Wednesday Spill: A Hokinson Catalog Of Interest
August 24, 2022
 
 
Looking over the Spill‘s Helen Hokinson shelf this morning I came across the “Polite Society” catalog from a 1985 exhibit at the Peoria, Illinois Lakeview Museum Of Arts and Sciences. Altho it’s only 33 pages, the catalog packs in a lot of information and cartoons, some of them previously unpublished. The catalog’s cover itself includes an unpublished drawing intended, as you can tell, for The New Yorker
Here’s another unpublished drawing:
I spent most of my time examining the catalog’s bibliography, and then — as happens so often when looking at bibliographies — headed off into researchville. I was hoping to read Dale Kramer’s Saturday Evening Post piece, “Those Hokinson Women” published in the issue of April 7, 1951 (Hokinson died in a plane crash, Nov 1, 1949). Eagle-eyed New Yorker aficionados will recall Dale Kramer as the author of Ross And The New Yorker, published the year of the SEP article (in other words, he knew his stuff). Alas, his Hokinson article is not available online, so I suppose it’s off to Ebay. Newsweek ran two articles the week of the plane crash (in the issue of Nov. 14, 1949): one on the crash itself, and the other titled “The Hokinson Girls” — it begins with a sort of eerie  description of Washington D.C. clubwomen assembled to hear Hokinson speak, only to be told she had died in the crash.
There are a few other sources in the bibliography I’ll need to track down. The Publisher’s Weekly obit, that ran November 12, 1949 is one. One previously unknown (unknown to me) source I managed to glimpse (online) was Stephen Leacock’s 1938 Humor And Humanity, but realized it was egg-heady material delving into the whys and hows of humor — exactly the sort of thing E.B. White famously equated with frog dissection, and exactly the sort of thing that causes my brain to go into sleep mode. 
More Hokinson… 
Here’s Ms. Hokinson’s A-Z Spill entry:
Helen Hokinson  Born, Illinois,1893; died, Washington, D.C., 1949. New Yorker work: 1925 -1949, with some work published posthumously. All of Hokinson’s collections are wonderful, but here are two favorites. Her first collection: So You’re Going To Buy A Book! (Minton, Balch & Co, 1931) and what was billed as “the final Hokinson collection”: The Hokinson Festival (Dutton & Co., 1956). According to a New Yorker document produced during Harold Ross’s editorship (1925-1951) rating their artists, Ms. Hokinson and Peter Arno occupied a special category unto themselves above all others.
 
…and more…
For more on Hokinson’s life and work, Liza Donnelly’s must-have Very Funny Ladies is the place to go. I believe there are more Hokinson entries in the book than any of her New Yorker cartoonist colleagues. 
 
 
…and just a little more …
The Spill is s-l-o-w-l-y collecting books illustrated by Ms. Hokinson. Here’s what we have so far:
 
 
 
 
CARTOONIST
CARTOONISTS
CARTOONS
DALE KRAMER
HELEN HOKINSON
LIZA DONNELLY
NEW YORKER CARTOON
NEW YORKER CARTOONISTS
NEWSWEEK
THE NEW YORKER

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Thurber Thursday: Website of Interest: The Thurber House
ONE COMMENT
David A Fay says:
August 25, 2022 at 5:21 pm
Thanks for the Hokinson information –
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