Saturday, October 05, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing: May 1914, Vol.5 No.5

[Cartoons Magazine, debuting in 1912, was a monthly magazine devoted primarily to reprinting editorial cartoons from U.S. and foreign newspapers. Articles about cartooning and cartoonists often supplemented the discussion of current events.

In November 1913 the magazine began to offer a monthly round-up of news about cartoonists and cartooning, eventually titled "What The Cartoonist Are Doing." There are lots of interesting historical nuggets in these sections, and this Stripper's Guide feature will  reprint one issue's worth each week.

Illustrations used here did not necessarily appear with the original articles.]

Joseph W. Craig, cartoonist of the Council Bluffs Nonpareil, perpetrated a cartoon a little while ago which called forth several columns of comment from the rural readers of that paper. As will be observed, the cartoon depicted the operation of milking a cow. Every farmer who reads the Nonpareil wrote in and wanted to know how in thunder the artist thought you could milk a cow from the left side without having the derned critter kick the pail over. The editor of the Nonpareil found a clever way of squaring the cartoonist and the paper in the following editorial:

“Originality, in whatsoever line of work it may appear, is sure of its reward, and the rewards are by no means of a stingy character in many walks of life. It is the original man who forges to the top of any business or profession, and the adage about the room at the top was invented especially for the original man.

“An instance of originality—and its reward—is shown in the cartoonist's conception of the prosaic pastime of milking a cow in a cartoon published the other day in the Nonpareil. President Wilson was shown to be sitting at the left side of the animal filling his buckets with desired legislation, while the animal herself, representing congress, seemed to be greatly enjoying the process.

“The people, leaning over the fence, remarked that it was the first time the old cow had ever been milked, seeming to enjoy the fact that all President Wilson's predecessors had endeavored in vain to milk the cow in the regulation manner from the right side, while Wilson had gone at the process of getting the desired legislation from the unorthodox, but successful, left side.

“However he does it, and whether he has been 'milking' congress from the right side or the left side, Wilson seems to be getting the “milk.’

“Anyhow, originality always pays.”

The first national exhibit of original drawings by the newspaper cartoonists of America was opened in St. Louis on February 21. More than 150 pictures were contributed, more than filling the available wall space in the gallery of the Artists' Guild and overflowing into the reception hall.

Among the cartoonists represented were John T. McCutcheon of the Chicago Tribune, Boardman Robinson of the New York Tribune, Rollin Kirby, Maurice Ketten, C. B. Macauley, Robert Minor and Al Frueh of the New York World, O. E. Cesare of the New York Sun, Fred Morgan of the Philadelphia Inquirer, L. D. Bradley of the Chicago News, Fontaine Fox of the Chicago Post, R. O. Evans of the Baltimore American; Herbert Johnson of the Saturday Evening Post; A. B. Chapin of the St. Louis Republic; Fitzpatrick and Knott of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Tuthill of the St. Louis Star; Elmer Donnell of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat; George Bellows, Fred Mayer, and many others equally well known.

According to newspaper dispatches, Evan Burton Johnson, a newspaper cartoonist, who until recently was convict No. 8,734 in the California state penitentiary, literally cartooned his way out of prison, after being sentenced for an admitted forgery committed when intoxicated. His sentence was commuted by Gov. Hiram W. Johnson.

“My time in prison was not without profit." he said, admitting that he was the "court jester” of the penitentiary. “What sort of work did I do? I didn’t work. I simply refused to. When I was sent to the prison farm, I drew a picture of a cow in convict stripes. I called it “Chewing the Cud of Reflection!’”

“I began cartooning my way out the end of the first week. I was bitter over the 'jam' I had got into and I started in on some of the officials. Each one was displeased until he saw the cartoons I made of the others. Then he laughed. By and by some 200 of my drawings were hanging on the walls of prison offices.”

Johnson's first cartoon to wend its way to the governor was entitled “Dead Leaves” and showed the calendar leaves of his four year sentence fluttering down to obliterate him. This he followed by others, about personal and political friends, until the governor became interested and was finally convinced that Johnson was not of criminal caliber.

Johnson wrote a three-act play in prison and evolved a miniature comic doll in stripes, which he sometimes gave away accompanied by a rhyme on how to keep out of jail.

Johnson, who is 33 years old, has a position with an advertising concern in Portland, Ore. He entered the field of art when he was 15 years old as a staff member of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Later he was in turn employed as staff artist, specializing on sociological and political cartoons, on the New York Evening World, and Denver Rocky Mountain News, the Philadelphia Press, and other newspapers.

“It was while a member of the staff of the Rocky Mountain News that, at the direction of the owner, Senator Thomas Patterson,” said Johnson, “I drew a cartoon entitled 'The Political Slaughter House,' directed against the Supreme Court of Colorado, which resulted in the citation of Senator Patterson for contempt and the imposition of a fine of $1,755. The case was carried to the United States Supreme Court twice and in the end a fine was paid.”

William Kemp Starrett, who has been the cartoonist of the Albany Knickerbocker Press for the last two years, has cut loose from his salary and returned to New York, where he purposes drawing cartoons on a “free-lance” basis. For the time being Abe Lipschutz is doing the cartoons for the Knickerbocker Press.

Starrett is no stranger to the free-lance game. His first cartoon work was done in New York, and while he contributed cartoons to the Brooklyn Eagle, New York Evening Sun, the World and various syndicates, he didn't settle down to a steady salaried job until he went to Rochester as sport cartoonist of the Democrat and Chronicle. From there he went to Albany, where he arrived in time to take a big part in the political upheaval that has kept Albany and the state of New York stirred up for the last two years. Starrett's cartoons in connection with the impeachment of Governor Sulzer, many of which have been reprinted in Cartoons Magazine, were easily among the most forceful and biting comments upon that remarkable proceeding. His conception of Boss Murphy was a bit of characterization that set the mark for other cartoonists all over the country to work up to. Recently he has done the illustrations for James Malcolm's book, “Tammany's Treason.”

Starrett is twenty-five years old and was going to be a physician until he discovered that he could draw cartoons better than he could write prescriptions.

There are three newspapers in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Likewise, there are three cartoonists—Lew Tower on the News, Ray Barnes on the Herald, and Tom Vidro on the Press.

Roy K. Moulton, humorist of the Grand Rapids News, perpetrated this one the other day:

“It is a pleasure to observe the Cartoonists' union of Grand Rapids, which starts out its career with a great membership.
“The officers of the Cartoonists' union are:
“President—Lew Tower.
“Vice President and Treasurer–Tom Vidro.
“Secretary and General Manager—Ray Barnes.
“Directors—Lew Tower, Tom Vidro and Ray Barnes.
“Executive Committee – Ray Barnes, Tom Vidro and Lew Tower.
“Sick Committee—Tom Vidro, Lew Tower and Ray Barnes.
“Ways and Means Committee—Lew Tower, Ray Barnes and Tom Vidro.”

It isn't every day that a newspaper cartoonist gets such an endorsement from the pulpit as did Doane Powell of the Omaha Bee recently. The Reverend T. J. Collar, rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Omaha, referred in his Sunday morning sermon to one of Mr. Powell's cartoons, which appeared in that morning's issue of the Bee. The picture was of the infant New Year sowing the seeds of smiles, hope, love, optimism, sunshine, cheer and charity. The preacher advised his congregation to study the cartoon and shape their lives along the lines which it suggested. He took occasion to add that Mr. Powell's drawings are real works of art and worthy of careful study by everyone. As the church is located in the neighborhood where Mr. Powell grew up and in which he is known to almost everyone personally, the minister's remarks made a great impression.

In view of the interest in the work of Sir John Tenniel awakened by his death, the director of the Print Gallery in the New York Public Library has arranged a “memorial show” of Tenniel's work in the Stuart Gallery, on the top floor of the library building.
"Dropping the Pilot"

Through this exhibition the visitor may review Tenniel's career, through his cartoons and illustrations. Of his Punch cartoons there are shown, among others, his first (1851); the famous one showing the British lion springing at the Indian tiger (1857); many of his inimitable hits at Disraeli and Gladstone, the noted “Dropping the Pilot” and some of the Lincoln caricatures, as well as the design—in which he and Tom Taylor made their amende honorable—published on the death of the martyr President.
A strong note of forceful seriousness runs through all his work, but Tenniel could be quaintly humorous, as may be seen in various title pages for Punch here shown. A similar vein is apparent also in his delightful drawings for “Through the Looking Glass,” which offer what, to many, are the accepted conceptions of the Walrus, the Chess King, the Hatter and the March Hare, and the rest of the company. Other books illustrated by him are shown here, including his one venture into Dickens Land, the “Haunted Man.”

The little show takes place in this gallery, while the memorial exhibits of the work of John Leech, his predecessor on Punch, are still on both here and in the Grolier Club.

Several editors to whom the question of “The Front Page Cartoon vs. the Editorial Page Cartoon” was submitted replied too late for their views to be included in the symposium on this subject which Cartoons Magazine published last month. D. P. Toomey, managing editor of the Dallas News, writes:

“I should think it would depend on the character of the cartoon. If the cartoon is strictly editorial in nature, that is, expressive of the editorial opinion of the paper on a political issue, for example, I would put it on the editorial page. If it is a cartoon based on news events I think it should take the first page.”

Scott C. Bone, editor of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, says: “In my thirty years of newspaper experience I have never found it the part of wisdom to fix and enforce a rule governing the use of cartoons. I use the cartoon interchangeably on the front page and editorial page. In my opinion a cartoon of peculiar and striking timeliness and emphasizing a bit of news of the day belongs on first page.”

Arthur M. Howe, Managing Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, writes: “The Eagle, as a rule, prints cartoons on the page opposite the editorial page, which seems from experience to be the most suitable for our purposes. Occasionally, when Mr. Harding produces an exceptionally large cartoon, say of five columns in width, we run it in our Picture Section; or when a subject of extraordinary importance is treated by him it goes on the first page. If our publishing of cartoons were resolved into a choice between the front page and the editorial page I would unhesitatingly prefer the latter.”

From these expressions and those which were published in this magazine for April, it is apparent that there is, in the opinion of newspaper editors, no hard-and-fast rule for the placing of the cartoon that can be applied to every paper, or in every case to any particular paper. The one point, however, on which they are all agreed, is that the cartoon should not be treated as a thing apart, but considered, as to its importance and consequent placement in the paper, on the same basis as the rest of the contents—as news, if it is a news cartoon; as an editorial, if it is an editorial cartoon; as a joke if it is merely “funny.”

Cartoonist Elmer Donnell of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat occupied the pulpit of the Union Methodist church in that city on Sunday evening, March 15. Mr. Donnell gave a “chalk-talk,” in the course of which he reproduced several of his best known cartoons, including one which gained for him more than local fame, entitled “The Refuge,” which appeared in the Globe-Democrat the morning after the sinking of the Titanic. The subject of his talk was “Keep Smiling.”

Cleveland newspaper artists recently held a public exhibition of their work at the Hotel Statler in that city. Among the artists exhibiting were Ralph Horton, S. G. Barrick, J. H. Donahey, J. W. Donahey, Earl E. McClure, H. E. Russell, H. C. Temple, Henry Maust and R. H. Sheehan of the Plain Dealer; Robert W. Satterfield, cartoonist; Lee W. Stanley, L. J. Buttner, Tom Carvon, Livingston J. Haff, William Powers and L. W. Redner of the Press; Paul Van Tuyl, Ole May, H. E. Munhall, Dan Rudolph, R. J. Scott, George Steck and Miss L. W. Hunter of the Leader and News.

The exhibition lasted a week and was free to the public. It attracted a great deal of attention and a large number of original cartoons and drawings were sold.


Carey C. Orr, cartoonist of the Nashville Tennesseean, was married on March 25 to Miss Cherry Maud Kindel of that city. The cartoon on this page was one of the results.

John T. McCutcheon, cartoonist of the Chicago Tribune, recently lectured at Elyria, O., on “The Philosophy of the Cartoon.”

The St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press is distributing “Hanny's Cartoons,” a review of selected cartoons from the pen of William Hanny, printed in the News-Press during the past year. Mr. Hanny's work has commanded high praise. Many specimens of his work have been reproduced in this magazine. The News-Press Cartoon Review contains about seventy-five selections showing Mr. Hanny's conception of questions of the day.

“Grins—by Satterfield's Little Bear” is the title of a clever little “newspaper” which was circulated at the annual meeting of the Associated Ohio Dailies in February. Satterfield's cartoons, needless to say, occupied fully as much space as the text.

Stanley Martin, a cartoonist, was found dead in his room in the Central Hotel, San Francisco, on Feb. 26. The gas jets had been turned on, evidently with suicidal intent. Martin had been without employment for some time, and the night before his death complained to a friend that he was tired of walking the streets.

Commenting on the ability of Sir John Tenniel and Thomas Nast to draw effective and stinging political cartoons without rendering the persons cartooned grotesque, the Philadelphia Record in a recent editorial says:

“The English cartoonists slightly emphasize a physical peculiarity, like Mr. Gladstone's nose, or the curl on Disraeli's forehead, or the rotundity of Campbell Bannerman's countenance, but they never make the face grotesque or repulsive. Boss Tweed was identified in Spain by one of Nast's cartoons. Who would recognize Mark Hanna or Charles F. Murphy from the disgusting monstrosities labeled with their names that have brought notoriety and fortune to some of our own caricaturists?

“In preserving the best traditions of the art of pictorial satire, so strikingly exemplified by Tenniel and Nast, The Record is far in advance of nearly all its contemporaries. To go back to the campaign of 1904, take De Mar's satire at Roosevelt's militarism, his campaign hat and sword balanced in the scales against the Constitution and the statutes. Among very recent cartoons are Senator Penrose 'At the Rubicon,' the ghost of Lincoln contemplating the ruins of the Republican party, 'Waiting for the Signal,' in which the Interstate Commerce Commission is setting the signal against the train of prosperity, and ‘A One-Stringed Solo,' Penrose playing on a 'cello in which a careful observer will recognize the totem of the G. O. P. These are not caricatures; they are not the scrawls that children might make on slates. They are not offensive in a personal sense. But they are stinging political cartoons, quite in the style of Tenniel and Nast.”


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