“We All Have to Start Somewhere” Department. Case in Point No. 12

Reamer Keller, case in point number 12 in this ongoing feature, was a gag cartoonist who, frankly, I never really appreciated. His cartooning style absolutely rankled me and his gags usually left me cold. But he was a very popular and successful magazine gag cartoonist, with a huge fan base. Fellow cartoonist Mike Lynch, for instance, has often rhapsodized about Keller on his blog.

I couldn’t find much biographical data on Reamer Keller, and what I did find may or may not be accurate. I believe he was born in 1912 and died in 1988. Also he attended the University of Cincinnati and earned a degree from Ohio State University. He cartooned actively from about 1935 to about 1975 and his work appeared in all the major outlets, but, as far as I could tell, never in The New Yorker.

Now the point of this feature is that we all have to start somewhere. The old Keller cartoons that I’ve posted below are all from “The Good Humor Book”, an anthology published in 1944 by Harvest House. The book, which I’ve mentioned before, appears to be a low-paying catch-all collection. My thought is that the editor probably asked for and accepted stuff that had been rejected everywhere else. So there’s no telling when Keller actually drew these cartoons, except that it was before 1944.

His style at that time, in my opinion, runs a complete gamut and there’s very little resemblance to the Reamer Keller style of his prime years.

The last cartoon posted, in his familiar drawing style, is from The Wall Street Journal and dates from the 1960’s.

And finally, I’m posting a photo of Reamer Keller lifted from the September 30, 1955 issue of Collier’s magazine. It accompanied a brief article written by Jerome Beatty, Jr., Collier’s famed cartoon editor.









(The Wall Street Journal, 1960’s)

kellerphoto.jpgReamer Keller


  1. comment title
    I did not understand the Keller cartoon where the master is packing and the two servants are watching.

  2. comment title
    Yeah, it’s a little confusing. I guess the servants are deliriously happy thinking about the great time they’ll be having in his absence (note that they’re holding hands — possibly a little love affair going on?).

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Welcome to the Eli Stein Cartoon archive. To begin, read my introduction and personal notes, and then please look at the cartoons, which are categorized by either decade, publication name or topic. I’ve included some personal comments, memories and photos below many of the cartoons. I’ll be adding cartoons, memories and photos ad infinitum. Remember, your comments are appreciated (just click on the “comment” link at the bottom of each post).