Hands, from “Murder in Mesopotamia” (1935, Part 5)


Hands, from “Murder in Mesopotamia” (1935, Part 5)
by Frederic Rodrigo Gruger (1871-1953)
7 x 6 in., pencil on board
Coppola Collection

Saturday Evening Post
by Agatha Christie (12/7/1935; pp 28-29)

“Murder in Mesopotamia” (Agatha Christie ) was first published in a 6-part serialized form in The Saturday Evening Post (Nov.9-Dec.14 1935), and was illustrated by FR Gruger.

Gruger, a master of photorealism in pencil-strokes, contributed artwork to various magazines and for the works of more than 400 authors. In 1928, The Saturday Evening Post published a cartoon about Gruger, dressed as a knight in armor to defend the secret of his famous drawing technique.

He was one of the most highly regarded and prolific illustrators of the day. In 1939, Time proclaimed him “the dean of U.S. magazine illustrators.” Norman Rockwell looked up to him as “one of our greatest illustrators.” His work appeared everywhere — he created an astonishing 6,000 illustrations between 1898 and 1943, but his true home was with the Post, for which he did thousands of illustrations.  The same Time article stated, “After 1899 when George Horace Lorimer became editor of The Saturday Evening Post, Gruger became the mainstay of that magazine. The Post’s romantic and period fiction…got half its atmosphere from Gruger’s old fashioned, deep-browed men and frail but credulous women.”

Surprisingly, his technique was just drawing with a pencil on cheap cardboard. When Gruger first began working on the staff of a newspaper, he learned to draw on flimsy cardboard called “railroad blank.” The newspapers kept stacks of railroad blank lying around for anyone to use as a backing for photos. The cardboard was so cheap, nobody cared how much Gruger borrowed to practice his drawing. He experimented with smearing and erasing the carbon pencil to achieve special effects that no one else had achieved. Pretty soon, he became a virtuoso of pencil and cardboard. Railroad blank was renamed “Gruger board” in recognition of the astonishing work that Gruger was able to perform on it.

Distraught Man


Distraught Man
by Frederic Rodrigo Gruger (1871-1953)
5 x 4 in., pencil on board
Coppola Collection

A sketch obtained from the Gruger Estate (stamped on back).

Gruger, a master of photorealism in pencil-strokes, contributed artwork to various magazines and for the works of more than 400 authors. In 1928, The Saturday Evening Post published a cartoon about Gruger, dressed as a knight in armor to defend the secret of his famous drawing technique.

He was one of the most highly regarded and prolific illustrators of the day. In 1939, Time proclaimed him “the dean of U.S. magazine illustrators.” Norman Rockwell looked up to him as “one of our greatest illustrators.” His work appeared everywhere — he created an astonishing 6,000 illustrations between 1898 and 1943, but his true home was with the Post, for which he did thousands of illustrations.  The same Time article stated, “After 1899 when George Horace Lorimer became editor of The Saturday Evening Post, Gruger became the mainstay of that magazine. The Post’s romantic and period fiction…got half its atmosphere from Gruger’s old fashioned, deep-browed men and frail but credulous women.”

Surprisingly, his technique was just drawing with a pencil on cheap cardboard. When Gruger first began working on the staff of a newspaper, he learned to draw on flimsy cardboard called “railroad blank.” The newspapers kept stacks of railroad blank lying around for anyone to use as a backing for photos. The cardboard was so cheap, nobody cared how much Gruger borrowed to practice his drawing. He experimented with smearing and erasing the carbon pencil to achieve special effects that no one else had achieved. Pretty soon, he became a virtuoso of pencil and cardboard. Railroad blank was renamed “Gruger board” in recognition of the astonishing work that Gruger was able to perform on it.

“Cash Only” (1880s)


“Cash Only” (1880s)
by Samuel D Ehrhart (1862-1937)
6 x 5 in, ink on heavy board
Coppola Collection

American cartoonist and illustrator born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Ehrhart received his education in the New York City school system. Subsequently, he studied art in Munich. His work appeared in Harper’s Monthly (1878-79), Puck (1880, and 1888-1913), and Judge (1887). In 1920 and 1930 he reported his profession as artist and his birthplace as Pennsylvania to the Brooklyn, New York census-taker. He died in Brooklyn, New York on October 26, 1937.

“November Girls” (Among Us Mortals, 11/21/1954)


“November Girls” (Among Us Mortals, 11/21/1954)
by W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962)
18.5 x 15 in., ink on board
Coppola Collection

W.E. (William Ely) Hill (1887-1962) was known for his masterful black and white Sunday page, “Among Us Mortals,” sometimes referred to as the Hill Page. Please see the Gallery description for more about Hill.

From this November 21, 1954 edition, titled “November Girls” some quotes:

“The prep school boys, home for Thanksgiving, are on hand for the stag line, thus making glad the November debs, who were worried over dancing partner shortage.”

“The bride-to-be. Mr. and Mrs. Soandso announce the engagement of their daughter Ernadine to Mr. Elihu Swat, etc. Miss Ernadine is a graduate of Miss Gussie Childress’ school for sub-wayward young ladies, and a provisional Junior League member.”

“Photo Gallery” (1880s)


“Photo Gallery” (1880s)
by Samuel D Ehrhart (1862-1937)
5 x 7 in, ink on heavy board
Coppola Collection

American cartoonist and illustrator born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Ehrhart received his education in the New York City school system. Subsequently, he studied art in Munich. His work appeared in Harper’s Monthly (1878-79), Puck (1880, and 1888-1913), and Judge (1887). In 1920 and 1930 he reported his profession as artist and his birthplace as Pennsylvania to the Brooklyn, New York census-taker. He died in Brooklyn, New York on October 26, 1937.

“Holiday Scenes” (1880s)


“Holiday Scenes” (1880s)
by Samuel D Ehrhart (1862-1937)
4 x 8 in, ink on heavy board
Coppola Collection

American cartoonist and illustrator born in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Ehrhart received his education in the New York City school system. Subsequently, he studied art in Munich. His work appeared in Harper’s Monthly (1878-79), Puck (1880, and 1888-1913), and Judge (1887). In 1920 and 1930 he reported his profession as artist and his birthplace as Pennsylvania to the Brooklyn, New York census-taker. He died in Brooklyn, New York on October 26, 1937.

“It won’t do you any good to talk…” (March, 1909)


“It won’t do you any good to talk…” (March, 1909)
by F C Yohn (1875-1933)
18 x 24 in., ink, wash, and gouache on board
Coppola Collection

An illustration from the story “The Third Generation” by Elsie Singmaster, published in Scribner’s  Magazine, vol 45, p 337, March 1909. Illustrated by FC Yohn.

A renowned painter of historical themes, Frederick Coffay “FC” Yohn’s illustration work appeared regularly, in the early 1900s, in publications including Scribner’s Magazine, McClure’s, Harper’s Magazine, and Collier’s Weekly.

Illustrations such as this one were common in his work between 1910-1920, with examples in all of these magazines. This example is not marked for time or place.

Yohn is noted for his strong sense of anatomy, detail, and spatial composition.

“It won’t do you any good to talk, not if you talk a hundred years.”

 

Vases, from “Murder in Mesopotamia” (1935, Part 6)


Vases, from “Murder in Mesopotamia” (1935, Part 6)
by Frederic Rodrigo Gruger (1871-1953)
4 x 6 in., pencil on board
Coppola Collection

Saturday Evening Post
by Agatha Christie (12/14/1935; p 29)

“Murder in Mesopotamia” (Agatha Christie ) was first published in a 6-part serialized form in The Saturday Evening Post (Nov.9-Dec.14 1935), and was illustrated by FR Gruger.

Gruger, a master of photorealism in pencil-strokes, contributed artwork to various magazines and for the works of more than 400 authors. In 1928, The Saturday Evening Post published a cartoon about Gruger, dressed as a knight in armor to defend the secret of his famous drawing technique.

He was one of the most highly regarded and prolific illustrators of the day. In 1939, Time proclaimed him “the dean of U.S. magazine illustrators.” Norman Rockwell looked up to him as “one of our greatest illustrators.” His work appeared everywhere — he created an astonishing 6,000 illustrations between 1898 and 1943, but his true home was with the Post, for which he did thousands of illustrations.  The same Time article stated, “After 1899 when George Horace Lorimer became editor of The Saturday Evening Post, Gruger became the mainstay of that magazine. The Post’s romantic and period fiction…got half its atmosphere from Gruger’s old fashioned, deep-browed men and frail but credulous women.”

Surprisingly, his technique was just drawing with a pencil on cheap cardboard. When Gruger first began working on the staff of a newspaper, he learned to draw on flimsy cardboard called “railroad blank.” The newspapers kept stacks of railroad blank lying around for anyone to use as a backing for photos. The cardboard was so cheap, nobody cared how much Gruger borrowed to practice his drawing. He experimented with smearing and erasing the carbon pencil to achieve special effects that no one else had achieved. Pretty soon, he became a virtuoso of pencil and cardboard. Railroad blank was renamed “Gruger board” in recognition of the astonishing work that Gruger was able to perform on it.

“Zap!” (April 29, 1984)


“Zap!” (April 29, 1984)
by Charles Phillip Bissell (1926 -)
10 x 15, ink and wash on board with color overlays
Coppola Collection

In 1960, Boston Globe cartoonist Phil Bissell, working for $25 a day, was handed an assignment that would change his life—and the lives of fans of the brand-new AFL football team coming to Boston. “Sports editor Jerry Nason came to me and he said, ‘They’ve decided to call the team the Boston Patriots. You better have a cartoon ready for tomorrow’s edition.’” Bissel’s “Pat Patriot” cartoon was the Patriot’s logo from 1961-1992.

The Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) was a proposed missile defense system intended to protect the United States from attack by ballistic strategic nuclear weapons (intercontinental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles). The concept was first announced publicly by President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983.

The Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO) was established in April, 1984. James Abrahamson, a NASA Administrator, was appointed as the first SDIO Director on April 15.

Now we have a “Space Force.”

“Ladies Day” (July 15, 1952)


“Ladies Day” (July 15, 1952)
by Burris A. Jenkins, Jr. (1897-1966)
14 x 20, ink and wash 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.

The concept of a “Ladies Day” at traditionally male dominated events, particularly sporting events, was widespread in the post-WW2 era, as the rise in numbers of women as independent consumers grew.

From the 1920s through the 1950s, older women were members of a generation that still sometimes associated the prerogative of voting with male citizenship. Prior to 1920, anti-suffrage groups had drawn both men and women to their ranks in an effort to “protect the home.” Thus, it is not surprising that (especially) some older women did not choose to vote once the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.

Women were slow to use their new voting privilege. This is typical of any newly enfranchised group.

Of the 1952 election, Louis Harris commented: “It raises the real possibility that in the future there will be a ‘woman’s vote’ quite separate from the men’s”

The Eisenhower campaign was one of the first presidential campaigns to make a major, concerted effort to win the female vote. Many of his radio and television commercials discussed topics such as education, inflation, ending the war in Korea, and other issues that were thought to appeal to women. The Eisenhower campaign made extensive use of female campaign workers. These workers made phone calls to likely Eisenhower voters, distributed “Ike” buttons and leaflets, and threw parties to build support for the GOP ticket in their neighborhoods. On election day, Eisenhower won a solid majority of the female vote.

Eisenhower campaigned by attacking “Korea, Communism, and Corruption”—that is, what the Republicans regarded as the failures of the outgoing Truman administration to deal with these issues.

Here, following the Republican Convention of 1952, a emerging notion of “Ladies Day” in a voting bloc, even if the oh-so-stereotypical “uprising housewife,” angry with men and going after them with her rolling pin, is still the prevailing image.