Helen Hokinson's cartoons were a staple in The New Yorker magazine for nearly 25 years. She specialized in plump and befuddled society matrons: club women, theatergoers and other polite and amusing souls of the upper middle class. Hokinson grew up in Illinois and worked as a fashion illustrator before moving to New York and taking up cartooning. Her first cartoons appeared in The New Yorker shortly after its founding in 1925, and along with Charles Addams and Peter Arno she became associated with the magazine's witty style. In later years she collaborated with James Reid Parker, who wrote captions for Hokinson's drawings. Hokinson died in a freak airplane crash in 1949, when a commercial airline on which she was a passenger crashed into a Bolivian fighter plane on a training run near Washington D.C.
The plane crash that killed Hokinson was “the worst crash in U.S. airline history” at that time, according to Time magazine.