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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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Crockett and the Red Crayon

Crockett and the Red Crayon

(p.43) 6 Crockett and the Red Crayon
Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss

Philip Nel

University Press of Mississippi

As a Communist publication, New Masses gave Crockett Johnson the opportunity to attack fascism. In a December 1934 cartoon, for example, Johnson likened fascism to a racket run by a gang of thugs. He even compared fascism to organized crime. In March 1936, Johnson redesigned Fight against War and Fascism, a radical monthly publication with close ties to the Communist Party. That same year, he joined New Masses as art editor. During his tenure, the magazine featured the work of the best cartoonists in the business, including Ad Reinhardt and Mischa Richter. Johnson’s cartoons for New Masses depict children with powerful imaginations, evincing an interest in what Julia Mickenberg has termed the “Pedagogy of the Popular Front,” a movement in progressive parenting designed to produce open-minded children unfettered by their parents’ prejudices. Later in the 1930s, Johnson began to warm to Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal program just as the Popular Front version of communism did. He and Charlotte Rosswaag also decided to divorce. Meanwhile, Ruth Krauss returned to New York.

Keywords:   fascism, New Masses, Crockett Johnson, Communist Party, Ad Reinhardt, Mischa Richter, cartoons, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Popular Front, communism

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