More than 1,000 original drawings donated by the family of Whitney Darrow Jr. '31
Cartoonist Whitney Darrow Jr. ’31’s humorous jabs at upper-middle-class life in The New Yorker, as well as his illustrations for children’s books and drawings for other writers, delighted many during his 60-year career. Now visitors to Princeton’s Graphic Arts Collection can join in the laughs.
Darrow’s family has donated more than 1,000 of his original drawings to the University, including 325 drawings from the cartoonist’s 50 years at The New Yorker, and 746 drawings from Darrow’s 18 books, among them Louise Armstrong’s A Child’s Guide to Freud, Art Linkletter’s Kids Sure Rite Funny! and Johnny Carson’s Happiness Is… a Dry Martini.
The gift adds to Princeton’s extensive collections in comic art, cartoons, and political satire, which include other original works by Darrow on the founding of Princeton University Press, featuring his father, Whitney Darrow ’1903, as well as fellow alumni Henry R. Martin ’48, Michael C. Witte ’66, and Henry E. Payne IV ’84.
“I’m thrilled to see students already making use of this wonderful resource,” said Julie Melby, graphic arts curator. “The drawings are windows into the social life and culture of the United States over five decades.”
Darrow was perhaps best known for his work in The New Yorker, which published more than 1,500 of his cartoons from 1933 to 1982. He often drew suburban couples, taken from his life experiences in Wilton, Connecticut, and wrote his own captions.
In a review of a 1978 Darrow exhibition at a Manhattan gallery, New York Times critic John Russell wrote: “Whitney Darrow has been one of the best cartoonists around for as long as anyone can remember. He is an environmental cartoonist, in that he goes on setting the scene in that misleadingly easygoing style of his until he is ready for a one-liner. And what a one-liner!”
As a Princeton student, Darrow wrote a humor column for the Daily Princetonian and was art editor of the Princeton Tiger humor magazine. After graduation, he studied with Thomas Hart Benton and others at the Art Students League and in his early 20s began selling cartoons to publications such as Judge, Life, and College Humor. In 1933, at the age of 24, he made his breakthrough at The New Yorker and remained a regular contributor. Darrow, who died in 1999, published four collections of his cartoons.
Adapted from The Princeton Weekly Bulletin