Saturday, September 28, 2019


What The Cartoonists Are Doing: April 1914, Vol. 5 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.

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

When J. H. Donahey, the cartoonist of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, started for Europe a little while ago, he had unexpected company in his stateroom.  The Plain Dealer tells the story thus:

“Cartoonist Donahey is on the high seas -which his friends hope are not unreasonably high-on his way to Egypt and the Nile and Palestine, and to numerous corners of the earth dear to tourist hearts. Mr. Donahey sailed from New York on Jan. 24, and in the midst of other happy-voyage-and-safe-return testimonials he found in his stateroom a genuine surprise.

“The cartoonist has twin fads—bees and geese, and of the two the geese have proved the more troublesome. His pen of stately Toulouse waddlers has been menaced on several occasions by mischievous friends, and not long ago he became involved in a hilarious goose comedy that necessitated the services of an impromptu judge and jury, and was duly chronicled in daily print.

“Yet it isn't probable that he was prepared for the appearance of the long-necked stowaway who cheerily greeted him when he opened a mysterious box in his steamer stateroom.

“It was a fat and lively Toulouse goose, and with it came these explanatory lines:

Behold your fond and faithful goose,
Ripped from her Hillside pen!
Oh, praise the hands that pried her loose,
And bless the thoughtful men I

With ardor greet your feathered friend,
In you her heart delights;
Be with her to the journey's end
And show her all the sights.

As faithful as was Mary's pet
She waddles in your path,
Nor fears the vast and heaving wet
Nor dreads the tempest’s wrath.

Oh, tell to her by Tiber's foam
 The tale so often told,
Of how the geese awakened Rome
In those brave days of old.

By gilded mosque and minaret,
Where Turkey holds its lease,
Oh, lead her on—and don't forget
To point the goose to Greece.

Then on the bosom of the Nile
 Where Time draws out his links,
Let goosie hiss the crocodile
And  quack-quack at the Sphinx!

Beware the hungry Arab's dirk,
Beware the robber fray,
Beware the stone bruise that may lurk
Along the desert way !

Protect with ever ready hand
This webfoot friend of thine,—
Oh, lead her to the Promised Land
And feed her corn and wine.

Where Dead Sea waters thickly flow,
Where Nebo's paths ascend,
On Jordan's banks 'tis well to know
A sympathetic friend.

Then bring her safely home with thee
From land of fig and cruse,
That thousands may come miles to see
The traveled donny goose!”

The cover design for the March number of Cartoons Magazine is a reproduction of Bert Blessington's suggestive cartoon, "Midnight on the Gulf,” recently published in the Post. Besides the cover design, Cartoons Magazine carries in the same issue another of Mr. Blessington's Post cartoons, entitled “Why Not Keep It Quiet?” All cartoonists consider it a signal honor to have their work used as a cover design for this magazine, which is recognized by the cartoonists of the country as practically their official organ and is the best publication of its kind that is issued. The Cartoons Magazine makes its selection of meritorious cartoons irrespective of the artist or publication which he represents. Hence, only talent and originality find a place in it. -Houston Post.

A complete novelty in the way of grievances is that of President Poincaré of France. He sighs because he has not yet been successfully caricatured.

It appears that the French president is a well-rounded, well-balanced personality who offers neither physically nor mentally any handle for the caricaturist to take hold of. Possibly, then, his assumed complaint is but a form of self-congratulation.

Yet the fact remains that to be caricatured in Paris is considered rather chic. The city possesses several clever and incisive pencils and unless one is dealt with by these to some effect one almost doubts his full participation in the social and official life of the capital. A few years ago not to have been touched off by “Sem” was to rank as an outsider.

President Poincaré cannot doubt that he is “in” things—even in the midst of them, says the New York Sun. He may congratulate himself in good earnest if his freedom from peculiarities prevents the caricaturist from planting a barb he might feel during the rest of his life or from clapping on some label that would make him historically ridiculous forever.


Robin Grove, a cartoonist on the St. Louis Times, and Miss Cornelia Harrison have announced their engagement.


In a scholarly article, the Louisville Herald asks this question, and proceeds to answer it thus:

“The question is asked by a great many people and is by no means so readily to be answered as appears on the surface. Originally, of course, an augmented form of ‘card' or rather of its French equivalent ‘carte', just as balloon of ball, it had the special meaning of any sketch executed on strong paper of size sufficient to permit of its transfer or reproduction in fresco or tapestry or the like. Journalistically considered, however, its meaning has been restricted to sketches or pictures that convey an idea, or, accepting the dictionary definition, that deal with a subject political or social. In this sense the graffiti of Pompeii and of the Roman catacombs were cartoons; so were the rude drawings that accompanied the squibs of Pasquin; so are, no less, the blackboard libels on school teachers, the scribblings on public buildings, the untaught protests of the pavement artist.

“In Great Britain the cartoonist has always taken himself seriously; at Punch's weekly dinner Sir John Tenniel would receive his instructions and, so earnest and potent was the work, that it is not too much to say that now and again, he made history; in France ‘Cham,' in private life Count Bertall, kept the seething political broth hot and hotter, while in recent years Simplicissimus, Der Wahre Jakob, Ulk and others have acted as safety valves when ever it was wise for the Teuton to smile and forget. In all these the drawing was of first-rate importance; it counted for as much as the idea, and, when men of the calibre of Caran d'Ache, or Bernard Partridge held the pen, the result was eminently worth while.
“Pre-eminently the home of the cartoon; furnishing the apt comment to an eager public through countless newspapers, prone to label its public men as it does its great political parties, ready to laugh and not unwilling to be laughed at, undeterred by respect for anyone or anybody, unhampered by lèse-majesté, America has nevertheless not infrequently gone abroad for its great cartoonist. Nast was an importation that grew to be more American than the Americans; his fight on Tweed, his discovery of the Tammany Tiger, his terrible onslaught on the Tattooed Man, these probably are unexampled in the history of pictorial journalism. Puck was originally a German publication, and such names as Zimmerman and Kessler betray their origin.

“Perhaps the easiest way to define a cartoon is by a process of elimination, by setting forth what it is not. It must not be, this first of all, it must not be a personal exploitation of the artist, the expression of an individual grievance; it should tell its story so completely that only a pithy sentence is needed to give it point; it cannot be too vigorous and it must not be vulgar or coarse or of questionable taste; if it can hit the mark with economy of material, in a few bold lines, so much the better. It is the realization of these principles that has placed the American cartoonist in the very forefront of those who fight for progress and reform, who instruct while amusing. Their names are household words and we wait on their coming.

“It has been said that to write the songs of a nation is to be preferred to making its laws. For songs read cartoons.”


The following advertisement appeared in a Chicago newspaper recently:

CARTOONIST-COMIC, TO DRAW PICTURES of daily events for window display. Don't have to sit in window. 29 N. Clark-st.

Whaddye mean, “Don’t have to sit in window?”

The mystery of the anti-Hobson cartoons circulated in the Alabama senatorial contest is still stirring the people and the newspapers of that state. Congressman Underwood and his managers have repudiated these cartoons, and their statement that they had nothing to do with their publication or circulation is generally accepted. It has not yet been discovered, however, who is sufficiently interested in the effort to defeat Congressman Hobson to spend $10,000 or so in circulating slanderous cartoons about him. Every voter in Alabama, numbering at least 175,000, is said to have received one or more of these cartoons in a sealed envelope, personally addressed. They were mailed in Birmingham, but farther back than that their origin has not been traced.

Alexander F. W. Leslie, a former newspaper cartoonist, died recently in Brooklyn at the age of 58. He was a member of the staff of the New York World when it was bought by the late Joseph Pulitzer in 1883. At the time of the Johnstown flood, he was the first newspaper correspondent to get a dispatch through to his paper from the ruined city.

Charles H. Winner, who was for several years cartoonist of the Pittsburg Post, has joined the staff of the Harrisburg Patriot, in which his work will appear daily.

Russell Henderson, the sporting-page cartoonist of the Chicago Record-Herald, was recently married to Miss Gladys Scott.


Re "THOSE ANTI-HOBSON CARTOONS" -- I think it was in "The Brass Ring" that Bill Mauldin recounted a youthful effort at self-promotion. He approached opposing campaigns in an upcoming state election and did cartoons for both. When he described his coup to a mentor, that man advised Mauldin to join the army to get out of town before the cartoons ran.
I was intrigued by this item, so I dug a bit into Alabama history. It turns out that Oscar Underwood was House Majority Leader in the U.S. Congress, allied with newly-elected President Woodrow Wilson. One of Alabama's senators died in 1913, opening the seat. Changes in election law led to an argument about how to select a successor, and a fracas followed. Underwood was one of the contenders. He got his chance to run for the full term in 1914.

His rival was Richmond Hobson, a war hero and "staunch prohibitionist." During a raucous campaign Hobson accused Underwood of being in the pocket of the liquor industry, while Underwood attacked Hobson for favoring women's suffrage and direct election of the President. Underwood won by a comfortable margin and remained Senator until 1927.

I would love to see some of those cartoons and contemporary newspapers discussing them

(Much of this background came from
Welcome back!
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]