Two of our favorite covers for The Saturday Evening Post by Richard Sargent and George Hughes illustrate humorous and relatable scenarios that tend to play out on family trips during summer vacations.



Richard Sargent’s scene painted for the cover of the July 18, 1953, issue of the Post is relatable for those who have painstakingly planned a family roadtrip only to have the effort go unappreciated by disinterested children. While in modern times the children would more likely be immersed in phones or tablets than books, the scene represents a timeless struggle that tends to occur on family vacations.

The Post editors cleverly describe the scene: “Gently, gently now, for both sides are right in this slight vacation convulsion. Papa Toury has been steering the bus for three days toward Point Lookout, and, having finally made it, is he not justified in decrying the little one’s disinterest in lookouting? On the other hand, for three days Johnny and Janey Toury have been peering at interminable scenery; so now that the car has quit jiggling and reading is possible, what is more dutiful than rejoicing in the new books that papa bought them to read? If papa, with his field glasses, should happen to spot a drive-in movie in the valley which could be reached by eventide, the children, then monopolizing the glasses, would revel in this lovely view and artist Sargent’s crisis would subside. Or when do we eat?” (The Saturday Evening Post, July 18, 1953, p. 3)



George Hughes signature wit is on full display in Future President, published on the September 25, 1948, cover of the Post. The Post editors described the image: “A father who expects his son to be President, as all good fathers should, is very likely — when he visits Washington — to photograph his young candidate against the background of the White House, in a pose befitting one who will someday take over the joint.” The young man brims with confidence as the father and mother likely swell with pride. The young lady is the only one not seduced by her brother’s charms, as she looks back over her shoulder toward the viewer. Her expression suggests that she may feel overlooked and perhaps thinks she herself is better suited for the role (and her parents’ attention).

George Hughes watched this scene play out over and over again as he observed families in front of the White House in preparation for this cover. Compiling preliminary drawings in Washington D.C., Hughes completed the final painting at his home in Arlington, Vermont. All of the figures were modeled after his neighbors in Arlington, aside from the father, who was a Washington sight-seeing guide. (The Saturday Evening Post, September 25 1948, p. 3)