In Memoriam:  William Hamilton, 1939-2016

William Hamilton, Yale Record Art Editor 1962 and distinguished alumnus, died in a car crash on April 8, 2016. His successful career as cartoonist and dramatist is documented more fully than I can recount on Wikipedia. 

A commemorative of his New Yorker cartoons are viewable here.

One anecdote that appears in a People magazine archive from 1979 tells of his acceptance as a New Yorker artist, an association that he maintained until his death:

Bombarding The New Yorker with his cartoons from Alaska, he finally got what he considered the ultimate rejection slip. "I wrote the art director a letter saying he must be an old man who hates young people," Hamilton recalls. "Suddenly I got a check for $200, with no explanation."

For more of Hamilton’s extraordinary life and times.

A story that does not appear on the web is one I can tell from Yale daze. It goes somewhat like this:

Bill Hamilton arrived at Yale in Fall 1958. One of his first visits was to the college dormitory suite of Bill Cudahy, Dick Bentley, and myself. Cudahy was Record Chairman that year. Dick was managing editor and writer. I was Art Editor. Young Hamilton asked if this was the room of the Yale Record Chairman, adding that he had selected Yale because he much admired the Yale Record and wanted to be part of it.

Cudahy—all too true to form—said, no, he did not know any Cudahy, never heard of the Yale Record, then turned to us to be sure we nodded agreement. This ruse lasted for an extended comic minute. Once we did see the cartoon portfolio that Hamilton brought under his arm, he was admitted to the fold forthwith. William Hamilton recounts his version of this story in his 50th Yale College Class of 1962 Reunion Essay—we hope out of fondness of memory, rather than as catharsis of early career trauma.

Bill went on to extend the Yale Record cartoonist tradition far more than any of us.

Donald Watson 

Yale Record Art Editor ‘59