Harvey Kurtzman first spotted the image on a postcard pinned to the office bulletin board of Ballantine Books editor Bernard Shir-Cliff. "It was a face that didn't have a care in the world, except mischief," recalled Kurtzman. --Wikipedia entry for Alfred E. Neuman
The postcard shown here was produced by the Western Stationery Company, which appears to have been headquartered in Yachats, Oregon, in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The image of the round-faced, big-eared, gap-toothed boy has been around a while, at least from the 1890s. Western Stationery distributed cartoon postcards, and it may be one of their cards that was the inspiration for Mad magazine’s Alfred E. Neuman. Or maybe not.