What The Cartoonists Are Doing, August 1914, Vol. 6 No. 2

[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.]

With the waning of public interest in the Mexican situation, the cartoonists, who already had about exhausted every possibility of the subject; who had portrayed Huerta, Villa, and Carranza in as many shapes as Proteus, have been rather at a loss for new ideas. As a result, the cartoons of the month show a decided falling off. The additional drawback of vacation time may also have had something to do with the slump. That the thoughts of the overworked newspaper artists are wandering afield can be gathered from the number of vacation idyls they have been producing.

President Wilson’s antitrust program, the repeal of the tolls on the Panama waterway, and the international polo games have supplied themes of more or less inspiration. Cartoonists who hailed with delight the return of Colonel Roosevelt from South America have found little material in his subsequent activities. President Wilson, when he added the new phrase, “psychological depression,” to the political vocabulary, thus provided about the only oasis in the wilderness.

But then, during the hot weather and an off season in politics, who wants cartoons except as they reflect the joys and vicissitudes of summer time? The “Kid” and vacation cartoons in the present issue will at least afford some variation to the usual themes. The crayon sketches appearing in the Harrisburg Patriot, several of which are reproduced in the August Cartoons, together with Briggs’ eternal joys, “When a Feller Needs a Friend,” are always a delight, and for the weary business man hemmed in by city walls, one can recommend these cartoons as a prescription for what ails him.

“It is a pity,” laments the Dayton News, “we cannot have a new Uncle Sam, constructed to meet the development of the time. One can stand for the old plug hat and the antique coat and trousers, but the chin whiskers are almost too much.

“A chin whisker is the child of indolence. Every man who has tried to shave himself knows that it is the chin that makes the trouble. Every other part of the face can be mowed with comparative ease. The rounded or square corners of the chin, with its bulgings and humps and hollows, perhaps with the round dimple showing “the devil within” — these are real difficulties, and it takes skill with the razor and patience to surmount them. Men who were unwilling to disfigure themselves with full sets of whiskers compromised, permitting nature to have her own sweet way with the chin.

“And this is the easy-going, indolent spirit which has been embalmed in the art of the caricaturists. It is a libel, and everybody knows it in this country. No wonder every puny country in the world thinks it can whip the United States. Uncle Sam and his whiskers are enough to delude them.

Clare Briggs

“However, it is unlikely that there will be any change. And, anyway, Uncle Sam, with all his faults, is a lovable old chap, infinitely more likable than John Bull, that fussy, stupid, big-feeling character that is just as familiar to us.”

” ‘Gee, I wish I had something to do.’

“Cartoonist Briggs of the New York Tribune, originator of ‘Oh, Skinnay,’ and others, has with these words reminded us pleasantly of the desert stretches in our youthful leisure days.

“Who cannot recall dull hours of ‘dooin’ nuthin” and wishing for something to happen? The something usually happened. Its form of occurrence, however, was not always happy. Perhaps an ancient enemy passed. A potato or a green apple shied in his direction frequently started the desired ‘something.’ Later perhaps came remorse.

“The ‘Skinnay’ of the cartoonist was happily a country village product. The tedium of his leisure moments could not carry him far astray. His city bred comrade, on the other hand, is apt to get into serious trouble when nothing interesting is provided for him.

“The possibility of playtime is one of the most important discoveries men and women have made during the past generation.” — Rocky Mountain News.

“During the last two months,” says the Philadelphia North American, “a suave fellow calling himself F. A. Hornby and posing as treasurer of the Cartoon Club of Philadelphia, has circulated among well- to-do persons with the story that he represented the newspaper cartoonists of Philadelphia and was engaged in furnishing permanent headquarters for their club.

“Along with this information Mr. Hornby said in the strictest confidence that, of course, ‘the boys,’ meaning the newspaper cartoonists, were a little shy of money, and wouldn’t it be a capital idea for Mr. Easy Mark to contribute to the worthy cause?

“A man of Mr. Easy Mark’s prominence, of course, could never know when the newspapers might start to cartoon him, and when they did, and Mr. Easy Mark had befriended the cartoonists, it wouldn’t make any difference what the editor wanted, the cartoonists simply wouldn’t draw any nasty pictures of Mr. Easy Mark.

“Mr. Easy Mark didn’t even have to contribute the money as an out-and-out gift. Hornby, as treasurer, would give Mr. Easy Mark a four months’ judgment note for the amount of his contribution.

“For the information of Mr. Easy Mark it might be said that all the cartoonists in the city who have heard about this scheme are now busy drawing pictures of the mysterious Treasurer Hornby returning Mr. Easy Mark’s money to him at the end of four months.”


Boardman Robinson

Boardman Robinson, cartoonist of the New York Tribune, was down South recently, according to the Kalamazoo Gazette, several days in one of the little villages away from a railroad. One day Robinson was standing on the steps of the courthouse and down a few steps lower sat a negro, in tattered clothes, who was a picture of despair. The town clock up in the tower suddenly boomed out the noon hour. The negro cocked up his head to one side and listened and then murmured to himself: “Um-um! Dinner time for some folks but jes’ twelve o’clock for me.”

When Harold Throckmorton Webster, cartoonist of the New York Globe, motored out recently to Sea Bright to spend a weekend at his summer home, he found only a great void where the cottage formerly had stood. He peered around anxiously and decided that he had got the wrong address until a longshoreman accosted him.

“If you are looking for your house,” he said, “you’d better take the next liner going out, ’cause it’s been washed away, and is probably midway between here and Liverpool by now.”
The loss of Mr. Webster’s home will be keenly regretted by his Western friends, whom, in spite of the high cost of living, he was said to entertain lavishly.

Charles Kendrick, the veteran cartoonist and illustrator, died June 16 at his residence in Brooklyn, N. Y., after an illness of three months. Mr. Kendrick was born in London, 73 years ago. For some time he was the leading artist for the Illustrated London News. He went to Montreal about 1870, when that paper attempted to establish a Canadian edition. A year later he established his home in Brooklyn, and became associated with Frank Leslie’s publications. Later he worked for a number of years with Joseph Kepper, of Puck.

Between 1870 and 1880 he won an enviable reputation by his black and white portrait sketches of theatrical stars. Many of his pictures were used by the New York Herald and other publications. For many years he conducted a studio in Manhattan, and his work appeared in the leading magazines.

William Frederick Walther (“Walt”), who for five years has been a vaudeville cartoonist, has decided after a course of private instruction from Mr. C. N. Landon, to abandon the footlights and become a free lance. Walther, so far as known, is the first human being to draw a cartoon above the clouds. He accomplished this feat recently in Los Angeles, when he was taken on a flight by Lincoln Beachey. While looping the loop somewhere in cloudland, Walther completed a cartoon, which appeared the following morning in the Los Angeles Times.

[I believe this ‘airborne cartoon’ story is apocryphal, as a search of the Los Angeles Times of the period 1908-1914 reveals no such event that I can find. –Allan]

The King and the Colonel they took the same train;
Sing “Hey, diddle, diddle”; they did;
Alfonso and Roosevelt a traveling in Spain,
The land that is proud of El Cid;
They minded their dignity, spite of the pain;
Sing “Hey, diddle, diddle”; they did.

The same car while dining, they both had to use;
Sing “Hey, diddle, diddle”; they did;
They spoke not, such coolness Cervantes would choose,
With humor and satire to kid;
They thought a whole lot that is not in the news;
Sing “Hey, diddle, diddle”; they did.

Both seemed to be busy with menu affairs;
Sing “Hey, diddle, diddle”; they did;
Though neither is bald from his statesmanly cares,
And neither fears lifting the lid;
They gave first attention to putting on airs;
Sing “Hey, diddle, diddle”; they did.
— Brooklyn Eagle.

Billy Ireland

All our appeals to Billy Ireland to enlist with us and go down across the border and fight and bleed and die under the Starry Banner fell upon deaf ears, as long as we based them on grounds of patriotism, but when we showed him where it says in the Encyclopedia Britannica that the nights in the City of Mexico are always cool he was for shaking the perspiration of this garden spot of the world from his brow at once and going right down and bearding the lion in his den, the Huerta in his hall. — Ohio State Journal.

Doane Powell, cartoonist of the Omaha Bee, was married June 1, and after a honeymoon spent among the Minnesota lakes, has returned to his drawing board. One of his recent cartoons in the Bee shows the artist in a whirlpool of insurance thoughts, while rival insurance agents and furniture men buzz around him like so many bees.


“A Strassburg cartoonist is on trial for high treason. Anyone,” remarks the Omaha Bee, “ought to know better than to try to be a cartoonist in Alsace. It is about as safe a job as making jokes about Huerta on the Mexico City vaudeville stage.”


Mrs. “Bud” Fisher, known on the stage as Pauline Welch, was seriously injured early on the morning of June 11, when an automobile in which she was riding crashed into a touring car in Pelham Park way, New York. The machine caught fire, and Mrs. Fisher was extricated from under the heavy car, but not in time to prevent her from being painfully burnt. She was taken to Fordham hospital, where hopes of her recovery were at first abandoned. Later reports, however, indicate that she will live. Mr. and Mrs. Fisher were married in April, 1912, after a romantic courtship ending in an elopement.

“Bud” Fisher is the creator of the comic series, “Mutt and Jeff.”

The cartoonists do not seem to appreciate the beauties of the American policy in Mexico. It is too intricate for their untutored minds. They do not hesitate to draw pictures which place the administration in a ridiculous light, from a dozen different standpoints. And what is worse, the newspapers eagerly publish these cartoons.

But the cartoonists, knowing that free speech and free caricature are safe from official displeasure, go right ahead holding up the administration and its Mexican policy to ridicule and contempt. — Washington Post.

Luther C. Phifer, cartoonist of the Worcester Telegram, has aided the campaign of the Boys’ Club committee of that city by drawing a series of cartoons, published in newspapers, shown on lantern slides, and reproduced in poster form, and calling attention to the needs of the little fellows, many of whom were newsboys. A fund of $150,000 was raised in nine days for a club house, which will soon be erected, and the committee admitted that the cartoon series was the best method employed to entice the dollars from the pockets of the business men.

The cartoonist for the Tariff League, which organization is the principal reliance of the Republican party, has a very difficult position to fill. In the cuts sent out for use in the “patent insides” the cartoonist has to deal with the farmers who have been “ruined” by the Underwood tariff. He must choose between representing the farmer as an intelligent man and the ruined, ragged wretch which the lower tariff is supposed to have made of him. He chose the latter method and the farmer is pictured as the long whiskered, rube variety. Whether such cartoons will incline the farmers who ride in automobiles to vote the Republican ticket is very doubtful. — Omaha World-Herald.

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