Traditionally, the fall and winter holidays are the time when we reach out to family and friends, often with a ubiquitous holiday card, sometimes enclosing new pictures of the family, or a letter trying to stuff in every notable thing anyone in the family has done since the last letter. When I was a kid, we taped the cards we received to a glass door in our living room, and we would try to guess how soon after Thanksgiving we would receive something from that one relative who always sent the first card of the season.
My dad was a graphic designer and had artist friends. Their holiday cards were always my favorites, and I could often guess who sent the card based on its creative style. Finding artists’ holiday cards in the DMA Archives always reminds me of that tradition, so I thought I would share a series of cards by cartoonist Jerry Doyle from the early 1930s.
Jerry Doyle (1898-1986) was the editorial cartoonist for the Philadelphia Record and Philadelphia Daily News, and was known for his political cartoons about the New Deal and World War II. And, if you are a cartoonist, you create holiday cartoons featuring your family.
You may wonder how the archives came to have holiday cards from a Philadelphia cartoonist. It’s a round-about tale, but makes sense in the end. Doyle sent the holiday greetings to Jack Nolan of Trenton, New Jersey. In 1936, Nolan was employed by Eastman Kodak and worked as a vendor at the Texas Centennial. He kept a scrapbook with ephemera from the Texas Centennial and the Great Lakes Exposition, as well as other traditional scrapbook fare like ticket stubs, invitations, identification cards, newspaper articles, and other small paper items, including the three holiday cards from Jerry Doyle. The archives acquired the scrapbook because of its Texas Centennial connection—the book itself even has a Centennial seal on the cover. I was happy to find that the scrapbook contained cool things that weren’t even related to the Centennial.
Hillary Bober is the Archivist at the DMA.