When a friend sent us news that legendary New Yorker cartoonist George Booth had died, we realized that his work has provided joy, comfort, and uplift throughout our entire adult life.
In a single drawing, he managed to convey the wild complexity of ordinary lives through the simplest of details. Noted Robert D. McFadden in Booth’s New York Times’ obituary:
In a typical Booth cartoon, a lot happens at once. A stunned dog leaps three feet in the air. A shocked cat bounds for an open window, knocking a newspaper from the hands of a shaken man — all as his frumpy wife stands in a kitchen doorway with blackened eyes, announcing: “Eyeliner is back!”
We recognize ourself in the oddball people he depicted.
And always, his cartoons are embedded with a deeply life-affirming message. Bonnell Robinson, the curator of the 1993 Boston cartoon exhibition “Lines of the Times: 50 Years of Great American Cartoons,” described Booth’s work to the Times this way:
Booth cartoons express the will to continue in the face of disaster. His work is about hope in the midst of what looks like calamity.
Booth was incredibly prolific in his 50 years drawing for the New Yorker. For a trove of big joy, google “George Booth cartoons”, or scroll through the George Booth archive of Conde Nast’s online store.
Here are some of our favorites:
And this, the cartoon he sent to the New Yorker on 9/11. It was the only cartoon they published.
We have lived every one.
With thanks to Susan Dworski (again!)