The Dark, Glamourous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

By Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan on at

New York in the years after World War II was a city more prosperous and more modern than anything the world had seen—and it spawned a whole culture unto itself, distributed in newspapers, magazines, and advertisements. This was the era of Madison Avenue Men, and Mac Conner was their illustrator.

Conner is the subject of a new show at the Museum of the City of New York opening tomorrow, that looks at the images Conner created to articulate not only the joie de vivre of New York in the 1950s and 60s, but also crime, the humour, and the kinds of moments the modern women who read the fashion magazines Conner worked for wanted to avoid. Appearing in everything from Good Housekeeping to Cosmo, these drawings were half Norman Rockwell and half film noir—a perfect mix of the competing desires of modern Americans after the War.

If you're in New York, check out Mac Conner: A New York Life beginning on September 10th—it's on until January 19th of next year.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

Let's Take a Trip Up the Nile, published in This Week magazine, 1950. Photograph: Museum of the City of New York.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

Hold On Tight, published in Redbook, 1958. Photograph: Museum of the City of New York.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad MenThere's Death For Remembrance, for This Week magazine, 1953. Photograph: Astrid Cravens.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men"The Girl Who Was Crazy About Jimmy Durante" in Woman's Day, 1953. Photograph: Museum of the City of New York.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

We Won't Be Any Trouble, Collier's, 1953. Photograph: Museum of the City of New York.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

All The Good Guys Died, printed in Cosmopolitan, 1951. Photograph: Astrid Cravens.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

Don't Be Like Me, in Collier's, 1953. Photograph: Museum of the City of New York/Museum of the City of New York.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

Strictly Respectable, printed in Redbook, 1953. Photograph: Museum of the City of New York.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

Where's Mary Smith?, published in Good Housekeeping, 1950. Photograph: Museum of the City of New York.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

How Do You Love Me, for Woman's Home Companion, 1950. Photograph: Museum of the City of New York.

The Dark, Glamorous World of One of NYC's Real-Life Mad Men

Killer in the Club Car in This Week magazine, 1954. Photograph: Museum of the City of New York.