Helen Elna Hokinson
(June 29, 1893 – November 1, 1949) was an American cartoonist
and a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker
. Over a 20-year span, she contributed 68 covers and more than 1,800 cartoons to The New Yorker
In 1920, Hokinson moved to New York City
to work as a fashion illustrator and study at the School of Fine and Applied Arts (now Parsons School of Design
Encouraged by an instructor she began submitting comic drawings to magazines, and became one of the first cartoonists to be published in The New Yorker
, appearing in the magazine for the first time in the July 4, 1925 issue.
She specialized in wealthy, plump, and ditsy society women and their foibles, referring to them as 'My Best Girls', those dowager
denizens of woman's clubs, beauty parlors, art galleries, summer resorts and Lane Bryant
; they were also popularly known as “Hokinson Women”.
According to James Thurber
and Brendan Gill
, Hokinson relied on the magazine's staff writers to provide captions for her cartoons, a common practice at The New Yorker
in the Harold Ross
era, until entering into a professional partnership with James Reid Parker in 1931.
Hokinson and Parker also provided a monthly cartoon, "The Dear Man," for the Ladies' Home Journal
as well as occasional cartoons for advertising campaigns and other magazines.