Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A few Alan Dunn architectural cartoons from 'The Last Lath' (circa 1937 - 1947)

Boy howdy, short of having someone explain why a joke is funny, there's nothing more entertaining than heavily dated old magazine cartoons in need of contextual footnotes...

Fortunately (or hopefully), the esoteric charm of this batch of panels may transcend their bygone topicality.

Cartoonist Alan Dunn (1900 – 1974) may still hold the record as the New Yorker's most prolific illustrator, responsible for 1906 cartoons and 9 covers during his tenure there, from 1926 - 1973.

Capitalizing on his background in design, Dunn also contributed many cartoons to Architectural Record, beginning in 1936.

A collection of those cartoons, 'The Last Lath' was first published in 1947.
In addition to lampooning the modern design trends and technologies of the 1930s and '40s, much of the humor centers around the terminology used by contractors and architects of the day, as well as realities like WWII-era material shortages and the post-war
housing boom.

- - Oh, and they're cool, too.

Probably there are very similar gag cartoons around today, just with more up-to-date buzzwords...

For a bit more about Alan Dunn, see also:

- A brief bio about Dunn and his wife, fellow New Yorker cartoonist, Mary Petty.

- Other Alan Dunn book covers displayed at Christopher Wheeler's Cartoon(ist) Gallery.

(click on images to enlarge in a new window)


C. von Grumpy said...

Thank you for your blog, it is a gold mine. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays from France.

Unknown said...

great site... oh the memories.
happy new year!

Andrew Christopher said...

This is just brilliant. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

"And I want it wrapped as a gift." snick snicker snicker - I find this one too funny (and I'm female.) LM

Fat Toro said...

What a blog!!! Congratulations!!!

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