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Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greatest Women Cartoonists And Their Cartoons Hardcover – October 3, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (October 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591023440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591023449
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,176,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Business, golf and kids have all got their own cartoon spotlights via The New Yorker, so why not women? Instead of a cartoon collection, however, this is an exhaustive survey of the history of the few women cartoonists at the august magazine. Donnelly, a cartoonist herself, got access to the New Yorker's vast library of correspondence, so the book is full of in-depth accounts of spats between cartoonists such as Helen Hokinson and Barbara Shermund and legendary editors Harold Ross and Wallace Shawn. The result is a bonanza for those looking for raw material to analyze society's changing attitudes toward women and humor as reflected in the most highbrow of magazines. Where it comes up short, ironically, is the cartoons themselves, which are scattered throughout the book without identifying captions. Donnelly does offer insights into the careers of the early pioneers as they try to find material that suits them. A 20-year gap (1951–1972)during which almost no new women were introduced to the magazine speaks for itself, but woman are better represented today with such stars as Roz Chast and Marisa Acocella Marchetto. As history, Funny Ladies is essential, but it can't match the eloquence of the cartoons. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Cartoons constitute one of the New Yorker's greatest selling points, with Charles Addams' paranormal world sometimes followed on the next page by Jules Feiffer's social commentary. Donnelly, a cartoonist for the magazine for more than 20 years, chronicles the female cartoon contributors from the Jazz Baby and Bathtub Gin days satirized by such cartoonists as Helen Hokinson and Helen Harvey to the present. She provides social context, biographies, and, above all, analysis and interpretation of these women's work and relationships with their editors. Previously unpublished material from the magazine's archives complements an entertaining text already replete with representative examples from its pages, such as Mary Petty's drawing of ultrasophisticates drinking as one woman gossips, "She's not going to divorce him quite yet. She thinks he has another book in him"; and Donnelly's own wry commentary on chic New York rooftop parties, "O.K., everybody. Let's eat before the food gets dirty." This coffee-table book including extra photos, bibliography, endnotes and a foreword by Feiffer should attract social historians, both pros and hobbyists, like flies. Whitney Scott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

"Liza often steps out from behind her drawing table to make this world not just a funnier place, but a better one too." Planet Green, 2010

"Donnelly's cartoons are the best kind of funny--sly, smart, and right on the money. [They] are great social commentary as well as great fun." Susan Orlean, 2010


Liza Donnelly is a contract cartoonist with The New Yorker Magazine. When she first began selling to The New Yorker in 1979, she was the youngest and one of only three cartoonists who were women. Her work has appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, The Nation and The Harvard Business Review, and her cartoons have been exhibited around the world. In 2005, she wrote Funny Ladies: The New Yorker's Greatest Women Cartoonists and Their Cartoons, a history of the women who drew cartoons for the magazine as well as the present women contributors. Other recent books are Sex and Sensibility: Ten Women Examine the Lunacy of Modern Love in 200 Cartoons and Cartoon Marriage: Adventures in Love and Matrimony with the New Yorker's Cartooning Couple (with Michael Maslin). Liza appeared, with her husband Michael Maslin, on CBS Sunday Morning, BetterTV and she has been profiled in numerous magazines and newspapers. Donnelly is a pubic speaker/lecturer and presents on topics such as women and humor, childrens' books and The New Yorker, and has given talks at the United Nations, Thurber House, and the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists annual convention, Vassar College, Bard College, Omega Institute, The Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art, The Norman Rockwell Museum and presented a talk at the first TEDWomen conference. She has been a guest panelist at the Cartoon Event of The New Yorker Festival several times.

Her cartoons can be seen on various websites: narrativemagazine.com, womensEnews.org, huffingtonpost.com, salon.com, dailybeast.com, and revolvingfloor.com, where she is the cartoon editor. She conceived of and is editor for World Ink, a site of international cartoons from contributors around the globe on dscriber.com. She is a charter member of an international project, Cartooning for Peace, helping to promote understanding around the world through humor. Her new book, "When Do They Serve The Wine? The Folly, Flexibility and Fun of Being a Woman", was just published by Chronicle Books. Recently, Liza received an International Award in France at the Salon International du Dessins de Presse for her work in cartooning. Her website is lizadonnelly.com and her blog is whendotheyservethewine.wordpress.com. Liza teaches part-time at Vassar College. and is a member of PEN, Authors Guild and the National Cartoonist Society. She and her husband, New Yorker cartoonist, Michael Maslin, live in New York.

"Liza often steps out from behind her drawing table to make this world not just a funnier place, but a better one too." Planet Green, 2010

"Donnelly's cartoons are the best kind of funny--sly, smart, and right on the money. [They] are great social commentary as well as great fun." Susan Orlean, 2010

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. Kelly Wagner on May 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is not a cartoon collection, it's a history - but it does include cartoons by every one of the cartoonists mentioned. It slightly before the founding of The New Yorker, with how the magazine came to be, and how Ross's independent wife (her name was Jane Grant, and she didn't change it when she got married) was an influence on what he expected the readership of the magazine to be, and who he would accept as writers and illustrators.

Some of the highlights: learning more about Helen Hokinson, much of whose stuff is still funny; the sad fate of Mary Petty. There was a little too much about Donnelly herself in there, but I guess I can understand the impulse. This really did bring out some of the developments in the glass ceiling for particular kinds of women artists.

When one thinks about WW2, and women filling jobs that used to be men's, one thinks of Rosie the Riveter - until I read this book, it had not occurred to me that women also filled the men's jobs as cartoonists at The New Yorker! The section on the war era includes some of the funniest cartoons.

Of course Roz Chast is included in here - quite possibly my favorite contemporary cartoonist. I greatly enjoyed the details about how she got into cartooning, and seeing how changes in her own stages of life have made it into her cartoons.

I think the book as a whole is the same sort of mix as the magazine - interesting articles, punctuated by cartoons. So if you like the magazine, you should enjoy the book!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. Foerst on February 5, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Love the book but the KINDLE edition is full of flaws: spelling errors, faulty paragraph alignment and - worst of all - no links to the footnotes whose numbering is also off. I would have loved to follow up on some of her sources but the notes are simply not there. This is my first bad experience with a KINDLE book, though...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By cartoonista on December 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Liza Donnelly has written a great book, a book I have been waiting for. I'm embarrassed to say it's been out a while and I've just discovered it... but Funny Ladies is well researched, well-written, funny and enlightening. The history of women cartoonists at the New Yorker follows the history of women in the 20th century, and reading this book is and eye-opener on both levels. I was thrilled to learn more about cartoonists I'd heard of and discover ones I had not. And learning more about the founders of the New Yorker, Harold Ross and Jane Grant, plus the role cartoon editors there have played over time, is enlightening.

A great book, great read, great find.

Thanks to the cartoonist/author. There are precious few of us, and I'm so happy you preserved this portion of our history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
FUNNY LADIES: THE NEW YORKER'S GREATEST WOMEN CARTOONISTS AND THEIR CARTOONS could easily have been featured in our 'Cartoons and Graphic Novels' section, but is reviewed here for its ability to appeal beyond the usual confines of the cartoonist fan's world. Over the decades a growing core of female artists has been creating New Yorker cartoons weekly: Liza Donnelly, herself a New Yorker cartoonist for over twenty years, provides a history of women's humor and its evolution, pairing an anthology of cartoons with a survey of the genre in a wonderful, vivid overview.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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