Wednesday, June 4, 2008

H. T. Webster (1885-1952)

Although his last newspaper cartoon appeared in the New York Herald Tribune on April 4, 1953, when I was too young to have appreciated it, H. T. Webster is my favourite among the single-panel slice-of-life cartoonists. Just how popular he was is shown by the number of cartoon collections published in his lifetime. They were >

Our Boyhood Thrills and other Cartoons 1915
Boys and Folks 1917
Webster’s Bridge 1924
Webster’s Poker Book 1926
The Timid Soul 1931
The Culbertson-Webster Contract System 1932
Grand Slams 1938
Webster Unabridged 1945
To Hell with Fishing 1945
Who Dealt this Mess 1948
How to Torture your Husband 1948
How to Torture your Wife 1948
Life with Rover 1949
The Best of H. T. Webster A Memorial Collection 1953

Cover Gallery HERE


  1. My favorite is the one about the husband is so proud he has repaired a doorknob. If you don't know that one I'll scan it and send it on.

    It just breaks me up.

  2. Not familiar with that one, Ron. send a scan and I'll add it to this post.

  3. For years "The Best of H.T. Webster" was the source of quotations and "headlines" like "Husband Astounds Wife by Successfully Changing Lightbulb" (inspired by the one that Ron mentions). Another favourite is the multi-panel "How to Torture Your Wife" in which the husband exclaims with delight and surprise at every course his wife brings out (in front of increasingly amused company).

    Then one day my sister found our old copy in her attic and sent it to me. That was very nearly "The Thrill of a Lifetime".


  4. I absolutely love H.T. Webster. I only have two of his books (the last two on the list above). One was found for cheap at a garage sale and that was a "thrill of a lifetime." Where can I find other books of his?

  5. I think this must be the most commented on post so far. I found the newest titles are often found in Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. The best bet is to check Abebooks regularly.

  6. I have a strong memory of the one with Milquetoast lathered up in the barber chair

    With razor in hand, the burly barber asks him "so, who you gonna vote for in this election?"

    "Er, uh, I can't vote, uh, I just got out of prison..."

  7. Ah, nice to see some 'new' ones. The only collection I ever see is the "Best Of" book, which must have been a book club item, because I've seen so many of them. The Gibson one must have been dear to the cartoonist, who claimed (in a cartoon in the collection I have) that his boyhood dream was to be Charles Dana Gibson's assistant. Thanks for these!

  8. I have a few original single panels by Webster.

    Any direction as to where to go for an appraisal?

  9. I have no idea -- maybe another reader will have a suggestion.