps a desire to donate their collection to a certain cartoon library and museum someday), we hope we can help provide a framework for thinking about your own paper trail. And remember: save everything!

As our trusty practicum student continues to sort through Eldon Dedini’s collection, we’ll certainly be posting more of his materials as they are processed. June happens to be Dedini’s birth-month, so what better time for it!

Women’s History Month: Barbara Shermund, 1899-1978

My name is Caitlin McGurk, and I love Barbara Shermund.

"I was just thinking Freddie, what would you ever do without me?" Barbara Shermund original. Part of the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

One of the first female cartoonists at The New Yorker, Barbara was one of the most edgy, whimsical, and cutting cartoonists of the past century– yet you have probably never heard of her. It’s as entertaining and exhilirating to go through the Barbara Shermund collection here at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum as it is frusrating- how have we forgotten such a brilliant pioneer of early feminist gag cartoons? A quick google search for Barbara will retrieve a few art auctions of her work, Hilda Terry’s Wikipedia page, some extremely brief single-paragraph biographies, and one lovely but short rememberance by cartoonist Michael Maslin.

Luckily, New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly’s incredible book Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons pays homage to Shermund again and again, and sheds some light on who she was. Letters between Shermund and cartoonist friend Eldon Dedini deconstruct the mystery, and just looking at her originals here at the Cartoon Library tell their own story.

"Evelyn, speak more respecftfully to your father!" "Oh mother, don't be so pre-war!" Barbara Shermund original. Part of the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum(click to enlarge)

Born in San Francisco in 1899, the daughter of a sculptor and an architect, Shermund was encouraged in her talents and attended The California School of Fine Arts. At 26, she moved to New York City where she began working for The New Yorker within its first four months of existence–both writing and drawing cartoons herself in the beginning. Contributing 8 covers for the magazine and hundreds of cartoons, Shermund’s humor was esstential for the times, and she later went on to become a mainstay at Esquire.

Donnelly writes of her, “She drew mostly about the New Woman, demonstrating an understanding of the newfound independence while not being afraid to poke fun at her. Her women were alternately clueless and strong, depending on the cartoon. This was the state of women at the time–some were experimenting, coming out of the home, and speaking their mind. Meanwhile flappers among them showed disdain for an education and just wanted to have fun. What comes through in many of the cartoons is that Shermund’s women did not need men”

With a sense of humor that hits you quick but is hard to pin down throughout the entirety of her career (her work changed quite drastically once she stopped writing her own gags), this transcience seemed to pervade most aspects of her life. Although she arrived in NYC in 1925, Shermund did not have a set address until much later in her life. She was considered the most well-travelled New Yorker cartoonist of the time, constantly taking off for another city or country, or spending her time staying with friends between Manhattan and Woodstock, NY. Without ever having a formal studio space, she preferred drawing at the kitchen table.

As seen in some of the pieces I’ve included in this post, Shermund’s characters were alive and astute. They spoke their mind about sex and marriage, smoked cigarettes and made fun of everything at a time when it was not so proper or common to see young women doing so. She was among the first three women to be seriously considered and eventually accepted as a member of the boys club that was the National Cartoonist Society in 1950. In Hilda Terry’s witty letter to the NCS requesting their admittal (Terry, Shermund, and Edwina Dumm), she suggests that they change their name to the National Men’s Cartoonist Society. Assertive and ambitious while still maintaining a charmingly sly repose, these strong women truly paved the way for their successors- and seemed to have fun doing so.

"Well, I guess women are just human beings after all." Barbara Shermund original. Part of the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

There is still much to uncover about Shermund’s life, and I’d like to thank Liza Donnelly for writing such a glorious and well-researched book that includes a bit of her history. We at the Cartoon Library would love to someday have an exhibit of Shermund’s work,  and if any readers have more information on her we would love for you to share it!

To see a few more of my favorites from her collection of hundreds of originals, you can search for Barbara Shermund by name in our Cartoon Image Database.

-Caitlin McGurk