John Held, Jr.

was an American cartoonist, wood block artist and illustrator. One of the best known magazine illustrators of the 1920s, the drawings singularly defined the flapper era. Held was praised for his cartoon depictions of the cultural paradigm shift in the 1920s. The drawings depicted the flapper era in a way that both satirized and influenced the styles and mores of the time, and his images have continued to define the Jazz Age for subsequent generations. In time college students looked to Held’s cartoon for guidance on language, dress and behavior.  With John Held the note of the Jazz Age also resounded in Westport.

By 1927, Held’s work had appeared in Life, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New Yorker, Judge and The Smart Set. His work, which quickly became popular, defined the “funny, stylish image of the flapper with her cigarette holder, shingle bob and turned-down hose and of her slick-haired boyfriend in puffy pants and raccoon coat,” whom he named Betty Co-ed and Joe College; the perfect archetypes for the generation.According to Held, he didn’t really intend to create the flapper ideal; he just drew what was around him, and it became popular so he kept drawing. In 1927, Held was nominated for the Vanity Fair Hall of Fame: “Because as a caricaturist, he invented the modern flapper; because last year he was almost elected a member of Congress from Connecticut; because he is a syndicated artist who has not lost his flair for drawing and satire; because he is a born comedian.”

John Held drew a map of Westport in 1920. He indicated where the Fitzgerald’s lived accurately- on the corner of an estate, with the Solomon house across the bay, where interestingly a lighthouse is also depicted. He also drew a map of Great Neck in 1923 where he indicated the Fitzgerald’s lived along the water- but they did not, they were in the center of Great Neck, miles from the water.

Perret, 151

BPS, p. 82

VWB, 266, long version Days of The Phoenix

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