Held’s Angels

Better Front Cover45 - Copy

John_Held_Jr Head shot - Copy

John Held, Jr. January 10, 1889 to March 2, 1958, Image courtesy Wikipedia.

and also from Wikipedia,

Frank Gilbert head shot - Copy

Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr, March 17, 1911 to February 18, 2001

The book was published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York in 1952.,

This book had a dust cover with, I believe, bio and other information on the authors. However, since I was given this book in 1954, that cover has gone away.

So, from various sources on the Internet, we have information on both. Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. was a journalist and novelist. He is probably best known for the book co-authored with his sister, Cheaper by the Dozen. Our book, Held’s Angels, has a story by Gilbert, interspersed with the cartoons. However, since I am interested in visual humor, let us move on to the cartoonist, John Held, Jr.

From Wikipedia,  on John Held, Jr. we have the following:

Due to his sense of humor and keen observation of his surroundings, Held was praised for his cartoon depictions of the cultural paradigm shift in the 1920s. The drawings depicted the flapper era in a way that both satirized and influenced the styles and mores of the time, and his images have continued to define the Jazz Age for subsequent generations.

And from the Utah Artists Project, we have this:

John Held, Jr. was born in Utah in 1889. He chronicled the spirit of the 1920s, the “Jazz Age,” with his cartoons of the flapper Betty Co-ed, and her friend, Joe College. Held died in New Jersey in 1958.

I have heard the expression, ‘Joe College’, but never ‘flapper Betty Co-ed’. Learn something new everyday.

More information on Flappers.

So, let us look at college life.

End Result - Copy

Dumbells - Copy

Wrong Side

Funny Costume - Copy

Which segues into garters. We know that socks stay up when we pull them on, courtesy of elastic, but in Held’s day, they were held up by garters. Or garter belts, but mostly for the young set, just plain garters.

Pull up Socks

Garters His and Hers - Copy

Her failed Garter - Copy

Double Garter - Copy

Dancing was synonymous with flappes, so we swing into dancing.

Brief Hx of Danve - Copy

Black Bottom Dance - Copy

For a videos showing black bottom danceing, see Youtube.

Black bottom dance, solo:

Black bottom dance, solo and couple:

Also the charleston, and swing. Swing seems to have evolved from the black bottom dance-  the actual dance starts at 39 second mark.

The Charleston

Courtesy of the Encyclopedia Britannica, we have the following excerpt:

Charleston music is in quick 4/4 time with syncopated rhythms. In the basic step the knees are bent, then straightened, as the feet pivot in and out. Weight is shifted from one leg to another, the free leg being kicked out from the body at an oblique angle. The basic step is often interspersed with strenuous movements, such as forward and backward kicks while traveling forward.

I don’t know which came first, Charleston or Black Bottom Dance and I do not want to get into esoteric discussions about those two dances.

Moving right along.

Dance Mad Younger Set - Copy

Well, maybe not everyone was tuned into dancing.

Dance marathons, seemed to be a way for desperate people to make money. At least that is what I got from the book, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They. (See below)

MarathonDancing - Copy

Video of dance marathon and an article about it.

There was a 1936 novel by Horace McCoy   about marathon dancing. And a 1969 movie based on the book. Interestingly enough, and according to IMDB.com,

 This film was shot in  continuity. So, when the actors start to stumble around, it is because they have been doing it almost nonstop.

Prohibition in the twenties and thirties was a misguided effort by people with a narrow agenda and outsize political power to to keep people from drinking. All it did was drive more people to drink, which led to organized crime meeting their needs. By the time the idiocy was ended, organized crime was well funded and established. I will now climb down from my soap box, being careful to not get into Federal Marijuana prohibition, (it is legal in my state), and the dark history of civil forfeiture as noted in the Harvard Law Review.

Here is John Held’s take on prohibition, alcohol, not marijuana.



Four out of five - Copy

Flit - Copy

The above requires a bit of explanation. Today, our household insecticides usually come in an aerosol container. Back in the day, it came in liquid form in bottles or cans. The liquid was poured into a reservoir of a hand pumped sprayer.  As pictured below.

Flit Gun - Copy

Flit Gun courtesy of google images.

How about some casual observations of life around him.

Imagaination - Copy

Life is like Thatr - Copy

View of the Boad Races

Knees - Copy

We close with a Christmas message.


Hope you enjoyed it.


References on John Held, Jr.


https://www.lib.utah.edu/collections/utah-artists/UAP-John-Held.php (favorite color: Plaid.)


References for Gilbreth:






About visualhumor

Enjoy viewing and collecting visual humor from around the world.
This entry was posted in Flappers, John Held Jr., Roaring Twenties, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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