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Articles Written about Syd:
Also featured in Los Angeles & New York Times Crossword Puzzles

Syd Hoff's Cartoon Life
by Sarah Lazarovic
(reprinted from The Tablet Magazine, July 2012)


Launched in September of 2010, Beached covers a nascent phenomenon called Miami Culture. It features Miami’s best musicians and artists, and provides a platform for Miami creatives to communicate with the city.

Get witnesses! Miami cartoonist Syd Hoff at 100

By Dina Weinstein | July 16th, 2012

A new show at the Miami Beach Regional Library celebrates author, New Yorker cartoonist, and long-time Miami Beach resident Syd Hoff (1912-2004), best known for the kids’ books Danny and the Dinosaur (1958) and Sammy the Seal (1959). In what would have been his 100th year, Syd Hoff: Finding Home showcases Hoff’s life and work with photographic reproductions, text panels, and dozens of little known and out-of-print works from the curator’s collection, the Miami Dade Public Library Florida Author collection, and The University of Miami library.

A classically trained artist, Hoff explored belonging through underdog characters like Albert the Albatross, Julius the Gorilla, and Grizzwold the bear. The Bronx-born high school dropout cut his teeth as a gag cartoonist for The New Yorker, mainstream magazines, and King Features Syndicate.

Starting in The Depression, New Yorker editor Harold Ross told Hoff to “keep drawing those Bronx types.” Intimate and humorous scenes of outer borough immigrants and strivers were his specialty. Dozens of his cartoons take place in tenement kitchens, tease out family relationships, and take aim at single daughters and convict spouses. Hoff revealed his personal history by including his corpulent parents in just about every cartoon and storybook.

Around the same time as his start at The New Yorker, Hoff drew a biting cartoon series called “Ruling Clawss” under the pen-name A. Redfield for the leftist newspaper The Daily Worker as legions of unemployed Americans starved and demonstrated for better work conditions and pay. His focus was the absurdity of the one percent in light of the dramatic economic inequality. The Occupy movement has embraced many of these cartoons making the history fresh and strangely applicable to today’s political and economic climate.

Hoff’s early work portrays an ethnic, working-class, urban America. His made-in-Miami, post-war, Baby Boom juvenile books, like Danny, take place in more prosperous, suburban settings, much like Hoff’s Miami Beach neighborhood. Hoff’s HarperCollins editor Ursula Nordstrom considered him a genius for his skill producing “good books for bad children.” He was in good company, joining artists Maurice Sendak, Ezra Jack Keats, and Crockett Johnson.

Hoff’s stories, with their Lefty subtext, gave the 60s generation fuel to imagine, explore, and accept The Other. Syd Hoff: Finding Home brings us back to the authority-free appeal of “Danny”, who starts his adventure this way: “It would be nice to play with a dinosaur.”

Dina Weinstein curated ‘Syd Hoff: Finding Home’. The exhibition is on view through October 1, 2012, on the second floor of the Miami Beach Regional Library.


Mike Lynch Cartoons Tribute Syd Hoff

CARTOON CLASSICS FROM MEDICAL ECONOMICS, copyright 1963 by Medical Economics Book Division, Oradell, New Jersey.

Above: "I have it on good authority, Peebles, that your blood pressure is down and your ulcer is inactive. Am I to conclude that you no longer care about moving up in the firm?" A cartoon by Syd Hoff from the book CARTOON CLASSICS FROM MEDICAL ECONOMICS, copyright 1963 by Medical Economics Book Division, Oradell, New Jersey.

Cartoonist and children's book illustrator Syd Hoff (1912-2004) may no longer be with us, but his niece, inspirational speaker Carol Edmonston, has put together a Web page about him (with more to come) here.

Syd dropped in on the Berndt Toast Gang from time to time; enough for him to be considered a member of the Long Island Chapter of the National Cartoonists Society. Unfortunately, I didn't meet him. But Bill Seay, the Berndt Toast Chairman, was a friend of Syd's. Bill told me a story about Syd's very early cartooning career, back when he was a teenager. Like a lot of cartoonists, Syd was determined to be one and, like so many cartoonists, Syd's mother was dismayed at his prospects. Heck, the woman just wanted her son to have a normal life! But if he had done what his mother wanted, there would be no DANNY AND THE DINOSAUR, no 571 Hoff cartoons sold to The New Yorker!

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Dear Genius…the letters of Ursula Nordstrom, 1998
edited review by Rebecca Pepper Sinkler click here for full article

Ursula Nordstrom was arguably the greatest editor of American children's books in this century -- a Maxwell Perkins for the Tot Department, as she called her bailiwick at Harper & Row. From the evidence in this collection of her letters, not only did she change literature for young people, she changed the lives of many who created it.

For most of her career, she practiced her wizardry from an understaffed, wildly messy office in Harper's department of Books for Boys and Girls, where she arrived as a shy young assistant to the director in 1936.

Her contacts with her ''geniuses,'' as she often called her authors, continued even after she retired, as she did twice. (She was a senior vice president of Harper & Row until 1973, when she took ''early retirement'' to become editor of Ursula Nordstrom Books, her own imprint within the department. In 1980 she gave up that title as well.)

In retirement, Nordstrom considered assembling her letters, but died in 1988 of ovarian cancer, her project unfinished. Leonard S. Marcus, has done the job for her -- choosing, editing and annotating in a way that conveys her devotion to her friends and colleagues.

Kind and generous as she may have been, what she got paid for, of course, was to improve books. And in this respect her real genius glows from these letters. For an example of a brilliant editor at work, look no farther than her lengthy December 1957 letter to Syd Hoff, the New Yorker cartoonist and illustrator. Hoff had just submitted his first children's book, the now-classic ''Danny and the Dinosaur'' (1958). Working from a dummy of 64 pages, Nordstrom leads her new author sentence by sentence, complimenting, criticizing, suggesting, prodding, teaching. ''Pages 18 and 19 seem very resistible to me, Syd. The rest of the story is so reasonable, given the fact that a dinosaur came to life, but this stuff about pushing the cloud away with his nose doesn't quite come off, I'm afraid. The same for the wet cement episode on page 19.'' And again: ''I doubt that the children would have done anything so consciously adorable as 'join hands and form a ring.' Wouldn't they just jump up and down and shout 'Hurray hurray for the dinosaur'?'' God was in the details for Nordstrom, and she was merciless in pursuit of perfection.


Signing hoff
The Creator of Danny and the Dinosaur and
other Children’s Book Classics Asks “Where’s Prancer?”

by Michael Aushenker, Community Editor
 The Jewish Journal

If you have children or friend with children, chances are you have come across Syd Hoff, the author and illustrator who, over a 40 year stretch, has produced some of our most enduring children’s books.

One reason Hoff, 85, has been around for so long has to do with the antic quality of his drawing – pleasing, economical pen-and-ink illustrations textured with monochromatic color.  Another reason is, no doubt, related to the ideas and themes that his Jewish subconscious has projected into a plethora of whimsical adventures that reach out both to children and parent alike.  These colorful yarns usually follow certain Hoffian conventions – the displaced animal or human outcast, wandering through and alienating, if benign, society, looking for a friend, a home, or a way home.  Often times, the central character is shunned by the  people or animals of his new environment – politely informed that he is unwanted – until the insouciant misfit performs an act that endears him to society and leads to his acceptance and happiness.   Ultimately, Hoff’s books are thinly disguised celebrations of the individual triumphing over the conventional masses in devil-may-care fashion – finding love, purpose, and a place in the world.

In the case of “Stanley,” the story of a caveman kicked out of his clan for being too gentle, the book was published in 1962, at the height of “The Flintstones” prime-time popularity. But despite superficial similarities, Hoff most likely had another famous caveman in the back of his mind.  “I think I must’ve subconsciously observed the humor in “The Flintstones,” Hoff told the Journal.  “Prior to that, there was a comic strip with a caveman called “Alley Oop.” You try to subconsciously absorb something from everything (that you come across).”  In fact, Hoff has publicly credited his grandmother’s eccentricity for instilling in him his flair for fantasy and penchant for exotic animal characters.  After all, she owned a pet parrot and would routinely feed it blintzes, gefilte fish, matzo balls, and other homemade confections.

Born in the Bronx in 1912, Hoff grew up following the exploits of his favorite newspaper funnies. Strips like “Barney Google,” “Happy Hooligan” and cartoonists like Harry Hershfield and a sports cartoonist Thomas Alluewishes Dorgan (known by the initials T.A.D.), all had an impact on the young artist.

But Hoff’s first brush with his artistic destiny came when Milt Gross, a famous cartoonist best known for “Dave’s Delicatessen” and “Count Screwloose,” singled him out while visiting a Morris High School assembly.

Recalls Hoff, “We were friends for as long as he lived (until he died in the fifties).”

By his mid teens, Hoff began training at the prestigious National Academy of Design.  However by 1931, at the age of 18, Hoff gave up any pretensions of becoming a fine artist when he sold his first gag cartoon to The New Yorker.  He instantly detoured into a multi-decade stint supplying gag cartoons to the magazine, as well as other periodicals like Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, and Liberty.  According to Hoff, New Yorker founding editor Harold Ross – “a brilliant man” raised in Aspen, Colorado with decidedly conservative, Puritanical values –most likely hired him to reach Jewish readers.

“With Ross’s editing, my characters became more and more Jewish,” Hoff related to a Florida paper.  “Sometimes they would even change a caption to give it a real Jewish accent.  They had a Jewish jeweler saying, ‘It’s solid golt.’  This would never happen today.”

Hoff often drew upon his predominantly Jewish immigrant environment for inspiration.
“I was trying to be realistic, capturing the people that I lived among.  All my neighbors, all my friends, my parents.”

Within these exquisitely – rendered single-panel comics, Hoff quickly mastered the fine art of lampooning the tensions between the sexes and the classes in Urban American.  This was all before Hoff’s career took yet another direction in 1958 with the sale of Danny and the Dinosaur (the good-natured exploits of a boy who befriends a museum dinosaur) to Harper & Row (now HarperCollins).  Perhaps his seminal creation, “Danny” has its origin in a turbulent time in Hoff’s life, when his daughter, Susan, was convalescing following hip surgery.

“I drew a picture that I hoped would take her mind off her crutches,” he once wrote in an autobiographical sketch.  “…my conception of a prehistoric creature, with my brother as a boy, sitting on its back.”

Susan’s enthusiasm inspired Hoff that night to cultivate the project that would establish his name and his fortune in the children’s book industry.  Since then, the prolific Hoff has written and/or illustrated over 200 children’s books, all while maintaining a 20 year secondary career as a syndicated cartoonist, working well through the early 80’s on newspaper comics like Laugh it Off and Tuffy.  He also tours extensively across the country, visiting grade schools on what he calls “chalk talks.”

Since his wife of 57 years, Dora “Dutch” Berman passed away in 1994 following open-heart surgery, Hoff has picked up the pace on his production schedule, recently completing two sequels to his most well-known work, Danny and the Dinosaur.”  And while “Danny” may be Hoff’s called card (over 10 million copies sold to date), it certainly is not the author’s only classic –Julius (1959), Sammy the Seal (1959), Oliver (1960), Albert the Albatross (1961, and Grizzwold (1963) are just a few of his familiar titles.

Ask any gorilla, elephant, walrus, or bear, and they will most likely concur that of all the American Jews who have contributed to the advancement of the children’s book art form, Syd Hoff is the most American. For Dr. Seuss wore the crown as clown prince of surrealist verse, approaching Yiddish with his nonsensical cadences; Shel Silverstein lent a Talmudic wisdom to his gentle parables of life and longing; and when the Reys fled from Nazi-occupied France on a bicycle, the couple not only smuggled with them the manuscript for Curious George but also a European sensibility and sophistication that informed their work.

Syd Hoff’s work, on the other hand, has always conveyed a quintessential Americana of the 40’s and 50’s –clean, bold minimalism in text and art; cartoon idioms; whimsical characters set loose in generic cityscapes, populated by vaguely ethnic citizens and bulbous cars –all hallmarks of a tradition Hoff cultivated during his early years as a top-dollar gag cartoonist.  Despite the sketchier line and flatter colors prevalent in his most recent books, Hoff’s winning artwork has been amazingly consistent over the years –a stability and quality that has directly linked the children of the 60’s to the kids of the ‘90’s.

But those deep-sea diving for hidden meaning in Hoff’s fish-out-of-water themes will not extract them from the author.  Hoff is particularly elusive when the conversation turns to an analysis of his work.  Concludes Hoff, “I’m just trying to be amusing or entertaining.  Make the kids laugh.  That’s about all.”

Reprinted with permission: The Jewish Journal – December 26, 1997.   ( No part of this article may be reprinted without permission.

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From Tenement Dweller to Gag Cartoonist
The Early Work of Children’s Author Syd Hoff

by Dave Kiersh
Reprinted with permission from author.

 Back when cartoonists were celebrities, Syd Hoff was a star. Before television, that special brand of humor known as the gag cartoon had a unique place in the hearts of Americans who read such magazines as Esquire, The New Yorker, Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s and College Humor. Artists such as Peter Arno, John Held Jr., and Charles Addams were some of its champions. Today, Syd Hoff is most well known for his amazing output of well over 100 books for children, many of which still remain in print today. Yet even before his first children’s book was published, Hoff was a familiar name to many. Similar to other cartoonists turned children’s authors of the time like Dr. Seuss or Stan and Jan Berenstain, Hoff was a cartoonist who retained his recognizable style throughout his career. But his beginnings as a gag cartoonist and comic-strip artist, while they might not be as well remembered, are more than worth noting. In looking back at Hoff’s early work we can see how he came to bring a gag cartoonist’s sensibility to the world of easy reader children’s books.

Hoff’s bulbous nosed adults and sprouty kids portrayed New York tenement life with humor. Back in the 1930’s, cartoonists had niches. John Held Jr. was famous for his flappers. Peter Arno for his women. What made Syd Hoff’s bold line worth remembering were his characters based on the New York Jews with whom he grew up. The cast that he created from the 1930’s through the 1950’s reappear in some of his work for children but it is the adults who are more prevalent in his early work. An older married couple, quite possibly based on Hoff’s own parents, were reoccurring characters in his gag cartoons. The husband of the older married couple is often portrayed with a walrus like moustache, balding, and wearing an undershirt. The wife is often a large, overbearing, unattractive woman with a double chin. Even when drawn in a variety of different circumstances, these round, potato-nosed Bronx apartment dwellers are unique to Hoff. The fact that he created many of these early cartoons while living at home with his parents in NY, lend an ear to their authenticity.

In a typical watercolor embellished cartoon from the late 1930’s, the husband lies back in his easy chair looking through his window into the adjacent apartment. He is watching the drama from across the way as a man, not unlike himself, is being berated by his wife. As his own wife comes home and enters through the door, he scolds her with this remark, “The drama of life is under our noses, but you have to rush to the movies”. The apartment is bare and the general tone of unhappiness, although presented with humor, is characteristic of the depression years. In this particular cartoon, the act of looking through a tenement window and commenting on the scene as entertainment is not too far off from Hoff’s approach to his own cartooning.

Hoff was born in 1912, the second child to Benjamin, a cigar-smoking salesman, and his wife, Mary. He had a brother and sister, but Hoff was the only artist in the family. In his autobiography he recalls having an early affinity towards cartoons, copying newspaper comics like Harry Hierschfield’s “Abie Kabibble”.  At an early age, his drawings were proudly hammered up onto the apartment wall, a scene in which Hoff replicates in his 1972 book My Aunt Rosie. Finding early encouragement from cartoonist Milt Gross who visited Hoff’s High School by ways of a school assembly, Hoff was bound to become a cartoonist. From the beginning, he turned miserable situations into funny ideas and distinguished himself by way of drawing. Dropping out of high school, Hoff enrolled in the National Academy of Design, an art school located in Harlem, at the age of 16. Unsure of his own future as a fine artist and feeling off put by the snobby attitude of his bohemian classmates, Hoff worked occasionally as an usher at a Loew’s movie house. It was there that he began drawing caricatures of the actors. Not long after this, he got lucky selling cartoons to the New Yorker. Soon, they would be asking for more of his “Bronx types”.

Hoff’s simple style is instantly recognizable. Between 1941, and 1977 his illustrations appeared in hundreds of magazines and newspapers. Some of the most popular magazines of the time including The Saturday Evening Post, Esquire and The New Yorker frequently featured cartoons by Hoff. His first comic strip, Tuffy, appeared in more than 800 papers worldwide for ten years. A daily one-panel cartoon, Laugh It Off, was syndicated by Kings Features in 1958 and ran for nearly twenty years. Not only was he prolific, but he was quite the personality as well. In the early days of television, he had his own show on CBS. “Tales from Hoff” (1947) featured the cartoonist doing live drawings and telling stories that accompanied them as they were created. Because the stories were appropriate for children, this storytelling knack in a quick, easy to understand format, was a predecessor to his work for children.

While Hoff’s caricatures of immigrant adults portrayed the desperation of the depression years, the lighter side of poverty throughout the 1930’s and 40’s was best reflected in Hoff’s cartoons when he drew children. If the adults represent his own parents, the children were closer to Hoff’s own experiences and sentiments. Amusingly, Hoff often portrays his children as a lot wiser than their parents, more conniving and certainly more street smart. In one such cartoon, a disturbed child rushed into his father’s bathroom with a newspaper. He says, “Say pop, do you realize the average child spends approximately fifteen dollars a year on candy?” The father looks stupefied. In another typical cartoon from this period, two young boys on the street dressed up as cowboys are holding a smoking gun. A middle aged woman stands beside her husband on the ground, presumably dead. The woman looks surprised as the boys say, “Now will you stop saying how cute we are and pass over your dough.” Both of these cartoons show the typical drive that propelled youngsters during this time; to make money by your wits and not necessarily by your education.

A bit more carefree was Hoff’s younger set. Hoff drew unmarried young adults as tall beanpole like characters that also differed from his married adults because of their perkier noses. The cartoons which featured these types often dealt with dating and relationships. What may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with this aspect of Hoff’s work is that the humor of these gags often bordered on the sexual. This is something that Hoff left behind as he ventured towards his children’s book career. Filled with 1950’s workplace humor, these particular cartoons maintain a certain charm. An example of this is a gag in which a woman leaves the President of her company’s office and remarks to the secretary “I think I’ve been promoted.” In the cartoon we notice that her dress has been tussled with, leaving her brassiere exposed. This humor of sexual advances would not be PC today but it is common form in Hoff’s cartoons from this period. Cartoons dealing with young lovers, nurses and secretaries.

An amusing phenomenon of the late 1940’s and 1950’s that was a leftover from the war was the large amount of cartoons that sexualized the female nurse. Hoff contributed largely to this genre and even had a book that collected such cartoons entitled From Bed to Nurse (1963). As Hoff’s bald man with a moustache reclines in his bed, having his temperature taken, he stares in admiration at the young nurse’s cleavage as she bends over to remove the thermometer. Another man lay comfortably back in his bed with hands behind his head as the nurse talks on the telephone. He demands to change his night nurse. Tonight, he wants a blonde! Another even shows the man in bed with a nurse and an older, uglier nurse appearing angry as the young nurse says innocently, “He said his feet were cold!” Still, even with this suggested risqué nature of these cartoons, the drawings remain simple, bold and innocent; not quite Playboy material.

Hoff’s two newspaper cartoons were less adult in nature. These included the comic strip Tuffy and a one panel cartoon entitled Laugh It Off. Tuffy was an awkward, gawky looking child with a giant bowtie and rubbery legs that often spring backwards out of the panel. She was the child of Hoff’s tenement dwelling adults. Her adventures included vignettes where she wandered around the city, getting into antics, mostly trouble, with her friends. Again, the humor revolved around the poverty of the characters. For example, in one strip, Tuffy remarks to a boy “Why don’t you wash your face Tommy?” He replies, “Why should I?” Tuffy’s cheeky response shows wisdom beyond her years. “I suppose you’re smart in a way. With real estate prices the way they are, your face is your fortune.” Not exactly ground breaking stuff but Tuffy proved that Hoff certainly had a way of showing the language of tenement kids, often portraying them as smarter than their parents. Tuffy’s adventures were reprinted in comic book format in 1950 by Standard comics. The tagline reads: Tuffy, America’s Funniest Little Girl. On the cover of issue #8, Tuffy is shown going on strike holding her picket sign that reads “Unfair, Daddy won’t raise my allowance.” The stunned father looks up from his newspaper, surprised to notice that this indeed is his daughter. While Tuffy is charming and comparable in many ways to Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy or Marge’s Little Lulu it in some way lacks the depth of Hoff’s single page cartoons.

With Hoff’s simple artwork, the small panels utilized in the comic strip seem a bit too confined for his inner city world. With the larger panels in the magazine cartoons such characters were given more room to breathe, as there was more attention given to space. But the stage was set in order for Hoff to become one of the most beloved American children’s book authors of all time. When he would later take his storytelling ability and combine it with the composition of his early gag cartoons, he helped create a storytelling format for kids that has become commonplace today. Like fellow cartoonists Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Stan and Jane Berenstain, Hoff’s children’s books were revolutionary in that they brought whimsical cartooning to the format of easy reader books. In a sense, Hoff’s early books such as Danny and the Dinosaur or Herschel the Hero are gag cartoon comic books. It’s as if he is transplanting the gag cartoon format, making it sequential. These children’s books were different because each page could almost stand alone as a gag.

Hoff’s one panel newspaper strip, Laugh It off, often employed animals as devices for humor. One of Hoff’s most endearing books, Sammy the Seal (1959) continues in this direction. The pages in this book, if removed form the story are very similar to Hoff’s one panel cartoons. For example, on page 62, the caption underneath the picture reads “Sammy was in a hurry to get back to the zoo, he had so much to tell the other seals.” In the picture, Sammy is riding in the back of a taxi cab. While Hoff’s work for children is still acclaimed and read by kids today as many of the titles remain in print, it is interesting to go back and view his nearly forgotten work in order to see how this evolution took place. Many of the Laugh It Off strips were reprinted in Hoff’s excellent how-to book on cartooning, The Young Cartoonist (1983). Seeing these strips alongside his children’s book work, they appear almost like exerted pages from an unpublished children’s book. In 1985, Hoff revived Laugh It Off, with his book Syd Hoff’s Animal Jokes, a collection of individual gag cartoons aimed at children.

Hoff had over a hundred cartoon and children’s books published and it would be overwhelming to analyze all of these. One outstanding example where a definite transition seems to become apparent is Hoff’s book Out of Gas from 1954, which precedes his classic picture book Danny and the Dinosaur by 5 years. The book is interesting because while it is not essentially sequential storytelling, the book has a beginning and end and details the lives of a cast of characters; a family of four. It is not a children’s book but rather a collection of gag cartoons intended for adults. Still, very much like his children’s books there is one picture per page with a written caption below. Unlike Hoff’s earlier cartoon collections such as Oops, Wrong Party or Feeling No Pain, this collection shows the same cast of characters throughout. Again, there is the balding father with a moustache, the overweight double-chinned mother and their two intelligent children. Each page maintains its own joke but at the same time, it tells the story of this family’s cross country journey. In doing so, he transplants a semblance of a narrative, the cross county journey, by use of large gag cartoon panels without borders.

In addition to having sold millions of copies of his children’s books including his most famous book, Danny and the Dinosaur (named after his brother), Syd Hoff was equally proud of his writing talents. He wrote several short stories for Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen magazine, as well as a novel, Irving and Me (1967). Like his cartoons, Syd Hoff had a great sense of humor. He believed that anyone could draw and continued making books until late in his life. These later books have a more mature style, Hoff’s line being thinner and more ragged, giving it a sort of mistakenly dashed off look. However, as Hoff’s stories became more complex such as in Scarface Al and His Uncle Sam (a children’s book based on the life of Al Capone), the difficulty came in simplifying the story into a language children could immediately understand. Hoff’s love for drawing and storytelling extended outside of making books. He was a frequent visitor to schools and libraries and even taught drawing classes above cruise ships. I’m hard pressed to find another cartoonist who has done so much or who had such a fun time doing it. His children’s books will continue to be read because they present a cartoonist at top form who was experienced at turning depression into laughter.

copyright 2006 Dave Kiersh
Reprinted with permission from author.



Article in Japanese Esquire - July 1992:
(see translation below)

Man of Esquire, Mr. Syd Hoff

A character in a comic book often looks alike the cartoonist who created it. Mr. Syd Hoff is not an exception – he was a good-looking guy when he was young, but it’s interesting that he started to look alike the characters that he created as he got older.

Mr. Hoff was born as a second son of a Jewish salesman of Bronx, New York. He showed talent of drawing when he was still in elementary school. His career as a cartoonist started at The Daily News – Mr. Hoff worked part-time as a delivery boy at The Daily News when he was a senior, and his superior was Paul Gallico, who was closely connected to Esquire. Young Syd was excited to see Mark Hellinger, who was a famous columnist of Broadway at The Daily News.

When a well-known cartoonist Milt Gross visited his high school, Mr. Hoff drew a cartoon in front of the classmates and Milt Gross. Upon seeing Hoff's work, Gross predicted success for Mr. Hoff, telling him, "Kid, some day you'll be a great cartoonist!" His parents did not believe what Mr. Gross said, and were against Mr. Hoff to be a cartoonist.

While studying at The National Academy of Design, he was drawing portraits of Gary Cooper, Myrna Loy, and more. His drawings were recognized and sold by The New Yorker.

One day, he was inspired by watching French actor Maurice Chevalier in a movie, and drew a cartoon and brought it to The New Yorker. The chief editor of The New Yorker liked his cartoon very much.

It was April, 1934 when Mr. Hoff’s cartoon appeared in Esquire for the first time. Mr. Hoff’s cartoon was somewhat unrefined comparing to E. Simms Campbell or Milt Gross at that time, but had a simple, good-natured, and warm atmosphere that the other cartoonists’ works did not have.

Hoff’s cartoon appeared every volume of Esquire until around 1957. A close bond of affection among his family members should be the origin of Mr. Hoff’s warm, tender style of drawing of the characters and his innovative ideas.

In 1953, February edition of Esquire had put together a special issue on Mr. Hoff’s cartoons for his 20th anniversary. Currently he is 80 years old and lives in Miami Beach, Florida.

Translated by Professor and Coordinator Setsue Shibata - Japanese Program, Dept. of Modern Languages and Literature, CA State University Fullerton.


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Also appeared in the following California Newspapers:
San Francisco Cronicle, San Jose Mercury News, Daily Bulletin (Rancho Cucamonga), The Californian (Salinas), Redding Record Searchlight, The Modesto Bee, The Record (Stockton), The Fresno Bee

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