April 29 - Happy Birthday, Mary Petty

Posted on April 29, 2018

Satirical cartoons poking fun at the richest New York City families...

AND...affectionate cartoons about one particular - but fictional - NYC family.

The Peabody's maid, Fay,
was featured in many of
Petty's cartoons.
Mary Petty somehow managed to draw cartoons that were affectionate and satirical, at the same time. She gave the name Peabody to the fictional family she portrayed many times.

Born in New York City on this date in 1899, Mary Petty didn't study art, but instead taught herself to draw. Her parents were a law professor and a school teacher. 

Petty met Alan Dunn, a New Yorker magazine cartoonist, in 1925, and he encouraged her to submit her drawings to the magazine. Around the same time as her first illustration was published, Petty and Dunn were married. I'm not sure how Dunn's career went, but Petty created illustrations and cartoons to the New Yorker for 39 years - 273 illustrations and 38 covers! So...wow!

Pretty good for an untrained artist, eh?

Apparently Petty was a bit of an enigma to even the other people at the New Yorker. For years nobody even saw her - even though she was regularly submitting illustrations - and even when she did begin to go into the offices, she still didn't get to know others much. 

I guess she let her artwork speak for her.

Also on this date:

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