Helen E. Hokinson

Helen E. Hokinson

Helen Elna Hokinson (June 29, 1893 – November 1, 1949) was an American cartoonist and a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker. Over a 20-year span, she contributed 68 covers and more than 1,800 cartoons to The New Yorker.

She was born in Mendota, Illinois, the daughter of Adolph Hokinson, a farm machinery salesman, and Mary Hokinson, the daughter of Phineas Wilcox, the "Carpenter Orator". She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts (now known as the School of the Art Institute of Chicago), and worked as a freelance fashion illustrator in Chicago for department stores such as Marshall Fields.

In 1920, Hokinson moved to New York City and began her career as a cartoonist. She was one of the first cartoonists to be published in The New Yorker, appearing in the magazine for the first time in 1925. She specialized in wealthy, plump, and ditsy society women and their foibles, referring to them as 'My Best Girls', those dowager denizens of woman's clubs, beauty parlors, art galleries, summer resorts and Lane Bryant. According to James Thurber and Brendan Gill, Hokinson relied on the magazine's staff writers to provide captions for her cartoons, a common practice at The New Yorker in the Harold Ross era, until entering into a professional partnership with James Reid Parker in 1931. Hokinson and Parker also provided a monthly cartoon, "The Dear Man," for the Ladies' Home Journal as well as occasional cartoons for advertising campaigns and other magazines.

Hokinson died in the Eastern Airlines Flight 537 mid-air collision at Washington National Airport on November 1, 1949. She left dozens of cartoons, many of which were published by The New Yorker in subsequent months.

Read more about Helen E. Hokinson:  Books, Bibliography

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