The New Yorker had two great cartoonists with the last name of Day. One was Chon Day (who has already been featured here, as Case in Point No. 2), and the other was today’s case in point, Robert Day.
I found very little biographical information on him, but here it is: Robert James Day was born in California in 1900. He lived and worked from his home in Rockville Centre, Long Island, NY for many years, and he died in Arkansas in 1985. He studied at the Otis Art Institute, in California, while working in the art department of the Los Angeles Times, from 1919 to 1927. In the early 1930’s, he was on the staff of the New York Herald Tribune. Physically, he was an imposing figure, standing 6 feet, 6 inches tall.
He published a hardcover album of his cartoons in 1945, “All Out for the Sack Race!”. Over the years, he also illustrated many books, including Arthur Godfrey’s “Stories I Like to Tell” and Leo Rosten’s “Rome Wasn’t Burned in a Day”.
The New Yorker published more than 1,800 Robert Day cartoons. The first one appeared in September, 1931 and the last one in May, 1976. The magazine also published eight covers drawn by him.
In addition to being featured in The New Yorker, Robert Day’s cartoons also appeared in other prestigious publications. Since the premise of this series is “we all have to start somewhere” (to indicate how a cartoonist’s style develops and changes over the years), I’ve tried to uncover some of his early drawings. But I have to confess that even in the oldest drawings that I found, such as the first one posted, from an old Life Magazine, the distinctive Robert Day style is still evident. With that in mind, I’ve gathered together some other early and some not-so-early cartoons. The second cartoon posted below, from The New Yorker in the early 1930’s, is certainly unique in that it is signed “R.J.D.”, rather than the familiar “Robt Day”. You can see many more of Robert Day’s New Yorker cartoons online, at The New Yorker’s Cartoon Bank site.
Following the R.J.D. cartoon are cartoons from This Week, a former Sunday newspaper supplement. These were taken from the hardcover collection, “What’s Funny About That?”, published by E. P. Dutton in New York in 1954. So all of the cartoons from This Week date from before 1954. The Cartoon Editor of This Week, by the way, was cartoonist Ralph Stein (no relation).
Following This Week are some cartoons from True Magazine. These were taken from the hardcover collection, “The True Album of Cartoons”, published by Crown in New York in 1960. So all of the True cartoons are pre-1960. I’m also very proud to have a couple of my own cartoons in that True collection.
And finally, I’m posting a seldom-seen photograph of Robert Day. It was also taken from the This Week book, and I assume it dates from 1953 or 1954.
Early, undated cartoon from old Life Magazine:
Cartoon from The New Yorker, early 1930’s:
Cartoons from This Week Magazine:
Cartoons from True Magazine: