The name didn't ring a bell for me, but husband recognised it immediately and handed me a volume of cartoons from The New Yorker (1950-55), pointing to a couple of examples of Hoff's work.
While in high school, Milt Gross, a popular 1930s cartoonist, told Syd Hoff that "Kid, someday you'll be a great cartoonist!" At 16 he enrolled at New York's National Academy of Design. At 18 The New Yorker first bought one of his cartoons. He would eventually, from 1931 to 1975, sell a total of 571 of them to the New Yorker.
Americans are likely to be familiar, also, with his 150 plus children's books (such titles as Sammy the Seal and Danny and the Dinosaur), now also translated into many different languages. His comic strips and cartoons were featured in all the top magazines of the 20th century; his comic strip Tuffy, about a little girl who did funny stuff, was declared essential for national morale during WWII by William Randolph Hearst.
Hoff worked in other genres too. He was associated with Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen as a contributor of short fiction writing; was awarded national advertising commissions for large companies ( Chevrolet, Maxwell House Coffee and others). He even had his own TV show, Tales of Hoff on CBS. He traveled the world as entertainment on cruise ships and entertained children and teachers in schools and libraries .
Syd Hoff's official website HERE covers all facets of his work.
What particularly endeared Hoff to me? His work under a pseudonym A. Redfield. While contributing to The New Yorker magazine and other mainstream publications as Syd Hoff, he was also contributing to the Daily Worker and New Masses as A. Redfield, the pseudonym adopted for his radical work during the 1930s. The Ruling Clawss (1935) is a compilation of over 150 cartoons originally published in the Communist Daily.
In “Social Satire,” an essay by Hoff (as Redfield) included as an afterword, the artist argues that most contemporary satirists are not sharp enough: “Today we have a new group of satirists who, at the same time that they bite the bourgeoisie, use only their lips, but not their teeth” ...He praises only Art Young, “the greatest satirist of his day.” Everyone else falls short. They “are talented and funny, but . . . their comedy is all too often a whitewash for people and conditions that, in reality, are not funny” (See Nine Kinds of Pie blog HERE)
More at the Redfield website HERE.
Some of his Redfield cartoons are as apposite today as they were when he drew them:
Hoff's niece, Carol Edmonston has remarked that:
"Syd often said that ‘Society is divided into two classes: the oppressed and the class of the oppressors — [the] bourgeoisie,’"
His main astro signature, I think, in relation to his work, would be:
Venus (planet for the arts) conjunct Mars (somewhat energetically challenging) in helpful sextile to Jupiter in its own sign Sagittarius (humour, publication, philosophical). All aided and abetted by Sun in Virgo and Moon somewhere in Gemini - both ruled by communications planet Mercury.
NOTE ~ Apologies for errors and/or omissions - this post was completed away from home, using lap top and iffy connection.