Saturday, November 02, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing, October 1914 (Vol.6 No.4)

[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.]

War with its grim horrors has inspired the cartoonists with a mania for drawing skeletons. As one editor has expressed it, “they can draw skeletons by this time with their eyes shut.” Mars with his shin guards and helmet has been trotted out, while the European menagerie— the German eagle, the Gallic chanticleer, the British lion, and the Belgian hare, now make their bow.

In a way, the American cartoonists are handicapped. It is hard for them to grasp the subtleties of international politics, and their tendency is to jump at a conclusion. Then there is the necessity for remaining neutral. President Wilson has made his plea for “personal neutrality,” which phrase doubtless includes newspaper cartoons. Although the Kaiser is the most caricatured man in Europe, and the Germans themselves take surprising liberties with their ruler, the efforts of American cartoonists in that direction are frowned on. So it will be readily seen that a cartoonist takes a risk when he lampoons either the kaiser, the czar, or any of the other European monarchs as it was possible to lampoon Huerta during the recent Mexican unpleasantness. As no great leader or hero has as yet made his appearance on the horizon, it has been difficult to introduce a personal element.

The war on the food speculators, the possibility of extending our commerce, Japan’s slap at Germany in the Far East, Belgium's plucky defense, the United States' sympathy and neutrality, and similar subjects, however, have given the cartoonists plenty of material. The British artists have confined themselves mostly to the work of stirring up patriotism, and have shown little bitterness toward Germany. Most of the British newspapers, as have several of those in America, have omitted the cartoon, the space (and in England, white paper) being too valuable. On the whole, the work of the American artists has been creditable, and cartoon history of the great events now pending should be well worth recording and preserving. It should be understood that the selection of cartoons for this issue has been made impartially, and with no intention of giving offense to anybody.


Far be it from anyone to criticise unkindly the noble profession of the cartoonist, but it is only fair those young gentlemen who draw pictures settling all world questions while smoking corncob pipes should be informed the public is getting a bit restive under the sameness of their expressions. First, last and most of the time, the war cartoon consists of a skeleton and not much but a skeleton. In this respect it is precisely identical with the railroad accident cartoon, the mine explosion cartoon, the theatre fire cartoon and Mississippi flood cartoon. A chilly-looking skeleton sat on top of an iceberg in the stock cartoon of the Titanic disaster, and the same old skeleton evidently, despite a little different arrangement of clothing or the entire absence of any, leaned out of the cab of the New Haven engines, blocked the stairway at the burning Collingwood school and amused itself by driving automobiles, surf-bathing and guarding grade crossings until called to duty in the Mexican rebellion.

Now every cartoonist has skeletonized the war news at least three times a week since hostilities began in Europe. They can by this time, no doubt, draw skeletons with their eyes shut, just as the public can see them by the same method. It was so yesterday, today and will be so tomorrow, but about this time the artists should be convinced the community is thoroughly instructed in that branch of anatomy, and should devise something more original than variations in the position of the femur, the fibula, the sternum and the bony framework of the skull.

But then, of course, they won't.—Brooklyn Standard.

John T. McCutcheon
John T. McCutcheon, cartoonist of the Chicago Tribune and war correspondent, who has been for several months with Villa's army in Mexico, left early in August for Europe, where he hopes to join the French forces and report the fighting for the Tribune. Mr. McCutcheon's war experience dates back to the battle of Manila, of which he was an eyewitness. During his short stay in Chicago he contributed a number of striking cartoons to the Tribune.


Among the American tourists stranded in Europe at the outbreak of the war was R. L. Goldberg, the cartoonist. Mr. Goldberg sailed from the war zone on the liner “France” and arrived on his native shores safely.


A series of “safety-first” cartoons, many of them originals, has been collected by Lew R. Palmer, of the State Department of Labor and Industry of Pennsylvania. The cartoons are to be framed and placed on exhibition at the state capitol.

Tapestry plays only a small part in the embellishment of the modern home, but the art is by no means a lost one. Morris & Co., of London, have just produced a fine piece of work, the design of which is based on one of Bernard Partridge's finest Punch Cartoons.

In the tapestry the king is represented standing on a dais, receiving from the four virtues—Peace, Wisdom, Fortitude, and Justice—his shield, helmet, sword, and spear. His right hand rests on a charter and behind is a canopy decorated with the arms of the principal colonies.

In style it represents the craftsmanship of the fifteenth century rather than the more elaborate methods of the Gobelins factory. Though wonderfully sumptuous in effect, the tapestry is woven with great simplicity. Few colors have been used, four or five at most, and the shading is broad and expressive. The design has great distinction.


In case Billy Ireland and we should decide to recede from our position of absolute neutrality, we are always going to attack in mass formation, Billy being the front part and, in fact, practically the whole of the mass, and we cleverly assuming the crouching attitude so effective in assaults on thoroughly manned fortifications.—Ohio State Journal.


The smart newspaper fellows that used to draw cartoons of Uncle Reuben’s whiskers are now editing the columns of farm hints. —Burlington (Vt.) News.

A story going the rounds at Washington anent Secretary Bryan's purchase of the Cabinet wedding gift to Secretary McAdoo, and his bride, who was Miss Wilson, has caused no little amusement, says the Wall Street Journal. According to the popular version, the Cabinet deputized Mr. Bryan to purchase its wedding gift to the Secretary of the Treasury. Mr. Bryan, always practical, wanted to get a useful present, and he consulted Mr. McAdoo.

The Secretary of State suggested that a grandfather's clock would be just the thing.

“Great goodness, Mr. Secretary,” expo tulated Mr. McAdoo, “a grandfather's clock would be the last thing in the world.”

 “Why?” asked Mr. Bryan.

“If I should receive a grandfather's clock from the Cabinet,” explained Mr. McAdoo, “every newspaper paragrapher and cartoonist in the country would make merry at my expense.”

Still, Mr. Bryan couldn't see. And they say that it took Mr. McAdoo twenty minutes to show the Secretary of State the obvious material for jest in the gift of a grandfather's clock, when Mr. McAdoo boasts of a very live and healthy grandchild.

“I seen a cartoon,” the stranger said
As we gassed about the kings
For whom a lot of dupes lie dead—
The news that the cable brings:
“I seen a cartoon”—and then he told -
What the picture he saw had taught—
The story blazoned in pen-lines bold
That the picture-man had wrought.

And the man believed what the picture said
He had seen the thing occur!
Right under his nose he had seen the dead
While the women with eyes a-blur
Were waiting in vain for their loved to come
Again to their empty arms;
He had seen the waste of the soldier home
That followed those “war alarms.”

He “seen a cartoon”—he hadn't read
A lot of the printed text.
He’d glanced at the startling front page head,
Then noticed the picture next.
He hadn’t turned to the wisdom page
Where the editorials are–
He had seen the story as on a stage—
There are millions read just that far!

A cheer for the man who writes his soul
Into “leader” or paragraph;
That sonorously tells of “death's red toll”—
There are scholars on every staff!
But the clinching tale that the sheets purvey.
To the rank and file is borne
By the man who tells it in pictured way
On the front page, night and morn. —Indianapolis Star.

Senator Thornton of Louisiana has a weakness for being cartooned. He is a close double for Santa Claus, and this has led the caricaturists all through his section of the country, and elsewhere, to draw a great variety of pictures of him. In doing so they have made a great hit with Thornton, and this goes whether the pictures were flattering or not. In fact, he has shown a preference for those that were unflattering. Every time he sees a cartoon of himself he tries to get hold of the original to frame and hang in his home.


A cartoon in the Philadelphia Public Ledger depicts the dripping sword of war held in a hand whose fingers are labelled Germany, Austria, England, Russia and France, with the caption, “Each Finger Has Its Share of Blame.” It may be that this is so.–New Haven Register.

Theophile Steinlen
A French cartoonist, known as the “artist-laureate of socialism,” is creating some interest in London and his sketches, now in the Leicester galleries, are inspected by many fashionable visitors. But his subjects are not pleasant, for the most part. His studies are made in the slums and he depicts with skill and unsparing fidelity, tramps, women of the street, young thieves, gutter children, scenes of squalor and misery, choosing these themes rather than the glimpses of beauty and happiness that are found even in dark places.

But people look at the pictures and turn away; they do not buy them for they do not wish to hang them on their walls where they will be constantly reminded of the disagreeable facts of life. Noting this, certain critics charge selfishness upon the well-to do folk who will have none of Steinlen—a determination to make a fictitious world that excludes “mean streets” and their accomplishments.—Indianapolis Star.


Clare Briggs, author of “The Days of Real Sport” and “When a Feller Needs a Friend,” was in Chicago recently looking up old friends. Mr. Briggs left the Chicago Tribune several months ago to join the staff of the New York Tribune.


Will De Beck, cartoonist of the Pittsburgh Gazette-Times, accompanied by Mrs. De Beck, a bride of a few months, has been renewing home ties in Chicago.

Vandals, supposedly of opposite political views to those of Editor Morris McDermut of the Palisade Post, a weekly newspaper published at Grantwood, N. J., recently invaded the Post's printing establishment, smashed the linotype machine, and pied the galleys. Mr. McDermut's paper is nominally Democratic, but of late he has been opposing the Congressional aspirations of Archibald C. Hart, a Democrat. The editor took his misfortune philosophically, and repaired his plant, but new troubles set in apace. Unexpectedly he found himself at a loss to get a cartoon representing what he thought of the Democratic candidate. For the past three months, large front-page cartoons, indicating that the Democratic party will suffer dire calamity if Mr. Hart is re-elected, have been published weekly in the Post. The cartoons have been drawn by a local artist named Terrence, who had gained permission to use a barn behind the home of Carl Emil Ullberg of Edgewood as a studio. Walter Kuhn and several other New York artists also made use of the barn as a studio during the summer months. The other day Mrs. Ullberg heard noises in the converted barn and, on investigation, found three youths inside with a hose.

They ran when they saw her. Mr. McDermut said that the political cartoons Terrence was working on at the time were torn up and that the hose had been turned on a number of paintings Mr. Kuhn had nearly completed.

The Sioux City Tribune, taking one of Darling's recent cartoons as a text, preaches the following little temperance sermon:

“J. N. Darling in a cartoon in the Des Moines Register and Leader strikingly depicts the Iowa political treatment of the liquor issue. The bull moose is represented as being somewhat astonished at seeing himself turned into a camel by the addition of a large prohibition' hump. But in the background are the G. O. P. elephant and the democratic donkey not merely astonished but in trembling consternation exclaiming “It may be our turn next.”

“The cartoon is accurate. It is the prospect of their being compelled to take a stand on this issue and the likelihood if they do, they will be compelled to declare against the liquor traffic, that is causing the old line politicians of the old parties to quake in their shoes. The liquor crowd and the reactionary big business crowd have always hung together. They are very essential to each other. When it becomes necessary for big business to repudiate its friend, the liquor element, it loses the most valuable asset it has had on election day. That's why the elephant and the donkey in Iowa are in a blue funk.”

The one bright spot in the war situation is the fun the sporting cartoonists are getting out of it. Cad Brand's military suggestions in the Milwaukee Sunday Sentinel gets one's mind from the horrors of the battle. Among the suggestions is the consequences to the Germans if prize fighter Jack Johnson joins the French army, and R. Edgren in the Sentinel shows what Hans Wagner might be expected to do with British cannon balls, if he joined the German navy. Well, go it boys, while you have the heart to be funny. The news to come will make many a heartache.—Beloit Free Press.

A recent cartoon in the St. Louis Post Dispatch pictured the “Why” of the “pork barrel" about as aptly as anything could. It showed in the first part the righteous “statesman” standing beside a barrel of “federal appropriations” deprecatingly observing: “I object to the pork barrel”; in the second drawing the same “statesman”, making way with a huge bundle under his arm, labeled “For my constituents,” remarking with a grin, “but l don't mind bringing home the bacon.”

The only point lacking from the cartoon to complete the situation was the one recently brought out by the Bee, that the congressman, after all, is only conforming with the time-honored—or dishonored—demands of his constituents, “Get the bacon.” So, while, perhaps, the congressman ought to take his constituent in hand and educate him up to a higher level of statesmanship than this, few congressmen are apt to do it so long as it would cost them their jobs. The dear people may take most of the blame, therefore, themselves.—Omaha Bee.


Mr. Fitzpatrick's cartoon, referred to above, was widely copied, appearing in the September Cartoons Magazine, as well as in Collier's Weekly and the Literary Digest.


The cartoon series by George McManus, running under the caption of “Bringing Up Father,” has been made into a musical comedy.


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