Category Archive 'Jean Anderson'

06 Jun 2011

The Vassar Cartoons of Jean Anderson and Anne Cleveland

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It turns out that the Vassar cartoon sent in by one of our commenters really was set in the 1930s after all.

The source turns out to be a collection of cartoons humorously depicting college life at Vassar by Jean Anderson (1912?-1994) Class of 1933 and (the better documented) Anne Thorburn Cleveland (1916-2009), Class of 1937, published in 1942.



Anderson and Cleveland published a second collection together, titled Everything Correlates, in 1946. The two 1940s booklets were probably republished as The Educated Woman in Cartoon and Caption in 1960.

Anderson was a classmate at Vassar of Mary McCarthy, who supplied her own version of life at Vassar in her succèss de scandale novel The Group

I remember a classical mural ornamenting “the Madonna of the Smoking Room” Lakey’s suite, featuring the other seven members of the group, attending the goddess Lakey, drawn by the intelligent and witty Helena. I have always assumed that Helena, the detached observer, was intended to represent McCarthy herself, but perhaps I’ve always been wrong. McCarthy’s classmate Jean Anderson, it seems, had just such a talent for cartoon murals.


Murals of college life by Jean Anderson still ornament Vassar’s Alumnae House pub (Vassar College: An Architectural Tour, 2004)


Cleveland went on to contribute cartoons to Ladies’ Home Journal, Harper’s Bazaar, and other magazines, and published a book of cartoons from the perspective of an American residing in post-war Japan, but eventually abandoned her professional career. She wound up living in Oregon where she created a commune.

Anne Cleveland Oregonian obituary

Comics Reporter obituary


Anderson worked as a librarian at Vassar for a number of years, then suddenly resolved on a complete redirection, attended medical school, and became an obstetrician and a pioneer champion of the Lamaze method. She practiced in Manhattan in the late ’50s and early ’60s, then relocated permanently to Amherst, Massachusetts. Dr. Anderson proudly kept copies of her cartoon collections available to entertain patients in her waiting room.

Cleveland and Anderson remembered by Vassar Miscellany News in the year of Cleveland’s death.


Blogger Shaenon K. Gentry, Vassar 2000, has published several articles on the Cleveland-Anderson cartoons. Gentry, for some reason, fails to notice that Anderson signs her cartoons, and tends to produce the better work. The Gentry articles talk predominantly about Anne Cleveland.

21 July 2006

25 July 2006

29 August 2008

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