Thursday, March 22, 2007

Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms
That was the motto of the Century of Progress Exposition held in Chicago in 1933. The same exposition that my grandfather George Berger hopped a train in order to attend. No job, only the clothes on his back, and probably a few friends in tow, he briefly lived the life of a hobo. But he didn't succumb to the siren song of the open rail and soon after that summer settled down like most of us do. Which brings me to the reason for this post.
I'd like to make clear one minor differentiation that most people seem to have a pretty good handle on. Homeless vs Hobo. The hoboes I've depicted are informed by the history recorded in John Hodgman's aforementioned book, as well as the pioneering work of Sid Caesar, Emmett Kelly, and Spike (Snoopy's underappreciated and highly emaciated brother), to name a few. True hoboes are hard to find these days, and may in fact have vacated earth entirely, as Hodgman contends.
My illustrations are not in any way meant to disparage or belittle the modern homeless and downtrodden who, often through no fault of their own, are forced to live on the streets.
Thank you.
There is a list coming your way tonight.
Finally, click here to read more about the Century of Progress and it's incubator of real babies.