Friday, April 3, 2015

A Look at the New Yorker's Seventh Issue: April 4, 1925

Ilonka Karasz was making beautiful covers for The New Yorker within a few weeks of its founding, and she is making beautiful covers for The New Yorker today. For almost forty years I have been grateful to her and have felt her to be a part of all our lives on the magazine, and yet I haven't met her.
--Brendan Gill
Here at The New Yorker, Random House, 1975, page 209
The New Yorker's seventh issue brings with it Ilonka Karasz's first cover. It is printed in only three colors, but still it's so incredibly vibrant. It was reproduced in black and white with half-tones in Here at The New Yorker, which only hinted at how gorgeous it is. What a wonderful image of springtime in New York!
Ilonka Karasz, The New Yorker, April 4, 1925

Spring comes to the "Talk of the Town" section:
Reginald Marsh, Follow the Swallow Back Home
"The Talk of the Town"
Mention of Dubuque has become an inside joke for readers of the New Yorker. Editor Harold Ross, even when on a totally unrelated subject, goes out of his way to remind readers that his magazine is edited for sophisticated New Yorkers and not for "the old lady in Dubuque."
"The Talk of the Town"

Eldon Kelley, Rue da la Paix

Eldon Kelley, Rue da la Paix

Which way did he go?
Revolving Door Spot Drawing

All Dressed Up is a political cartoon by Miguel Covarrubias. The knight is New York's Democratic Mayor John F. Hylan. He is committed to defending the subway's popular nickel fare long after inflation has rendered such a low fare untenable for the companies that ran the subway. The City is constructing its own Independent line. Eventually the IRT and BMT will be driven out of business and the City will take over the private subway lines. The buffalo nickel will be replaced by the Jefferson nickel in 1938. The subway fare in 2015 will be $2.75.
Miguel Covarrubias, All Dressed Up

From 722 Miles: The Building of the Subways and How They Transformed New York, Clifton Hood, JHU Press, 2004:

The young magazine finds humor in its youth.

The padlocks are used to shutter speakeasies.

 Waiter!  There's a flapper in my drink!

So that's why Mosul is in Iraq. Decisions made in 1925 to support the British Empire have a profound impact on today's current events.

Portraits from "The Hour Glass." Can anyone identify the illustrator?

Can there possibly be a future for New Yorker cartoons?
Alfred Frueh, A Man, A Boil and A Subway

A "Profile" of a Marine Corps. captain is introduced by way of a Broadway play, "What Price Glory?" The magazine's coverage of the local theatre remains its strong suit.
"Profiles:  A Gentleman with Two Cauliflower Ears"
Illustration of Captain John H. Craige by Henry Major

The City's transformation by the automobile seems complete in 1925.
Spot Drawing

Short fiction:
Illustration by J. F.

"Story of Manhattankind" has been memorable only for Herb Roth's drawings and not for the writing.
Herb Roth, He Pointed Out Typical Bohemians

The New Yorker reports on a dinner for New York's Democratic Governor Al Smith held at the Friars Club. Presumably he was roasted. In 1928 he will become the first Catholic to run for President. He will lose to Herbert Hoover, who subsequently will be blamed for the Great Depression. Today there is an annual dinner held in his memory, a benefit for Catholic charities. In Presidential election years, candidates of both parties attend and give humorous addresses. In 2016, these candidates will be--but I'm afraid I'm getting ahead of myself again.

Take your pick.
Eldon Kelley, Spot Drawing
This week's theatre illustration by Ralph Barton:
Ralph Barton, "The Actor's Theatre's Third Knock-Out"
Bring Your Lunch and Remain in Your Seats to See "The Wild Duck"

From the informative "Goings On" section:

Irving Berlin is on Broadway. It happens that Alexander Woollcott's biography of Berlin is reviewed in this issue.

W. C. Fields has appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies since 1915. He's been in the moving pictures too.

Hint:  This flapper is not reading the Saturday Evening Post!

Quite the concert!

Last chance to hear him on a first-name basis. 

The Matisse show is reviewed in this issue:

The second Madison Square Garden is to be torn down soon to make way for the New York Life building on Madison Square. A new Garden will open later in 1925 away from Madison Square on 8th Avenue in midtown. In 1968, it will be replaced by the current Madison Square Garden atop Penn Station. It is possible that a new home for the Garden may be realized as early as 2023 when the current lease ends to make room for an expanded Penn Station.

Henry Major, Duolina Giannini

The New Yorker, just seven issues into its run, has some fun at the expense of the experienced conductor Walter Damrosch. Today Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center is named for him.

"We never tire of Matisse." Is the editorial we simply stating the obvious, or did one have to defend one's appreciation of Matisse and the Modernists back in 1925?

The cartoon by Donald McKee has one speaker, helpfully identified as "wife." I leave it to the discerning reader to decide whether spousal abuse is funnier than a boil on the neck.
Donald McKee, Wife:  I'm not angry, I'm only terribly hurt!

Herb Roth, who here drew the illustration accompanying "Story of Manhattankind," some years earlier drew a caricature of cartoonist Donald McKee. It was published in 1916 in the Green Book.

Herb Roth, A caricature of Donald McKee, 1916
Both artists would be associated with the New Yorker in 1925
The Green Book, May 1916
From the blog Stripper's Guide by Allan Holtz

Play juries were proposed to determine what would or would not be appropriate to present on stage. Joseph Pulitzer's New York World had championed the movement to clean up the theatre. The New Yorker was opposed to such censorship.
Lloyd B. Myers, The Play Jury

Illustrator Lloyd B. Myers is listed as an artist with the Salmagundi Club.
The Salmagundi Club Painting Exhibitions Records
1889 to 1939:
A Guide to the Annual Exhibition of Oil Paintings
The Annual Exhibition and Auction Sale of Pictures

by Alexander W. Katlan

He went on to become an art director for an advertising agency in San Francisco. He attempted to work with Edward Hopper c. 1939 and later he successfully recruited photographer Edward Steichen in 1940-1941.

The following is from Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography by Gail Levin, 1998:
Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography by Gail Levin, 1998

These short notes are from Real Fantasies: Edward Steichen's Advertising Photography, Notes to Illustrations page xx:
Edward Steichen's Advertising Photography

Reginald Marsh takes a not-very-nostalgic look back to the days of the horse-drawn carriage.
Reginald Marsh, Early Traffic Jam--the Disobedient Horse

It's hooch!
Gus Mager, A Gust of Wind on Mulberry Street

W. Heath Robinson gets it right!
W. Heath Robinson, The Artist Who Wanted It Right

The nineteenth century style of cartooning persists in Gilbert Wilkinson's first drawing for the magazine. It's a golf cartoon in dialogue format.
Gilbert Wilkinson, Visitor:  Who's the old boy going out?
Member:  He's had touch luck.  His wife ran away about a year ago. Then

he lost a ball in the rough and that seemed too much for him.

Abstractly speaking...
Spot drawing

The section "New York, Etc." presents light fare from New York and from around the country. The items for each region have a different author. Like Harold Ross, vaudeville and Broadway star Harpo Marx was a frequent visitor to the Algonquin Round Table. His brother, Julius H. Marx, contributed this short piece. You can call him Groucho.

The "Books" section raves about Alexander Woollcott's The Story of Irving Berlin. Woollcott is one of the editorial advisors to the New Yorker, but you won't see any mention of that here. Putnam has a full page ad for the book on the inside back cover.
From "Books"

Nigger Mike's was the informal name of the Pelham Cafe on Pell Street. Here's a 1926 press photo of the Chinatown establishment where Irving Berlin got his start as a singing waiter.
Press Photo

Back of Press Photo
There's some good information about Izzy Baline--Irving Berlin--and his early employment in Stephen Birmingham's "The Rest of Us":  The Rise of America's Eastern European Jews, 1984, page 184. This is well-written with the best usage we're likely to see of the word unlovelier.
"The Rest of Us": The Rise of America's Eastern European Jews, 1984

Once more, with feeling:

Do you know what has doctors concerned?
Nex-Mix Products, Inc.

The disappointing last word:

A year's subscription to the New Yorker costs $5.00, or six months for $2.50. Compare this with the price of the complete works of William Shakespeare.

Advertisement for Alexander Woollcott's The Story of Irving Berlin

Note: While you're at it, you really should take A Look at the New Yorker's Sixth Issue too. Who knows what you might find?

May I also suggest my posts about Ilonka Karasz?

Seasonal blog posts about Passover and Easter are available too, and none too soon.


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