What The Cartoonists Are Doing, December 1914 (Vol.6 No.6)

[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.]

Gradually the German periodicals—Jugend, Fliegende Blätter, Simplicissimus, Meggendorfer, and others—have begun to filter through the battle lines, and it is possible to sense public opinion in the Fatherland as reflected by the many cartoonists.

One difference will be noticed between the spirit of the German cartoonists and that of their English fellow craftsmen. The Germans still preserve their humor. War subjects occupy only a small space in their magazines, while London Punch, for instance, is devoted to little except war. In the German papers the triple entente is represented as in a very crippled state, bound up in bandages, and evidently good for little but the ambulance. But the cartoons either bubble over with fun and good humor, or appeal to the patriotism of the Germans. What little bitterness there is seems to be directed against the Japanese, who are cartooned as monkeys, either disporting themselves in trees, or confined behind the bars of a cage.

The Turcos and East Indian troops who have come to the assistance of the allies, likewise are ridiculed, being shown as naked barbarians, evidently with but one generation between them and the palm tree. Russia is depicted with a suggestion of cruelty in every cartoon, while in one or two incidents the German attitude in Belgium is defended by representing the Belgians as “snipers,” ready to murder or mutilate the invaders.

The English, on the other hand, have been directing most of their cartoons against the kaiser. In the November issue of this magazine Punch’s “New Rake’s Progress” was offered. More recent cartoons show the German emperor as the lawbreaker of Europe, led on by his dream of imperialism.
Of French cartoons very few are obtainable, those reproduced in this issue being, for the most part, taken from the English newspapers which first copied them. Many of the French newspapers doubtless have suspended publication, but in those that remain no master hand such as that of Daumier, “Cham,” or Gill has yet appeared.

The American cartoonists have had a respite from the war, and have entered into the political battles in their various communities with their usual dash and spirit. In New York, Whitman and Glynn have been the favorite subjects; in Pennsylvania, Penrose.

The Alsatian cartoonist Hansi (Johann Waltz), whose children’s book, “Mon Village,” caused him to be sentenced to a year’s imprisonment in Germany, and who escaped to France, has joined a regiment on the frontier as an interpreter. The first German prisoner brought before him happened by the irony of fate to be the officer who had arrested him. The prisoner complained to Hansi of inhospitable treatment, whereon the cartoonist smiled: “It is certainly better,” he replied, “than I received while in a German prison,” and refused to do anything to ameliorate the prisoner’s condition.

Richmond, Va., having taken the regional bank away from Baltimore, has now lured Harry Osborn from the Baltimore News. “Of course,” writes the cartoonist, “the fact that Mr. Munsey was trying to save up the price of the automobile that the Austrians took away from him, might have had something to do with it—there are other recent arrivals from Baltimore here but we aren’t mentioning that, because we do not like to hurt his feelings.”  Osborn has joined the staff of the Richmond Times Dispatch.

Tom May, the cartoonist of the Detroit Times, made an address before an Episcopal men’s club of that city recently on cartoons.

He alluded to the transitory nature of the work done by the cartoonist, whose work was for a day, and whose reputation was nearly as fleeting. He said he was as much interested in cartoons, probably more, than anyone in the room, but at that there were only a few of these productions which he now could recall. He spoke of the results, nearly resulting in war, which followed the appearance in one of the London papers at the time the present Kaiser Wilhelm retired Bismarck from power, which showed the latter leaving the ship of state with the line, “The Pilot Leaves.” International complications came from this, and the diplomatists of the two countries were kept busy for a long time to straighten out the incident.

He spoke of the lasting creations of Nast: the Tammany tiger, the democratic donkey, and the republican elephant, the latter being made large probably the better to furnish a good target for the onslaught of the bull moose. With a proper modesty he related the reception accorded one of his own cartoons, that of the girl in an abandonment of grief, in an almost bare garret, her head on a table, her hand at the edge holding a stocking which hangs empty with the one word, “Forgotten,” below the cartoon, which had been accorded a world-wide reception.

J. M. Baer, an enterprising cartoonist of Beach, N. D., recently felt the need of a mascot as a trademark for his drawings. A bear had been suggested by his friends, but not wishing to be a plagiarist, and knowing that this quadruped had been preempted by Robert Satterfield of Cleveland, O., the westerner wrote to Satterfield, making him an offer of $1,000 for the use of the “critter,” inclosing a contract form, hoping to get exclusive rights to Satterfield’s bruin.

Satterfield, however, replied that he could not part with his little bear for many times the sum named, but said that he appreciated the offer. “He has become an indispensable and highly honored member of our firm,” wrote Satterfield, “and I assure you that his place could not be successfully filled by anybody else.”

Grantland Rice, the New York writer, takes exception to the Metropolitan cartoonist’s idea of the young Bostonian. He says the “abnormal bean, spectacles and a brace of thin legs attached to a bush league body,” do not apply in these days, “when Boston has a leader in one league and a runner-up in another; when she has set the one day’s record for attendance at two ball games at 74,200; when she has one club that came from last place to the top in five weeks, and another that beat the Athletics eight straight games; when she has a Harvard crew that won the world’s greatest rowing trophy; when she has held the football championship for two years; when she has the amateur golf champion in Francis Ouimet and has Sam Langford as a last exhibit.”


“There are no German atrocities,” reports Cartoonist McCutcheon. What about pretzels?—Columbia State.


It is healthy for our cartoonists that their drawings are not made in Germany.— Brooklyn Eagle.

Clare Briggs, the sport cartoonist of the New York Tribune, has taken a country place out on Long Island and has a servant girl who watches out for the best bargains possible in marketing. The other day the girl found a good deal of cream on a bottle of milk which had been standing over night, and when the servant said, “Look here, I have never seen anything like this before on your milk;” the driver looked at it for a minute, scratched his head and replied: “Well, I don’t know just what it is myself, but you can throw it out and I’ll give you a fresh bottle in its place.”


Alfred J. Frueh, formerly of the art staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and later with the New York World, returned recently from Paris, where he has been studying and painting for two years.


Boardman Robinson, whose work often has appeared in Cartoons Magazine, has left the staff of the New York Tribune, which he joined as cartoonist in December, 1910. Mr. Robinson devoted himself to painting for six years after being graduated from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.

The cartoons that used to run
 Almost daily on page one,
In the good old piping days of peace,
Now inside scrape strange relations
With the corn and wheat quotations,
Waiting vainly for the war of kings to cease.
—Clifford Knight.

H. T. Webster, cartoonist of the New York Globe, purchased a very rakish, daredevil automobile the other day, and after taking a few lessons on how to avoid telephone poles and make pedestrians leap for cover, started with a newspaper friend to drive home. Still somewhat skittish about operating the car, he grasped the wheel, shifted the gear, and remarked through clenched teeth: “Well, here’s hoping that Providence will forget the Kaiser for a little while and look out for yours truly.”


London Punch announces a “display of exceptional interest”—an exhibition of 180 cartoons and original drawings—“showing in historical sequence the growth of the Prussian bully from 1857 to 1914.” The exhibition is being held at the studio of the Fine Art Society in New Bond Street.


The Chicago Tribune’s cartoonist pictures Uncle Sam surveying the American soldier after reading about the size of the European armies and saying: “He’s all right, what there is of him.” Cheer up, melancholy contemporary, for at the rate the Europeans are killing one another it will not be long before the American army is the largest.—Louisville Courier-Journal.


Vivian and Leton McGill, children of Harold McGill, a cartoonist for the Hearst newspapers in New York, shared the honors with a daughter of a Tammany Hall chief and the little son of an Italian vegetable woman in a baby show that was a feature of the recent Bayside (L. I.) carnival.

In the fifty years since caricature has become a feature of American journalism,” writes Art Young in the Metropolitan, “it is safe to say that no man has been the subject of so many cartoons as Roosevelt. A cartoon composite of Roosevelt would include Don Quixote, Tamerlane, Napoleon, Ananias, Cromwell, Wallenstein, Peter the Great, the Wild Horse of Tartary, Dr. Dowie, Prize Fighter, Savonarola, Circus Performer, Hyena, Snapping Turtle, Angel of Peace, Ivan the Terrible, Mohammed, and Moses, and these would be only a beginning.”

The earlier Roosevelt cartoons, according to Mr. Young, were mild. The first appeared in Harper’s Weekly, April 19, 1884. “T. R.” was then 26 years old, and a member of the New York legislature. He is shown unrolling a scroll of reform bills which Grover Cleveland is looking over and about to sign. The title is “Reform without Bloodshed.”

The second Roosevelt cartoon was published in Puck, November 10, 1886, when the ex-president was candidate for mayor of New York.

Abram S. Hewitt and Henry George were the other candidates. Hewitt was elected, although over 60,000 votes were counted for Henry George, and many old-timers still think that the single-taxer was elected.

The title of this cartoon was “Age Before Beauty—Hewitt Wins New York Away from the Ambitious Roosevelt,” whose teeth, by the way, had not yet become characteristic. They developed later while he was a police commissioner of New York City.

John T. McCutcheon

A writer to the New York Sun, who evidently knows little about John T. McCutcheon and his work, delivers himself as follows:

“I note with satisfaction that Mr. Irvin Cobb, humorist, and Mr. John T. McCutcheon, cartoonist, are still lingering in Aix-la-Chapelle, enforced ‘guests of the German Government,’ and hope that they may so continue to the end of the war. The sense of humor of an editor who can send two ‘funny men’ to depict the European conflict is certainly highly inflamed. Clowns and comic artists have no place at a funeral or an execution. American humor has had many lapses from good taste, but none more egregious than this attempt to treat the world’s greatest tragedy as a subject for buffoonery.   C. L. W.”

Thus far no correspondent on the European battlefields has sent in such intensely human dispatches as Mr. McCutcheon. He is the keenest kind of satirist and analyst, and it is because he is a humorist that what he has to say is so interesting.

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