The December 4th 1943 issue of the Saturday Evening Post has for it’s cover... an
illustration painted by Stevan Dohanos depicting the Honor Roll from his home town
of Westport, Connecticut. A decade later December 13th 1953 half way across the USA
in Cando, North Dakota I was born. A number of things happened during the
next 50 years that connected these 2 men although they would never meet one another.
While touring the Saturday Evening Post in Indianapolis several years ago there were
many illustrations that intrigued me most in that...there seemed to be more lettering
within the compositions on the store fronts and vehicles. I read about the illustrator
and was fascinated to learn that at one point in his (Stevan Dohanos) career he was a
signpainter. I have been a signpainter by trade since graduating high school in 1972
and after reading this about Stevan I had a desire to learn more about him.
The next time I heard of Stevan Dohanos was from a friend of mine by the name of Tom List. Tom had moved here to Indiana in the 1960’s from...Westport, Connecticut and I became friends of the family soon after. A few years ago I was visiting with him and he showed me a framed cover of the Saturday Evening Post that his sister had bought at an antique store out west and had given to him because as he pointed out....his name was on it.
Sure enough Tom was one of hundreds from Westport that were honored to have their
names not only painted on the Honor Roll sign back home but also have it printed for
the world to see on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. He explained that an artist by
the name of Stevan Dohanos had done the illustration and that although he didn’t person-
ally know him...he was very familiar with him as many from Westport were back then.
I thought then that this would make for a good sign related story for a trade magazine
that I had started with a friend signpainter, Doc Welty, in 1995. It wasn’t until 2005 before
I finally began to seriously research information for this story. It started with a 2 mile trip
to Tom’s house and he was more than happy to share what he could and pose for a picture
of himself holding the framed cover. Next via the internet I was able to talk to a grand-
daughter of Stevan’s and she gave me some names of some men who knew him well. Also
via the internet I learned that Stevan was one of the founders of the Famous Artist School.
When I was 9 or 10 my mother had me “Draw the Boxer” dog perhaps 10 times before one
suited her well enough to send off to... Westport, Connecticut for submission. I never finished the course but still have the
lesson books. I also now have Stevan’s book “American Realist” and also my very own copy of the December 4th 1943
Saturday Evening Post thanks to Ebay. I had a telephone conversation with Howard Munce from Westport who also has
his name on the cover. He shared with me his story of how he learned of the cover and of some of the other men he was
friends with whose names could also be found on the cover. I asked him about what ever became of the actual Honor
Roll sign...as far as he knows it was dismantled after the war and to his knowledge not one piece of it has be found.