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Classic Covers: Work Break

Published: September 4, 2017

Originally published September 5, 2009.

Yes, friends, we discovered many Post covers showing folks taking a well-deserved (well, in some cases) break from work. If you’re one of the unfortunate who have to work Labor Day (policemen, for example), then maybe you’ll find some ideas for sneaking in a little break.

One way to get a break from work is to dump it all on someone else. The boss in Dick Sargent’s 1961 cover arrives at his office and finds it loaded with paperwork. No problem—Miss Secretary’s break is now over, and the boss can practice his putting. The boss calls it “delegating,” although the overwhelmed lady may have another word for it.

<em>Shade Tree</em><br />Richard Sargent<br />April 12, 1958

Shade Tree
Richard Sargent
April 12, 1958

Artist Sargent also shows us the fine art of slacking off from home chores. The man on the April 12, 1958, cover is resting peacefully under a shade tree. No one said you couldn’t enjoy the shade before you planted the tree.

<em>Linemen Listen to World Series</em><br />Stevan Dohanos<br />October 4, 1952

Linemen Listen to World Series
Stevan Dohanos
October 4, 1952

The October 4, 1952, cover by artist Stevan Dohanos shows linemen showing a little break-time ingenuity in rigging up a radio to listen to the World Series. Artist Lonie Bee shows a board of directors with the same idea, taking a break from directing (or whatever they do) to watch the game in the comfort of the boardroom, complete with a fancy-schmancy black & white television.

Since telephone crewmen have to work in sleet, snow, heat, and storms, we won’t begrudge them a little fun when they get a beach job, as shown on the August 10, 1957, cover by Ben Prins. Sunbathing, enjoying a cup of coffee, and even roasting a hot dog—not a bad day at work.

<em>Men Working</em><br />Stevan Dohanos<br />April 12, 1947

Men Working
Stevan Dohanos
April 12, 1947

No slacker when it comes to painting slackers, artist Dohanos shows us that painting a “Men Working” sign is apparently hard work. When the Connecticut cop who runs the police department’s sign shop awakens from his after-lunch snooze, we assume he’ll finish the sign. Working and resting at the same time is the clever constable in the June 5, 1926, cover by artist Alan Foster. He rigged up a chair and umbrella so he could still reach the “stop and go” sign to regulate traffic. He even packed a picnic basket and liquid refreshment. (We’re sure the jug contains fresh water.)

<em>Milkman Meets Pieman</em><br />Stevan Dohanos<br />October 11, 1958

Milkman Meets Pieman
Stevan Dohanos
October 11, 1958

Post editors referred to Dohanos’ October 11, 1958, cover as “a fine example of business reciprocity, each man helping to stimulate consumption of the other man’s product.” That’s a fancy way of saying, “I drive a pie truck; you drive a milk truck, so maybe there’s a good break idea here.” Another break idea occurs to the young man with the “rush order” of groceries to be delivered on the May 9, 1953, cover. He has apparently passed this stream far too many times not to come prepared with a fishing pole.

<em>Man Daydreaming of Adventure</em><br />Norman Rockwell<br />June 7, 1924

Man Daydreaming of Adventure
Norman Rockwell
June 7, 1924

Of course, there’s the good old American custom of daydreaming at work. Constantin Alajalov shows a travel agent staring out the window at a dreary scene, perhaps dreaming of an adventure of her own. The scene is not new, as Norman Rockwell shows in his cover of June 7, 1924. It’s hard for an accountant to remain satisfied with the tedium of keeping the books if he has been reading too many high seas adventures in his spare time. Whatever your adventures this Labor Day, we hope you have a well-deserved and relaxing break from work.


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  • Mims Cushing

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    Mims Cushing