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Christopher Wheeler | profile | all galleries >> Cartoon(ist) Gallery >> Helen Elna Hokinson tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Helen Elna Hokinson

Helen E. Hokinson (born June 29, 1893, Mendota, IL). Famed New Yorker cartoonist.

Daughter of Adolph and Mary Hokinson. Her father was a farm machinery salesman and her mother was the daughter of the well-known lecturer, Phineas Wilcox, known as the Carpenter Orator. Graduated from Mendota (Illinois) High School in 1913; two sketchbooks from her high school years are on display at the Hume-Carnegie Museum in Mendota.

Hokinson studied art in Chicago at the Academy of Fine Arts and began drawing fashion illustrations for department stores including Marshall Fields. From Chicago she went to New York where she continued her studies, did fashion illustrations and tried cartooning with a comic strip which failed.

The New Yorker was founded in 1925 and Helen submitted one of her drawings to the editors. She stopped back two weeks later and learned her drawing had been accepted. She was asked to continue sending drawings each week for possible publication. It is said that 1,700 Hokinson cartoons were printed.

In 1931, she met James Reid Parker with whom she formed a business relationship. She created the drawings and he wrote the captions. Together they did a monthly panel called "The Dear Man" for Ladies Home Journal.

She died on November 1, 1949, in a freak plane accident. A Bolivian fighter jet on a training mission collided with the commercial aircraft in which she was riding over Washington. She and all her fellow fliers perished in the Potomac River.

Helen Hokinson published several books of her own cartoons: So You're Going to Buy a Book in 1931, My Best Girls in 1941, and, in 1948, her last book: When Were You Built? Her estate published The Ladies, God Bless Them in 1950, There Are Ladies Present in 1952, and The Hokinson Festival in 1956.

For a superb biographical sketch by historian R. C. Harvey, see
Helen Hokinson
Helen Hokinson
So You're Going To Buy A Book! (1931) (signed and inscribed copies)
:: So You're Going To Buy A Book! (1931) (signed and inscribed copies) ::
Garden Clubs and Spades (1941) (illustrated by Hokinson) (signed)
:: Garden Clubs and Spades (1941) (illustrated by Hokinson) (signed) ::
My Best Girls (1945) (inscribed)
:: My Best Girls (1945) (inscribed) ::
When Were You Built? (1948) (Signed)
:: When Were You Built? (1948) (Signed) ::
Original cover art to When Were You Built?
Original cover art to "When Were You Built?"
The Ladies God Bless 'Em (1950) (H. T. Webster's personal copy)
:: The Ladies God Bless 'Em (1950) (H. T. Webster's personal copy) ::
There Are Ladies Present (1952) (Fairly Good Forged Signature)
:: There Are Ladies Present (1952) (Fairly Good Forged Signature) ::
The Hokinson Festival (1956)
The Hokinson Festival (1956)
Hokinson Christmas Card
Hokinson Christmas Card