Cover Collection: Back to School

Classrooms may have changed from pencils to PowerPoint, but the Saturday Evening Post has always been there to witness sending our kids back to school. 


Back to School 
Robert C. Kauffmann 
September 11, 1937 


Robert C. Kauffmann painted five covers for the Post, on a variety of subjects from pets to water skiers. With their backs to the viewer, we can only guess what these two are feeling about the first day of school.  


Growing Boy 
Frances Tipton Hunter 
September 16, 1939 


Frances Tipton Hunter was one of the most nationally recognized artists in Post history, depicting childhood in a style similar to Norman Rockwell. Most kids grow about 2 inches each year, so this mother likely has a lot of work ahead of her. 


School Bus 
Stevan Dohanos 
September 2, 1944 


This is one time when the kids look happier than the dogs do about going to school.  


Flowers for Teacher 
Stevan Dohanos 
September 7, 1946 


When Stevan Dohanos painted his picture of the first day of school, the children were brimming with excitement—not because they were posing for a cover, but because the day in question was a great day indeed. It was actually the last day of school, in June.  


Separation Anxiety 
George Hughes 
September 11, 1948 


Artist George Hughes painted this scene at Bennington College, in Vermont, which operates a nursery school. “Do you ask me if I have any children of my own?” Hughes mutters. “Only five girls. The one who is crying on the cover is, of course, mine.” 


Crossing Guard 
George Hughes 
September 6, 1952 


If artist George Hughes hadn’t stationed the young lifesaver on that corner, would that man have stepped dreamily into the street, just missed being nicked by the car, and then blamed it in loud words on the driver?  


End of Recess 
John Falter 
October 17, 1953 


Regarding that impending touchdown, we bet the teacher knows enough football to rule it illegal—ball was snapped after the school bell rang. 


First Day of School 
Thornton Utz 
September 6, 1958 


Artist Thornton Utz vows that when he was very little he liked school so much that he asked his folks if he couldn’t also go to night school. In time he got over that aberration. 


Morning Coffee Break 
Amos Sewell 
September 12, 1959 


In mother’s ears is a faint, faraway ringing—would it be an echo of the youthful din that has dinned in her ears all summer, or does she think she hears what she is merely imagining, a school bell ringing? Anyway, peace.  

Bathing Beauties

Woman at the Shore – Bradshaw Crandall
With floppy sunhat providing shade and shield from harsh rays, this head-turner is free to luxuriate in the beachside aurora of a salty summer’s day.

Bradshaw Crandall August 20, 1927
Bradshaw Crandall
August 20, 1927

Sunburned Sunbather – Penrhyn Stanlaws
No amount of lathering is going to ease a smolder that red. Though this burned beachgoer can take comfort in the fact that her dual-toned skin and swimsuit form a rather patriotic guise.

Penrhyn Stanlaws July 6, 1929
Penrhyn Stanlaws
July 6, 1929

Sunbathers – John LaGatta
Stretched out under the lacy shelter of a parasol, these ladies are prepared to transform the lawn into a first-class pinup photo shoot.

John LaGatta July 5, 1930
John LaGatta
July 5, 1930

Three Bathing Beauties – John LaGatta
Garbed in their complementary aquamarine getups, this trio may just fade into the luster of the ocean blue once they’ve hit the dunes.

John LaGatta July 8, 1933
John LaGatta
July 8, 1933

Sitting on the Diving Board – Penrhyn Stanlaws
For those seaside loungers wishing to hold court over the shimmering surface without dampening their locks, perching on a diving board is a suitable compromise.

Penrhyn Stanlaws August 19, 1933
Penrhyn Stanlaws
August 19, 1933

Woman in Beach Outfit – Charles A. MacLellan
Sporting sandals is just an invitation to trek sand about for weeks afterward. But it’s well worth it when the elegantly casual ensemble will draw every eye on the shore.

Charles A. MacLellan August 11, 1934
Charles A. MacLellan
August 11, 1934

Ski Boarding Couple – Robert C. Kauffmann
It’s surf’s up or more appropriately skis up for this golden couple as they crest another foamy wave. And if they should happen to capsize, that striking crimson of hers will make them easily spotted for pickup.

Robert C. Kauffmann June 27, 1936
Robert C. Kauffmann
June 27, 1936

At the Pool – John LaGatta
Whether perfecting a competitive breaststroke or just dipping toes in the drink, poolside is the place to be in summer’s steamiest weeks.

John LaGatta August 28, 1937
John LaGatta
August 28, 1937

Broken Beach Chair – John Hyde Phillips
A smarting smack to the rear wasn’t exactly on this perturbed stunner’s checklist for beach day. At least she had a sandy landing to cushion the spill.

John Hyde Phillips August 12, 1939
John Hyde Phillips
August 12, 1939

Up on the Roof – Dominice Cammerota
Everyone pines for a tropical escape; but in a pinch, an urban rooftop destination will do, and it’s just as toasty. If you can’t reach the beaches, you can always climb a little closer to the sun.

Dominice Cammerota August 3, 1940
Dominice Cammerota
August 3, 1940

Tan Lines – Albert W. Hampson
X marks the spot for tan-line regret as this socialite discovers her sun-cooked body art isn’t going to pair well with the plunging backline of that pearly frock.

Albert W. Hampson September 27, 1941
Albert W. Hampson
September 27, 1941

Card Game at the Beach – Alex Ross
When the hours have worn everyone down, a few bubbly sips and a cool-off card game under the umbrella may be just the right pick-me-up before a final splashdown.

Alex Ross August 28, 1943
Alex Ross
August 28, 1943