“Expectant Father”

“Expectant Father” (December 31, 1956)
by Burris A. Jenkins, Jr. (1897-1966)
14 x 14 in, ink and crayon on board
Coppola Collection

Burris Jenkins Jr. was the son of a prominent Kansas City minister, war correspondent and newspaper editor. Jenkins Jr. was a popular sports cartoonist, whose work appeared in the New York Journal-American from 1931. His humorous published verses were also popular. Although best known for his sports themes, Jenkins was also a skilled courtroom illustrator and editorial cartoonist.

Jenkins was not afraid to provoke, and he has some strong WW2 examples, including one of the rare direct commentaries on concentration (death) camps. Among his best-remembered cartoons are his angry piece on the discovery of the dead Lindbergh baby, and his sentimental image of Babe Ruth’s farewell to Yankee Stadium.

He was fired from his first job at the Kansas City Post for a series of pessimistic Christmas cartoons, a firing that prompted his father’s resignation from the same newspaper.

His father was an interesting guy. Jenkins, Sr (1968-1945) was ordained in 1891 and served as a pastor in Indianapolis. He received advanced degrees from Harvard and went on to serve as a professor and president of the University of Indianapolis and president of Kentucky University. He left Kentucky to return to Kansas City as pastor of the Linwood Boulevard Christian Church. The church burned in 1939, and Jenkins chose Frank Lloyd Wright as the architect for the church’s new home overlooking the Country Club Plaza.

Jenkins served as editor of the Kansas City Post from 1919 to 1921, hoping to fight for the establishment of the League of Nations. The Jenkins, Sr., biography tells the story about his leaving the Post slightly differently that for the son: “After two years, it became necessary for him to choose between the newspaper and his pulpit and, without hesitation, he resigned from the Post.”

“Live dangerously!” Jenkins would thunder from the pulpit, embracing his own philosophy against all adversaries. Unconventional in nearly every aspect of his chosen field, Jenkins often preached from non-Biblical texts, such as the latest book or his travels abroad. The church frequently hosted motion pictures, dances, card games, and fundraising boxing matches. These activities led to opposition to Jenkins and his Community Church from other churches in the city.

Welcome to 1957. I was a little over a month away from being born.

The smoke from the cigars on the floor tell a story about 1956:

Larson’s Perfect Game – October 8, 1956, in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, Don Larsen of the New York Yankees threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Suez – On October 29, 1956, Israeli armed forces pushed into Egypt toward the Suez Canal after Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-70) nationalized the canal in July of that same year, initiating the Suez Crisis.

Election – Ike was re-elected in 1956

Poland – The Poznań protests of 1956, also known as Poznań June, were the first of several massive protests against the communist government of the Polish People’s Republic. Demonstrations by workers demanding better working conditions began on 28 June 1956 at Poznań’s Cegielski Factories and were met with violent repression

Hungary – The Hungarian Revolution of 1956, or the Hungarian Uprising, was a nationwide revolution against the Hungarian People’s Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from 23 October until 10 November 1956

Grace Kelly – Grace Patricia Kelly was an American film actress who, after starring in several significant films in the early- to mid-1950s, became Princess of Monaco by marrying Prince Rainier III on April 19.

Andrea Doria – On the night of July 25, 1956, a collision between the ocean liners SS Andrea Doria (Genoa) and MS Stockholm, 45 miles SE of Nantucket, killed 51 people and prompted one of the largest civilian maritime rescues in history.

Margaret Truman – A sometime controversial figure, Truman’s full-length biography of her father, published shortly before his death, was critically acclaimed. On April 21, 1956, Truman married Clifton Daniel, a reporter for The New York Times.

World Series – The 1956 World Series of Major League Baseball was played between the New York Yankees and the defending champion Brooklyn Dodgers during October 1956. The Series was a rematch of the 1955 World Series. NY took the series 4-3. It was the last all-New York City Series until 44 years later in 2000; the Dodgers and the New York Giants moved to California after the 1957 season. This was the last World Series to date not to have scheduled off days.

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