Saturday, August 15, 2009
William Gropper and a Semi- Secret History of Comics
I ran across the above at a flea market recently. Gropper sounded familiar, so I picked it up.
According to William Gropper Papers: An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University, Gropper was a leftist cartoonist, but he apparently had to make a living like everyone else and the library has a clippings file of:
New York American 1934, undated - includes Robert Benchley columns (2 folders)
I assume this drawing is for Benchley's column, but when Benchley's collection My Ten Years in a Quandry, and How They Grew came out, it was illustrated by the great Gluyas Williams. So my guess, and it's just a guess, is that nobody's really seen Gropper's illustrations for Benchley since they were done. In the book, one can find The Rule of 87, doubtless the work of fanatical reformers, is as follows: "One twin birth occurs to approximately 87 single births; one triplet to about 7,569 singles (87 squared); one quadruplet to about 658,503 singles (87 cubed); one quintuplet to about 57 million singles (87 to fourth power); one sextuplet to about five billion singles (87 to fifth power)". that's the rule. That's what we are supposed to abide by, whether we want to or not.
I'm sure modern fertility drugs have completely changed the rule.
This post benefited greatly from the help of Sara Duke of the Library of Congress. A search of the Library of Congress collections brings up 34 pieces by Gropper - to see them, go to http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html and type in "William Gropper".