Women’s History month is wrapping up, but we at The Beat don’t feel we celebrated it properly, so for the next 24 hours most of the Beat staff is collaborating on “24 Hours of Women Cartoonists” to spotlight some of our favorite creators.
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First up:Helen E. Hokinson, a single panel cartoonist and illustrator from the mid 20th century — a period where the contribution of women to comics seems to have been mostly uncredited or in parallel fields such as picture books. The New Yorker of the period was not without female contributors, however, and among the most renowned was Hokinson (1893-1949) who contributed 68 covers and over 1,800 cartoons to The New Yorker. She was the definitive delineator of the stuffy Turtle Bay matron, a rarefied creature of habit and privilege. She was well known in her day producing half a dozen books of her own cartoons and illustrating many more. She died in a mid-air collision in 1949.
Hokinson’s reputation has perhaps suffered from reports that she illustrated staff captions rather than writing her own cartoons—a common practice at the time. There’s much more about her and other women cartoonists at The New Yorker in Liza Donnelly’s history book, Funny Ladies: The New Yorker’s Greatest Women Cartoonists And Their Cartoons