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Exhibition Drawn to Purpose

Magazine Covers and Cartoons

In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, female illustrators and cartoonists published drawings in the pages and on the covers of illustrated American magazines. Eye-catching covers attracted readers and established a publication's visual identity as well as signaled the issue's content. Drawings by New Yorker cartoonists Helen Hokinson and Dorothy McKay highlight changing roles of women from the 1930s into the 1950s. Hokinson's genteel lady of the house imposes on her domestic servant. McKay's stylishly dressed secretary demands more respectful language in the work place. Some forty years earlier, Ethel Plummer portrayed modern female prototypes in her 1914 Vanity Fair cover as tall, slim, self-possessed young women sporting the latest fashions. The "New Yorkistan" cover for New Yorker magazine by Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz presents witty, imaginary place names coupled with clearly outlined districts within Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, cleverly sparking humorous connections with different ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic populations.

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