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Spring Covers: A Perennial Favorite

Published: April 14, 2014

The spring equinox occurred weeks ago, March 20 to be exact, which means this winter’s tale has (finally!) come to a welcome end.

Here at The Saturday Evening Post, we have historically welcomed each spring with delightful covers from some of our greatest artists and illustrators, each cover offering a different take on varied spring themes. The following three covers show the range of springtime weather, and the ways we take advantage (or don’t) of the change in season.

The most prevalent activity of spring is the tending of of gardens. In Thornton Utz’s, “Spring Yardwork” from May 18, 1957, the viewer sees an entire neighborhood planting, watering, mowing, mulching, raking, and so on and so forth down the straight line of synonymous 1950s homes.

"Spring Yardwork" by Thornton Utz. May 18, 1957. © SEPS 2014

“Spring Yardwork” by Thornton Utz. May 18, 1957. © SEPS 2014

At the far end of the street, we view a man sunbathing in a yard completely lacking any cultivation. There are no perennials, no sprouting annual bulbs planted the previous fall, and he is not planting for the summer harvest. If anything, the old parable of the grasshopper and the ant comes to mind.

The lazy grasshopper homeowner at the far end looks out jealously from his lawn chair and barren yard to see the fruits of his ant neighbors’ labors. It’s not too late for him to make hay while the sun shines, but he looks awfully comfy drink in hand.

From sunshine to April showers, “Mailman” by Stevan Dohanos, which appeared on the May 13, 1944 issue, shows a devoted neighborhood staple, the rain-or-shine employees of the United Sates Postal Service completing his daily duties in a solemn, light afternoon shower. The mailman is an American ideal of civil service, the difficulty of his responsibilities unknown to those who conveniently find their mail waiting, as if by magic, in their mailboxes.

"Mailman" by Stevan Dohanos. May 13, 1944. © SEPS 2014

“Mailman” by Stevan Dohanos. May 13, 1944. © SEPS 2014

In contrast, “Spring Cleaning” by John Falter, from the March 26, 1949 cover, shows people who, unlike Dohanos’ mailman, have the luxury of finishing their chores on a beautiful, sunny day. Most would rather have fun on a sun-kissed afternoon, but completing a task in good weather is certainly preferable to the rain.

"Spring Cleaning" by John Falter. March 26, 1949. © SEPS 2014

“Spring Cleaning” by John Falter. March 26, 1949. © SEPS 2014

This season has much to offer, so take advantage! It’s time to head outside, to enjoy warmer weather, to plant our gardens, and to take charge of our spring-cleaning procrastinations (or eh, maybe next year). This season of early awakenings only comes once a year, so make sure to take a moment and appreciate this singular spring season.

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  • Joseph, you’ve picked out three wonderful choices as representaions of the current season by three of my personal favorite POST artists.

    Living in California with almost no winter to speak of, and virtually no rain, our mail persons have not had to contend with this—just unpredictable WEIRD weather.

    Thank you for your great insights into these great covers and hopefully many more for a long, long time. Such features have been sorely missed on the POST’s website since Diana Denny retired 8 or 9 months ago. She had a real gift in her analysis and comments regarding the covers, and it’s very apparent you do as well. It’s great to have you on board!