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Teen Genius

Sep 1, 2011 3:00 PM | 0 comments

Last summer Cecilia put together a great post on the yearbooks of Manual Training High School (once John Jay and now the Secondary School for Law, Journalism, and Research) and, due to a patron request, I had cause to retrieve the boxes housing these books from the morgue once again. I'm happy I did. Along with the Prospect yearbooks, Manual Training also produced a "Literary-Art Issue" of the Prospect, and therein I found a number of striking drawings which serve to illustrate stories, poems, and scripts. Without too much commentary, I figured I'd post some of my favorites along with the titles of the pieces they were meant to illustrate. The pairings can be alternately funny, evocative, confusing, meaningless or just plain dull, but they somehow add up to provide a picture of Brooklyn teen life -- well, if not quite life -- at least the styles and stories that preoccupied some Brooklyn teens from 1936-1948.

The covers of the Prospect were often punchy, graphic affairs. This one from 1942 was drawn by George Olesen, who worked as Art Editor for the issue and whose drawings, usually of beefy blockheads, illustrate a number of the stories. And if you're wondering what happened to this talented artist, it looks like he made a career of it.


Drawing by George Olesen

We Were Laughing 

Drawing by George Olesen

 He Walks With Music

 Drawing by George Olesen

 Life of a Leaf

Drawing by Rosalie Goldstone

 Concerning Manners

Drawing by Olga Samios


Drawing  by Jessie Egan

 "Ridiculous!" He Replied

Drawing by Florence Cambrini

 The Sunken City

Drawing by George Ahlman

 My Life as a Poet

Drawing by Joseph DiFronzo

 Dear Butch

Drawing by Veronica Campbell

 Incident of Jonathan Beaverson

Drawing by Jessie Egan

 I Visited the Moon

Drawing by Betsy Daniels

 Happiness and Contentment

Drawing by David Manzella

 And So I Ran Away

Drawing by Elaine Fortune

 To My Dad

Drawing by Jospeh DiFronzo

 The Canary and the Cat

Drawing by "SGRO"


Drawing by Wally Huber

 The Promised Land

Artist unknown

I could go on posting these all day, but with other things to do I better heed the advice of one of the Prospect's poets and quit.