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.
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 Previously unpublished material from the magazine's archives complements an entertaining text already replete with representative examples from its pages, such as Mary Petty's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 ScottCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved