Obscurity of the Day: The Buchmuellers

Here’s another series from the crazy, wigged-out pen of Eddie Eksergian, the cartoonist most likely to be written up in a psychiatry journal. This one has some fun with a family of German immigrants, employing that oft-used Katzenjammer Kid motif of evil children who live only to torture their elders. Rather than a human pair of little hellions, though, Eksergian uses one little boy, along with his (pants-wearing!) dog and cat as co-conspirators. The series ran in the St. Louis Star, and the few takers of the proto-World Color Printing section, from March 23 1902 to March 1 1903.

I can’t decide if it is surprising, or apropos, that a St. Louis paper singled out German immigrants for satirical treatment. The Gateway to the West was brimming with Germans at the turn of the last century, and they were certainly no downtrodden and ridiculed minority there. Was the Star risking backlash from offended Germans over The Buchmuellers, or did immigrants have a thick skin and could laugh along with jokes about their mangling of the English language?

Thanks very much to Cole Johnson, who supplied these samples.

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