Sunday, May 07, 2006

Life Drawing Sunday V: J. Norman Lynd

October 27, 1927

J. Norman Lynd (1878-1943) was a staff artist on the New York Herald from 1907 until it merged with the Tribune in 1924. Publisher Frank Munsey, pulp magazine pioneer and great merger and destroyer of newspapers, fired Lynd immediately upon purchasing the Herald. It is believed not only that a caricature Lynd had done of Munsey two years earlier was the cause of his termination, but that firing Lynd was reason he bought the Herald in the first place.*

December 9, 1926

In 1927 Lynd took over the Sunday feature "Vignettes of Life" from Frank Godwin and worked it until 1938, when he created a similar feature called "Family Portraits" for King Features.

Rick Marschall wrote of Lynd's work in The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons:
J. Norman Lynd had one of the most handsome pen lines in cartooning. In his mature work he managed to retain the disciplined crooshatch technique of the early years while infusing an arresting verve both to characters and compositions. His style zeroed in on personality so well that readers were able to recognize character types - a prerequisite for the type of feature Lynd drew.

February 23, 1928

February 9, 1928

Judge, May 30, 1925

February 15, 1923

March 25, 1925

October 26, 1922

May 3, 1923

March 25, 1925

November 10, 1927

*Munsey died the following year and was not remembered fondly. "I am glad Munsey is dead and I hope he is in hell!" said H.L. Mencken. William Allen White of the Emporia (Ks.) Gazette wrote, "“Frank Munsey, the great publisher is dead. Frank Munsey contributed to the journalism of his day the talent of a meat packer, the morals of a money changer and the manners of an undertaker. He and his kind have about succeeded in transforming a once noble profession into an 8 percent security. May he rest in trust!” White was far less kind to Mencken himself:
With a pig’s eyes that never look up, with a pig’s snout that loves muck, with a pig’s brain that knows only the sty, and a pig’s squeal that cries only when he is hurt, he sometimes opens his pig’s mouth, fanged and ugly, and lets out the voice of God – railing at the whitewash that covers the manure about his habitat.

Citations from a speech by Portland Gartner, delivered to the National Conference of Editorial Writers, September 16, 2005.

Percy Crosby, June 28, 1923


Anonymous said...

GOD BLESS YOU!!! I have been a huge fan of J. Norman Lynd, but nobody seems to know anything about his careet. I know he was beloved by Charles Dana Gibson who wrote the forward to VIGNETTES OF LIFE, a series of cartoons from the l920s, but while you can get his work--nobody knows the circumstances of his death, or the year of his death. Gibson, in this forward practically hands him the banner (and his work does resemble Gibsons. What is eerie is that I have almost 12 bound volumes of Muncey's Magazine from the early 1900s and it was while researching Muncey (who everyone seems to have forgotton) that I thought, oh, what the hell, try J. Norman Lynd! What a coincidence. I definitely will be following your blog and thank you for the effort and research. I would like to think that Lynd did not die in poverty and went out like the superb cartoonist he was.

thank you

Anonymous said...

Transcript of Charles Dana Gibson's forward to Vignettes of Life by J. Norman Lynd copyright 1930 by The Reilley & Lee Co.

700 Acre Island
Dark Harbor, Maine

My Dear Lynd:

I was very much flattered by your good letter and appreciate very uch the compliment you pay me--wanting me to say a few words at the beginning of your book. Your many admirers won't welcome any ineterruption by me, but I can't resist the opportunity your kind invitation gives me to say in public that I have long admired your sure technique and humorous and healthy-minded outlook on human nature.

It's an important occasion, your bringing your work together, and it will not only afford first class entertainment but will be a valuable book for students.

You have been true to pen and ink all these years and have developed a style all your own. I have watched it develop with much interest. And I am sure these fine drawings will gain by being brought together.

I want to congratulate you, the publishers and the public.

With all good wishes,


Charles Dana Gibson

Greg Leck said...

J. Norman Lynd was certainly active beyond 1938. I first came across his drawings for "Vignettes of Life" while reading old issues of the North-China Herald" dating back to the mid 1930s, and continuing right up to the end of 1941. I wonder if he put his talents to use for the war. As the North-China Daily News ceased publication after Pearl Harbor, my supply of Lynd cartoons stopped there.

His work is a wonderful record of the social practices and technology of a now vanished world, remembered now only by our most senior citizens.

Joe said...

Hello. Thanks so much for this wonderful info on J. Norman Lynd. I'd like to know more about him. Any suggestions on where I might look? Where did you find your background info on him? Thanks for any help.


micheal said...

GOD BLESS YOU!!! I have been a huge fan of J. Norman Lynd, but nobody seems to know anything about his careet. I know he was beloved by Charles Dana Gibson who wrote the forward to VIGNETTES OF LIFE, a series of cartoons from the l920s, bTampa Immigration Lawyervvs søborg