... A senior said to me at lunch, 'Congrats for being up on the College Hall Bulletin Board again.' (Smith girls in the news, you know.) So, full of curiosity, I hurried over. [...] I stood for a full five minutes laughing. It was one of those cartoon and personality write-ups titled 'Teen Triumphs.' There was a sketch of a girl s'posed to be me--writing, also a cow [...] All this effusive stuff appeared in the Peoria, Illinois, Star on January 23. Beats me where they got the sea stuff. I just laughed and laughed." (Letters Home, 66-67, please note the date assigned in Letters Home, 25 February 1951, is the postmark date. The letter is dated by Plath "Saturday", which was the 24th that year.)
The text from the cartoon reads:
BORN TO WRITE
Sylvia Plath, 17, really works at writing. To get atmosphere for a story about a farm she took a job as a farm hand. Now, she's working on a sea story.
And I'll get a job on a boat.
A national magazine has published two of her brain children! -- The real test of being a writer.
The little Wellesley, Mass., blonde has won a full scholarship to Smith College.
This cartoon (pictured below) was by Stookie Allen; a collection of his cartoons was published in 1955 under the title Keen Teens. I examined a copy at the Library of Congress recently and was disappointed that the Plath cartoon did not make it.
Plath had a copy of this cartoon in her publications scrapbook (Lilly Library, Plath mss II, Box 15, page 8). Along with this is a card from Margot MacDonald from Seventeen. The copy in Plath's scrapbook seems to be a proof of the cartoon, as it has "RELEASE TUESDAY, JANUARY 23, 1951" at the top. Based on this connection to Seventeen, and some of the information in the book Keen Teens, I believe Stookie Allen found out about Plath from an employee on the magazine: maybe even from Margot MacDonald herself. The national magazine that had "published two of her brain children" was certainly Seventeen as in their August and November 1950 issues, they published her story "And Summer Will Not Come Again" and her poem "Ode to a Bitten Plum."
The cartoon itself was published on page A-9 of that January 23, 1951 issue of the Peoria Star. It may be that this was the first "article" about Plath's work! Many thanks must go to Cindy Wright (Reference Services) and Deb Bier (Reference Librarian) at the Peoria Public Library for supplying me with a scan of the cartoon from their microfilm holdings.