Tuesday, March 27, 2018


From the Sub-Basement of the Archives: The Yellow Kid in The Monthly World

The Monthly Edition of the New York World seems to have been pretty well lost to history. From the few examples I have and the few tidbits of information I find online, I gather it was sold nationally by subscription in the 1880s and 90s. The tabloid issues contains newsy material plus a mix of history, fiction and general articles of the sort you'd find  in the likes of Harper's Monthly. I gather that the main incentive to subscribe was that each January issue was a monstrous thick World Almanac and Encyclopaedia, often weighing in at more than 500 pages of material ... though a healthy percentage of that was advertisements.

I only have two issues, and the first is from March 1896. There are a few cartoons in it, all reprinted from Punch, with credit. However, in the August issue, as seen above, Pulitzer offered their own homegrown cartoons, including one by Outcault that has the Yellow Kid in a supporting role. I was quite thrilled to discover that, but then found that the cartoon is not original to this publication  -- Bill Blackbeard's book The Yellow Kid reproduces the cartoon and credits it to the July 5 1896 edition of the regular New York World. Oh well, it was pretty exciting to think I'd found an unknown Kid cartoon for awhile ...


There used to be variant versions of big city papers, apparently for distant mail subscribers. They weren't really full of news, as they would be quite stale by the time they arrived, so they were mostly full of feature stuff or the scandal and horror material that the Sunday editions were famous for. (A tradition far longer in evidence in Britain, where the term "Sunday Papers" is used to describe precisely this type of journalism.)
I used to have some other editions of the monthly World from the 1890s, one I recall had for its main story a ghastly tale of a medieval central European queen who ritually would bathe in the blood of her teenaged virgins, prompting her terrible overthrow. I'm sure it wasn't real. Another had a story about an African tribe of men living in trees that had tails.
There was a monthly version of the Chicago Inter-Ocean and for years, right into the WWI era, the "Atlanta Tri-Weekly Constitution".
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