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Crockett Johnson and Ruth KraussHow an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children's Literature$
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Philip Nel

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617036248

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617036248.001.0001

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Punching the Clock and Turning Left

Punching the Clock and Turning Left

(p.32) 4 Punching the Clock and Turning Left
Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss

Philip Nel

University Press of Mississippi

In the 1920s, David Johnson Leisk sought employment in New York City, first as an assistant art director in Macy’s advertising department. At the age of twenty-one, he became the first art editor of Aviation, which later changed its name to Aviation Week. While he was receiving an on-the-job education in layout and design, Dave began taking typography and graphic design classes at New York University’s School of Fine Arts. After his stint at McGraw-Hill, Dave turned left, joining the Book and Magazine Writers Union and reading Communist publications such as the Daily Worker and New Masses. He befriended others in the movement, including Charlotte Rosswaag, with whom he fell in love, as well as Mary Elting and her future husband, Franklin “Dank” Folsom. Dave began to contribute to New Masses, on which his first cartoon appeared in April 1934. He signed his first cartoons simply “Johnson,” and later “C. Johnson,” although New Masses nearly always printed his byline as “Crockett Johnson.” Dave Leisk had become radical cartoonist Crockett Johnson.

Keywords:   cartoons, David Johnson Leisk, New York City, Macy’s, Aviation Week, New York University, McGraw-Hill, Book and Magazine Writers Union, New Masses, Crockett Johnson

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