"This was Rockwell’s very first Saturday Evening Post cover, for which he was paid $75. He wrote, “In those days the cover of the Post was the greatest show window in America for an illustrator. If you did a cover for the Post you had arrived. . . . Two million subscribers and then their wives, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, friends. Wow! All looking at my cover.”
This is one of many covers where Rockwell used children to address a wide-spread masculine anxiety frequently discussed in the national press. Many in the middle-class feared a general effeminization of American life and culture. The anxiety was prompted by a series of social, cultural, and economic shifts that challenged traditional masculine authority. The closing of the frontier, the women’s movement, and the growth of urban, corporate life, for example, were perceived as threats to patriarchal power."