Saturday, March 07, 2020


What the Cartoonists are Doing, March 1916 (Vol.9 No.3)

[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.]

From the Christian Science Monitor
Now that the cartoon has become such an established feature of modern journalism, it is interesting to note its origin and development, and to see wherein it differs from its predecessor, the caricature. Caricature, which dates back beyond the middle ages, is the art of applying the grotesque to the purposes of satire, and takes the form of pictorial ridicule and burlesque. Both in letters and in art it seems to have touched high-water mark in the eighteenth century. We may cite, as its most notable examples, the fierce grotesques of Swift, the keen ironies of Henry Fielding, the masterly moralities of Hogarth, to mention only a few. All of these were characterized by a certain violence of expression which, in the later days of reserve and restraint, appeared quite monstrous.

It was after the downfall of Napoleon (1815) when strife was over that a change in matter and manner came about. And just as in those days of peace the manner of caricature became less violent and more restrained so in these bellicose times a tendency to overexaggerate has become noticeable in some of the cartoons of today, though many have been worthy of high praise. But the adoption of the cartoon in place of caricature practically amounted to the laying aside of the purely brutal and violent methods of the latter, for the really much more effective weapons of wit and humor, and it is unlikely that the blunderbuss methods of a Rowlandson or a Gillray will ever again become popular.

The credit for the title and, to a great extent, for the character of the cartoon seems to belong to the London Punch, which, at the time of the great exhibition of “cartoons” (1843) held for the purpose of selecting designs for the decorations in fresco of the new Houses of Parliament, jocularly ranged itself alongside the great artists of the day. The weekly cartoon quickly became an established favorite, not a weapon of venomous attack, but a humorous or sarcastic comment upon the topic uppermost in the nation's thought. In the case of the cartoon, the title plays an important part and is not simply a label to the picture, any more than the picture itself is an illustration to a title. The first Punch cartoon was by John Leach, and the title ran thus, “Substance and Shadow: the Poor Ask for Bread and the Philanthropy of the State Accords—an Exhibition.”


"Dreams,” says a writer in the Interstate Medical Journal (St. Louis), “have to be interpreted if we would know their meaning.”

In this respect, he says, cartoons also need interpreting. As an example he cites a cartoon (minus its familiar labels) of Mars consulting a timepiece beside a lamp post labeled “Spring.”

“You see here,” the writer continues, “a picture of a man, who, judging from the armor he wears, would seem to belong to the time of Julius Caesar. Nevertheless, he stands near a very modern lamp-post on a curb of what one would suppose to be Spring Street. He holds in one hand a watch of remarkable size and in the other a bouquet composed of flowers and bayonets. The picture, in short, gives the same impression of absurdity as do most of our dreams, and, like a dream, it would tempt one who saw it for the first time to say that it had neither sense nor meaning.

“But though this picture may seem as absurd as our dreams, it comes not from a dream but from a newspaper. It is a cartoon with the title ‘This Is the Place, but Where's the Girl?' and it appeared in a recent issue of the New York Times. It expresses a thought in much the same way that thoughts are expressed in dreams — namely, by indirect representation. Hence the picture, like a dream, has to be interpreted before we can learn its meaning.

“The artist was obliging enough to label his symbols. In the original of this picture the sheet of paper which lies upon the sidewalk in front of the man was inscribed with the words ‘Italy to go to war in the spring,' and the tag attached to the bouquet which the man carries bore the words 'For Miss Italy.' By the aid of these hints the picture is very readily interpreted. Evidently the thought it expresses is something like this: ‘Italy, like a fickle girl, has failed to join in the war at the time expected.' But notice the indirect representation. The artist has used as symbols a man, a bouquet, and a lamp-post to express a thought about something entirely different—namely, the attitude of a country toward expectant militarism.

“Now, this is exactly the method of representation that is used in dreams. There is this one difference, however. The symbols used in the dream are not labeled as the artist has labeled the symbols in the picture.”


It is not often that the ladies make a success of political cartooning, but Miss Edwina Dumm, of the Columbus Saturday Monitor, refuses to be handicapped by precedent. No subject is too big for her to wrestle with, and in the pages of the Monitor she interprets world events in real masculine cartoons. One of her recent drawings is reproduced herewith. In addition to her cartoon work Miss Dumm draws an entertaining feature page for her newspaper, in which the week's events are seen in scrambled form.

[I corrected Dumm's surname as it was consistently misspelled Dunn in this article. -- Allan]

George McManus, of “Bringing Up Father” fame, entertained a few friends at one of New York's table-d'hôte palaces the other night. Among the guests was an Englishman, who presumably had left his native land to prevent himself from being a slacker.

Ray Rohn, one of the staff artists of Judge, engaged him in conversation. “Do you go in for sports of any kind?” he asked.

“Oh, my eye!” was the reply. “I should say so! Rawthaw! I am passionately fond of dominoes.”

Ray in the excitement broke the crystal of his wrist watch.


W. O. Fitzgerald has been engaged as staff cartoonist on Dome Echoes, a San Francisco publication.

A recent cartoon by Nelson Harding in the Brooklyn Eagle furnished the text for a sermon at the mission of St. Gabriel's Protestant Episcopal Church of Brooklyn by the Rev. Walter Du Moulin, of Hamilton, Canada. The cartoon was entitled “Civilization,” and represented a building of noble proportions, the cornice broken, and the walls shattered and crumbling. In the middle distance a group of tiny figures of savages is seen, while the background shows deserted wastes.

A. B. Chapin, the St. Louis Republic cartoonist, besides making a daily cartoon, assists in getting out a special feature page for his paper. During the past year most of the material for this page was gathered outside of St. Louis, and Chapin in pursuit of it has traveled more than 10,000 miles, mostly in Illinois and Missouri. This necessitated his working ahead on his cartoons, but “General interest” and “Human interest,” he says, came nobly to the rescue while he was away.

 A series of these sketches, drawn many years ago, by the British nurse shot by the Germans as a spy, have been reproduced as postcards by a London firm.


Fay King, the Denver cartoonist, whom Battling Nelson, the former lightweight fisticuffs champion, brought back as a bride to Hegewisch, Ill., some months ago, has been made defendant in a divorce suit in the Superior Court of Cook County. The “Durable Dane,” as Nelson is known professionally, charges that Mrs. Nelson never loved him, but regarded him merely as a “lil' pal,” and refused to be the queen of Hegewisch. Letters by Mrs. Nelson, introduced as evidence, and referring to the ex-champion as a “Dear little woolly lamb,” admitted that she never loved him, but was “very grateful—that's all.”

In the modest little thumb-box gallery at 24 East Forty-Ninth Street, New York, Boardman Robinson, the former New York Tribune cartoonist, has been showing a collection of drawings made during his recent tour through the war zones of Serbia, Russia, and Saloniki. Says one New York critic of the exhibition, “One comes away with the conviction that here is an artist who draws with greater authority than anyone else in America. His powers of observation are extraordinary.”

Robert Minor, of the New York Call, who went to Europe recently to “rip the brass buttons off the war,” has returned. Billed as “The great socialistic cartoonist,” he has been giving lectures on the folly of preparedness. “War,” says Mr. Minor, “is like a Kentucky mountain feud. Such terms as ‘national honor' and ‘Belgian neutrality,' are only used to make dupes of the soldiers. I'm sick of it all, and bring back an uncommon contempt for the Roosevelt type of patriot.”

Broadway has something new to talk about. It is the great whisker contest waged between Herb Roth and Ray Rohn. The former is cartoonist for the metropolitan section of the New York World. The latter draws regularly for Judge. The two are room mates.

Roth bet Rohn $50 that if he, Roth, let his whiskers grow, and frequented restaurants and theaters, he would be arrested. Rohn agreed to let his beard grow, also, with the understanding that the first to be arrested would win the $50. O. O. McIntyre, manager of the Bushnell cartoon service, was appointed stakeholder. The New York Telegram is issuing daily bulletins on the progress of the contest.

To the Editor: I have just read Mr. Daake's letter in the February Cartoons Magazine, and I do hope he will believe me sincere when I tell him that never for a moment did I dream of taking a slap at the great army of contributors who never land, when I referred to them as “fame-chasers.”

Good Heavens! All of us who have ambition are that—and why not? I’m one, and glad of it. Moreover, I’ve cooled my heels in many an outer office, and despaired of ever getting beyond the gate. Everybody has to sit outside and watch other folks go in at the beginning of the game.

The spirit of my work is always kind, and I was surprised that someone had found in it a “sneer.” There's no one dearer to my heart than an ambitious amateur, for no one realizes more than I do how hard it is to “break in"—and without wishing to boast—I’ve helped and encouraged a lot of them.

Really, I'm awfully hurt in being accused of superciliousness—it is so foreign to my disposition. My point of view was merely that of one sitting on the bench and watching the big ones breeze in. I ought to know what it feels like to be thrown down. I bet I've got the largest collection of editorial regrets in captivity, but being a persistent “fame-chaser,” I’ve had the nerve to keep on trying.

Oh, no. There was no sarcasm in that story of mine! Just facts as I’ve found them as an amateur and a “fame-chaser,” in moods both timid and overconfident.

Donnell, dean of the St. Louis cartoonists, has become a strenuous Civic Leaguer. He lives in Webster Grove, and the citizens of that leafy suburb evidently have thought well enough of “Don” to elect him chairman of their town-boosting committee. While riding back and forth on the Missouri Pacific the cartoonist finds himself in the midst of spirited committee meetings, the Webster Grovites looking to him for inspiration.

Tuthill, of the St. Louis Star, in addition to his daily cartoon, has been turning out a comic strip entitled “Lafe.” Lafe is a character afflicted with rather more than his share of laziness. The same hardly can be said of Tuthill.

[I can find no evidence of this strip in the Star or elsewhere -- Allan]


Walter W. Hubbard has left the Baltimore Star, and is now staff cartoonist for the Binghamton (N. Y.) Press and Leader. He announces also the arrival of a baby boy.


Those who have smiled at Helena Dayton-Smith's little clay figures that have appeared from time to time in Cartoons Magazine will be interested in knowing that they will make their debut in real life in the Ziegfeld “Follies of 1916.” Girls will be dressed up to represent Mrs. Dayton's “caracatypes,” and the artist herself will write the lines for them to speak. Mrs. Dayton also has written a play for a Broadway producer.

James Navoni, formerly of the San Francisco Call, has for several months been in the employ of a travelogue concern, and has been zigzagging here and there across the country.

“During my travels,” he writes, “it has been my good fortune to come into contact with people of all types and classes. You can't deny that Mr. Knock-about-a-bit is quite a valuable teacher. At any rate, he has helped me toward a better understanding of human nature, the cartoonist's great est asset.”

Louis Raemaekers, the Dutch cartoonist, has been appointed Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur. M. Forain, of the staff of Le Figaro, Paris, was delegated to deliver the insignia to the distinguished artist.

E. W. Gale has Left the Los Angeles Times to Draw a Comic Strip Entitled “Mr. Wad and His Family” for the Wheeler Syndicate of New York.

After acting for a whole day at a Brooklyn movie studio, two Brooklyn Eagle men have come to the conclusion that they are not cut out for heroes. Zere, of the art staff, and H. L. Meyer, of the reportorial department of that newspaper, were sent out to the studio recently as supers, and were told to record their experiences in black and white.

Within a few minutes they found themselves in the midst of a five-reel political muddle which kept them busy for two hours. From the political maelstrom they were thrust headlong into the sixteenth century. The artist and the writer wriggled into doublet and hose, were laughed at by the professionals, and yelled at by the director. It was in this scene that they experienced their first genuine stage fright. Restoratives had to be administered before they were able to record their impressions.

R. M. Brinkerhoff, in New York Evening Mail

The captain's just home from a voyage
Clear from the porch to the stair.
The sea was the floor and the ship there he sailed
Was the seat of our old rocking chair.
So now in the harbor he climbs to my knee
And begs for the story I tell
Of the land in the skies where the dream people live
And the elfmen and gobolins dwell.
So sailing the ocean we both fall asleep!
Our dream ship is off for the West!
My silver'd head droops till it rests on the gold
Of my baby's asleep on my breast.
Baby and I go a-sailing
Over the land and the deep.
The land that we find is the land of our dream,
And the sea that we find there is sleep.


Hy Mayer, whose work is known to all readers of Puck, is a designer of costumes as well as a cartoonist. Mr. Mayer designed the costumes which were worn at the recent banquet at Delmonico's given by the Bohemians, an organization of New York musicians, in honor of Mischa Elman.


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