Tuesday, February 26, 2013

David Pascal's Copy of The Art of The New Yorker

About four years ago I purchased a somewhat worn copy of Lee Lorenz's The Art of The New Yorker 1925-1995 on eBay. I already had a good, clean copy, of course, but this one boasted the signatures of five cartoonists and included two small ink drawings, both of faces, by Jack Ziegler and Roz Chast. So why not? My wife was already used to my frequent habit of purchasing multiple copies of the same book, and she'd pretty much given up on convincing me that this was not the most prudent course of behavior in a cramped city apartment.

Somewhat unusually, the book's original recipient appended his own recollection of the signing event in copious penciled notes dated September 15, 1995 on the back endpapers. I never had any inkling whose copy of the book this was, other than someone named David who had longstanding relationships with some of The New Yorker's cartoonists. In preparing this post, though, the personal nature of some of these reflections prompted me to do a little research and now I can reliably identify the book's original owner as cartoonist David Pascal (1918-2003), an occasional contributor to the magazine with a distinctively loose and flowing ink style who is himself not mentioned in this volume.

David Pascal recalls the signing: "There were very few cartoonists at this affair. I doubt if there was as many as twenty. 95% of the people there were unknown to me, + probably New Yorker employees." The inevitable conclusion, then, is that of the almost twenty cartoonists present, Pascal obtained signatures from five, plus one from the versatile George Plimpton among whose sundry careers was decidedly not that of cartoonist.

In additional notations, Mr. Pascal has penciled in the names of the five artists next to their signatures, even misspelling Mr. Ziegler's name. For good measure, apparently, he rewrote Lee Lorenz's inscription in capital letters, although he seems to have been stumped by the first word Let's.

As in let's have a look already:

Lee Lorenz, The Art of The New Yorker 1925 - 1995, Ex-Collection David Pascal

Greetings to David Pascal from Cartoonists Jack Ziegler, Ed Fisher, and Roz Chast

Title Page Greetings to David Pascal from Edward Sorel and Lee Lorenz with Pencil Annotations by the Recipient

Greetings from George Plimpton with a Drawing--of Sorts

Here's the text from the original 2009 eBay listing that brought this unique volume my way. There were a total of three bids.

From the Original eBay Listing, April 9, 2009
The eBay Winning Bid, April 9, 2009
The eBay Seller, April 9, 2009

Pascal's wife Teri is mentioned in his notes, and it is this biographical detail that allowed me to identify him as the book's original owner.
David Pascal's Biography from the National Cartoonist Society Website

Note:  There may have been as many as four-hundred people in attendance at this one signing event, although that number seems improbable to me. Whatever the true number, just think of all the interesting signed books that must be out there! If you should have such a book in your personal library, particularly one with a distinctive original drawing by a New Yorker artist, and if you'd like to share a couple of photos or scans of it here on this very blog, why, all you need to do is contact me. I just love looking at these things and so do my readers. What else would they be doing here?


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