Decades of Saturday Evening Post covers show that we have always sought self improvement. Like this gentleman from 1924 taking up an exercise program.
No Desserts by Constantin Alajalov
Probably the number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. That’s what this lady is working on and she’s obviously none too happy about it. This is from 1948, but we’ll tell you something, lady: dieting in 2011 is no more fun – and with all our pills, online programs and progress – no easier.
Reduce to Music by Frederick Stanley
This gentleman from 1924 is taking up an exercise program. It looks like early aerobics, before the days of “The Biggest Loser” and celebrity spokespeople looking svelte after losing weight due to the Brand “X” weight-loss program. With no such inspiration to spur him on, he’s trying it the roaring twenties way.
Saving for War Bonds by Preston Duncan
Resolution #2: I will save more money this year. Saving money is always a big New Year’s resolution. This is a photographic cover, rather than an artist illustration, which was rare for the 1940’s. But everyone was being encouraged to buy bonds for the war effort and this handsome young man was doing his part. We’ve really become soft…our goal now is to cut down on a few overpriced lattes.
Mom’s Helper by Norman Rockwell
Resolution #3: I will read more. I will improve my mind! This 1921 cover by Norman Rockwell shows a young man with two resolutions: to help mom with the chores and to be well-read. Actually, peeling potatoes was probably mom’s idea. Combining the tasks, however, is not safe, as the bandaged thumb indicates. Sometimes a good story is hard to put down. But, dude, when the chore involves a knife…
Fall Gab Session by Constantin Alajalov
Resolved: I will not gossip. Did you see the way that Smith boy and that Jones girl were looking at each other? Why, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were wedding bells ahead. This is strictly confidential, of course.
After Dinner Dishes by Stevan Dohanos
I will keep the house looking like something out of a magazine. Only not this magazine. What is more discouraging than a pile of dirty dishes? We’ll tell you what – a pile of dirty dishes and a husband who thinks it’s his time to relax with the papers. The editors thoughtfully suggested she close the door while she’s cleaning up so as not to disturb him. This was said tongue-in-cheek. We think.
Sleeping at Opera by Charles A. MacLellan
Last, but not least: I resolve to get more rest. This is a noble goal, since experts tell us that most Americans don’t get enough sleep. But perhaps not at the theater, mister. Wives are known to have sharp elbows. It doesn’t look as if the glaring technique is going to work. This cover is from 1923.
Do you have a New Year’s resolution for 2011? Share them in the comments below.