Gardner Rea

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Gardner Rea (1894 – December 29, 1966) was an American cartoonist, and one of the original contributing artists to The New Yorker.[1] Of Rea, one commentator has written: “He was bawdy without being obscene, absurd without being obscure. His captioned and uncaptioned gags were pithy and true.”[2]

A native of Ironton, Ohio, Rea was born into an artistic family and planned to become a painter. When he was fifteen years old, he sold a gag cartoon to Life magazine.[1]

He attended East High School in Columbus, Ohio and Ohio State University, where he met and befriended James Thurber.[1] Rea played tennis in college and was the editor of the humor magazine, the Sundial,[1] which he had helped to found.[3]

From 1914, he worked as a freelance writer and artist in Manhattan, and contributed to Life and Judge magazines.[1] During World War I, he served in the Chemical Warfare Service.[1]

He began contributing not only drawings and covers but also gags to The New Yorker after it was founded in 1925.[1] Artists such as Charles Addams and Helen Hokinson drew cartoons based on gags written by Rea.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Gardner Rea Obituary". Brookhaven/South December 29, 1966. Archived from the original on November 24, 2009. Retrieved November 7, 2009. 
  2. ^ Steven Heller (September 24, 2009). "Rah Rah Rah for Gardner Rea". Print magazine. Retrieved November 7, 2009. 
  3. ^ Judith Yaross Lee, Defining New Yorker humor: Studies in popular culture (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2000), 377n.

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