The delegates are ready in this 1948 cover by artist John Falter. If you’re tying to make out the candidate’s face on those signs, save yourself the eyestrain; the image is purposely vague because … it wasn’t decided yet! And if you’re an aficionado of Post literature from this era, note the distinguished white-haired gentleman in the lower right-hand corner. Writer Clarence Budington Kelland was a long-time party leader.
The Great Debate
He’s for Dewey; she’s for Truman. The poor kid, the dog and the cat (on the back of her chair) are for peace. The Rockwell classic “was always one of my husband’s favorites,” said Bess Truman who spoke of the original painting that found its home, appropriately, in the Truman Library. “He enjoyed showing it to visitors when toured the library’s museum.”
1948 was not the first time Norman Rockwell showed a couple on either side of the great political divide—see below.
The election of 1920, in the aftermath of World War I, brought Warren G. Harding vs. James M. Cox. This time the wife is for the Republican (Harding) and hubby is sure he is right about Cox.
The newspaper she holds shows Rockwell’s talent for portraiture—that’s his depiction of Harding, not a photograph, as with his depictions of Dewey and Truman above. In later years his political portraits would include Humphrey, Goldwater, and on subsequent Saturday Evening Post covers, candidates Eisenhower and Stevenson in 1956, and Nixon and Kennedy in 1960 (see “Post Presidential Covers”).
As for these two Rockwell covers, it would be, well, impolitic, to point out that the woman was right both times. So we won’t.
Politics by a Potbelly Stove
It was politics by a potbellied stove in 1910. Dang that dad-burned Teddy Roosevelt, anyhow. This cover is by Robert Robinson, whom we know little about today, except that he was great at painting old geezers. It shows us one thing: folks will argue about politics even when no one is listening (much as politicians will keep speaking).
“Ladies and gentlemen of this great nation, if elected I promise to clean up—and I’ve got the broom to do it!”
This 1956 view of the “after-party” was by Constantin Alajalov. It is a cover that inspires and gives hope: soon this will all be over!