24 Hours of Women Cartoonists: Helen Hokinson

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Women’s History month is wrapping up, but we at The Beat don’t feel we celebrated it properly, so for the next 24 hours most of the Beat staff is collaborating on “24 Hours of Women Cartoonists” to spotlight some of our favorite creators.

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First up:Helen E. Hokinson, a single panel cartoonist and illustrator from the mid 20th century — a period where the contribution of women to comics seems to have been mostly uncredited or in parallel fields such as picture books. The New Yorker of the period was not without female contributors, however, and among the most renowned was Hokinson (1893-1949) who contributed 68 covers and over 1,800 cartoons to The New Yorker. She was the definitive delineator of the stuffy Turtle Bay matron, a rarefied creature of habit and privilege. She was well known in her day producing half a dozen books of her own cartoons and illustrating many more. She died in a mid-air collision in 1949.

Hokinson’s reputation has perhaps suffered from reports that she illustrated staff captions rather than writing her own cartoons—a common practice at the time. There’s much more about her and other women cartoonists at The New Yorker in Liza Donnelly’s history book, Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists And Their Cartoons 24 Hours of Women Cartoonists: Helen Hokinson

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Comments

  1. Thanks for spotlighting Hokinson. She began at the New Yorker in the 1920’s, where there were a few other cartoonists who were women (Ethel Plummer appeared, in the first issue in 1925). Hokinson’s early work is not about matrons, but were breezy cartoons about the modern woman in New York. She did not write he own captions, it’s true, but rather it was more of a collaboration with the editors at the magazine. She also worked very closely with the writer named Parker.

  2. Great way to kick off a review of Woman Cartoonists! I scratch my head about why her reputation would suffer because content or captions were provided or collaborated on. The execution is the thing, and these are nice examples.

    And, off topic, “mid-air collision!” Holy cats! Those were different days in flight, weren’t they?

  3. Jay Barnet says:

    This is an awesome series of posts.

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