Wednesday, July 27, 2022


Early Eddie Eks Cartoon


Eddie Eksergian's cartooning career prior to 1901 is pretty much a blank for me; it was that year that he published his first series with both the McClure Syndicate, based in New York, and World Color Printing, based in St. Louis. But those are series cartoons, and those were the exception rather than the rule in those days. Above is a one-shot cartoon I recently found in the Sunday section of the New York Herald for November 14 1897, over three years before he'd pen his first series cartoon,when Eddie was just 24 years old. 

Eddie was living in Brooklyn at this time, so it's not surprising that he was shopping cartoons around at the New York papers. His trademark zaniness is not in evidence; this cartoon is a pointed little political barb about women's suffrage, made theoretically funny because the giver and receivers are both little kids. 

The circumstances shown in the cartoon are a mystery -- it is supposed to occur the day after elections, but November 1897 was an off-year. The only important election in New York that year was for a judgeship, and my research doesn't seem to indicate that suffrage was an issue in it. It doesn't even seem to refer back to the 1896 presidential election, as McKinley was famously silent on the suffrage issue, and his wife was very much for it. So what election this cartoon refers to I cannot say.

I'll look a bit more, but the previous fortnight (November 3-6), there had been the annual womens' suffrage convention in upstate New York (Geneva, in the finger lakes region). The New York Times for November 6, 1897 has a paragraph on it. The November 7, 1897 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has a somewhat friendly account of Susan B. Anthony's speech there. I agree with you, though: I'm not finding any 1897 matters tied to womens' suffrage in the off-year elections.
It probably just means an ongoing situation, not soomething to comment on any particular contest. Eks was pretty bad in 1897- the figures are so out o proportion they look like they might be from two different cartoons. Look at the size of the boy's head compared to the girls.
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