“For Defense”

“For Defense” (June 1941)
by Henry Boltinoff (1914-2001)
11 x 15 in., ink and wash on board
Coppola Collection

Born in New York City, he was in his teens when he started drawing pictures for the theatre section of The New York American, where his brother, Murray, was an assistant editor. He worked there from 1933 until the paper folded, in 1937. Then he freelanced for magazines, selling hundreds of cartoons to Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post, Ladies’ Home Journal etc. Two years after that, he called on Whitney Ellsworth, DC’s editor, whom he’d come to know while making the magazine rounds. His brother Murray ended up as a long-time editor at DC.

His most prominent creation for DC was “Dover & Clover” which debuted in More Fun Comics #94 (Nov. 1943). Dover & Clover ended in 1947, and the rest of Boltinoff’s longer work was gone soon after. But the fillers continued until the early 1970s.

The particular poster that these two guys are looking at was issued in 1941, during the first ‘defense bond’ campaign.

The first Series E bond was sold to President Franklin D. Roosevelt by Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau on May 1, 1941. These were marketed first as “Defense Bonds.” Then, in December 1941, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. declared war on Japan. And Germany declared war on the U.S. shortly thereafter, bringing the country into World War II.

This required a great deal of financing; about $281 billion was spent for the war effort between 1941 and 1945. The Series E bonds became known as “war bonds” after Pearl Harbor.

This is an early magazine contribution by Boltinoff, who is so widely known for his sharp cartoon lines. The back of the cartoon notes it as a “Defense Bond” depiction, and it appears that the cartoon was sold, with the proceeds going to the Art Students League Scholarship Fund.

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