In 1916, the celebrated illustrator Nell Brinkley, known as the “Queen of Comics” created the cartoon, The Three Graces, with the caption: Any man who loves and reveres his mother and his country should idolize, if he worship at all, the three graces, Suffrage, Preparedness and Americanism.”
Brinkley didn’t start out as overtly political. Her first cartoons were frilly and romantic. But she became famous for creating “The Brinkley Girls,” a sophisticated series capturing the modern American working woman with a combination of glamour, spunk, feminine allure and curly hair (think Amy Adams as Amelia Earhart in Night at the Museum 2). For over thirty years, Nell Brinkley’s artwork appeared in the New York Evening Standard, a Hearst publication. At the height of her fame, Bloomingdales, the iconic New York department store, named a day after Brinkley, poems and songs were written about the characters she created, girls saved their money to buy her illustrations, and women flocked for hair curlers emblazoned with her name.
You can find out more in The Brinkley Girls: the Best of Nell Brinkley’s Cartoons From 1913-1940, a new book by cartoonist Trina Robbins.