Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Syd Hoff in College Humor, July 1936

Syd Hoff had no fewer than five cartoons published in the July 1936 issue of College Humor. Two of them involve a butler which most Depression-Era college students probably didn't have much experience with. Two involve a couple kissing and petting in a car, which most college students either knew a lot about or pretended they did. But the first and maybe the most memorable of the cartoons involves an unwelcome and unconventional intruder.

"Papa—I think there's a burglar in the house!"
Syd Hoff
College Humor, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1936, page 36

"Throw him out!"
Syd Hoff
College Humor, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1936, page 39

"Don't rush yourselves—I got all night."
Syd Hoff
College Humor, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1936, page 40

"Mind if I try to pick up somebody for myself?"
Syd Hoff
College Humor, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1936, page 43

"Now eat that spinach before I get real mad!"
Syd Hoff
College Humor, Vol. 2, No. 2, July 1936
page 48

With this last cartoon, one wonders whether Hoff was thinking of Carl Rose's famous spinach cartoon from The New Yorker in 1928, with a caption penned by E. B. White:
"It's broccoli, dear."
"I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it."
Carl Rose
The New Yorker, December 8, 1928, page 27

Note:  It was back in the spring of 2016 in the Butler Library that I photographed this five-bagger by Syd Hoff in a copy of the July 1936 number of College Humor. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to look at more than 99 percent of the 5,600 periodicals now housed in the Steven Boss humor magazine collection. This invaluable collection is stored in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library of Columbia University and is accessible to the general public, even me. For information, contact Curator for Comics and Cartoons Karen Green and tell her you'd like to follow in my footsteps, albeit without the stomping about the library that I promised I wouldn't do anymore.

It should be clear by now that there's quite a treasure trove of work by Syd Hoff out there just waiting to be discovered, much of it hidden away in obscure places. Attempted Bloggery is eager to receive scans or photographs from readers of original art by Hoff as well as published gag cartoons, illustrations, advertisements, and whatnot, especially the whatnot. Finally, anyone who knows the whereabouts of Hoff's large Café Society mural, please give a holler.

External Links:

Syd Hoff, Cartoonist & Author

Syd Hoff's Wikipedia Entry

Syd Hoff on Ink Spill

Christopher Wheeler's Cartoon(ist) Gallery on Syd Hoff 

Syd Hoff in the collection of Syracuse University

Syd Hoff on Hairy Green Eyeball

Quick Links to the Attempted Bloggery Archives:

Syd Hoff

Attempted Bloggery supports net neutrality.



  1. The "spinach" cartoon reminds me of late-style Peter Arno. The upper-crust characters and setting, the bold straight lines, and even the abstract patterns on the wallpaper and drapes. Perhaps Arno was also a fan of Hoff. Can you imagine those two meeting?

    1. No. But I think Hoff was inspired by Arno right down to that walrus mustache.