tv American Artifacts Puck Magazine Cartoons on Congress CSPAN May 5, 2018 10:40am-11:06am EDT
during "washington journal." from 1876 to 1918, puck was one of the most widely the satire magazine's from period. khan joins us.er this is about 25 minutes. >> you are watching "american artifacts." joining us in the studios is michael alexander khan, the co-author of the book "what fools these mortals be: the story of puck," thank you for being with us. what was "puck?" weeklymost important
cartoon magazine of its time. it was widely read and very influential. >> why did you do it? for came to washington ucla. wall aessor had on his cartoon. he said this cartoon decided the election of 1884. it was a beautiful cartoon. since then i collected the , magazines for over 40 years. >> we will talk about the magazine, but first, let's talk about the media. turn-of-the-century, late 1900s, early 20th century. >> there was no tv. there was no internet. there were a lot of newspapers, but they were not very colorful or fun. magazine was the first of its time to have full-color cartoons talking about politics.
it filled a vacuum. influential than all of the newspapers combined in influencing the population. >> faces from your opening chapter on the history of puck. it is in german. what are we looking at, why was it in german? >> this is the first issue of puck. it is in german because the founder was in german. for the first 20 years he also published date german version. published a german version. in the top right-hand corner you can see a character from a famous european political cartoon magazine. tables standing up on the irowing out cartoons saying
will join new york and be a part of the new york publishing community. this is the very first puck. >> it is also a reminder of immigration? >> there is a very strong german population. was side note, kepler famous in the theater. he uses the the theater motif in his first cartoon. >> another illustration, three men responsible for the publication of puck. explain what we are looking at. >> on the left is kepler, the cartoonist. the person to the right is schwartzman, the printer. the guy sitting is the editor. between the three of them, they were the forces behind puck. >> where was it published and what was the readership like? >> published in new york city. 125,000 published
copies each publication. was passed around. if 100 25,000 copies were sent you could multiply that by 10. the influence was enormous. >> we're looking at puck, who is he or she? >> it is not he or she. it was modeled after kepler's daughter, but it is not he or she. it is it. it appears in hundreds of cartoons. the magazine speaks through the voice of puck. the subtitle, america's first and most influential color cartoons. why was it so influential? .> i think because of the color
they used multiple stones and produced color cartoons, which we will look at. it was the first of its kind in america. people were very impressed by the image, the message. those messages stayed with the people. >> the first publication in german in march of 1887. the english version, we see the symbol of an egg with puck coming out of the egg in the corner. >> all around puck you can see the figures of the new york publishing community. in the bottom right is a famous cartoonist. all the different representations, the chickens in the chicken house are welcoming the new puck that has hatched from the egg. -- a stir in the
come. another chicken has why that line? >> in this particular instance he was saying really the new york publishing community is like a house of chickens. >> if joseph kepler was here today could you compare him to a current editorial cartoonist? >> not necessarily. pler had wide-ranging interests. he was more issue focused. are morertoonists specific. i don't think there could be a comparison of anyone currently. >> there is a building in new york city called the puck building. where is it and why is that important to understand? >> the first seven or eight years, puck was in different
buildings around manhattan. it was so successful they could hold the largest lithographic house. that is the largest building in the world for lithographic printing. they were so successful financially they used the entire building to publish puck magazine and other magazines. puck the building is located at inayette and houston southern new york. this shows president roosevelt at the white house, the u.s. capitol, the brooklyn bridge, and the puck building. what does this represent? roosevelt in the beginning, then decided he was too big for his britches. this cartoon was published the week after roosevelt won reelection. this is a shaking hands and
making up cartoon. >> puck's political hunting ground. how he made a game of the politicians. >> this is right after the election of 1884. this is puck's idea of bragging. republican in the big-time opposition. a carcass.ding the head of the carcass is james blaine, who ran against cleveland. the dog on the left has a caller that says satire. puck is saying that satire slayed the republican party. this is the first time in many years the democrats won an election so puck was justifiably proud of himself. -- >> in the united states, yes.
there were quite a few european magazines with similar art, large with a graphic cartoons. wasunited states, keppler revolutionary and lots of people followed him. in europe, not so much. rarely open a puck cartoon without seeing residence today. you will see hundreds of cartoons that you could publish tomorrow and the leadership of today would say i recognize that . this issue is still going on. >> money in politics. you write, "throughout its history puck complained about the pernicious effects of money on elections and government. in addition to the incessant need of money to produce political campaigns, they campaigned against the influence of millionaire businessman who attempted to influence the legislative agenda." sound familiar? >> money was a worse problem
then than now. there were no limitations. money ran all of politics and puck objected to it greatly. >> do you find the issues resonate today? >> the same issue of inequality of income, the much greater influence of the rich on the electoral process. those issues are the same as they were then. >> let me take you back to this revenge.e monkey's explain what this represents, symbolizes, and how it resonates today. >> this is representing the republican party in the 1880 period.the republican party was splitting apart , much like today. the middle branch was the one in power.
you can see the president garfield and blaine in charge. to the right, he is cutting off the limb because the republicans were fighting among each other. what puck was saying was republicans were not getting , and, acting like monkeys they would destroy their franchise. pathetic groupa of donkeys out of power with absolutely no influence. one could see an analogy today where the internal fights of the it is ands is where the democrats are hoping to get power at some point. >> with a understand immediately what it represented? citizen in 1881 would immediately recognize and the president.
they recognize these are the faces of politicians. what they would like most is these powerful people are depicted as monkeys, acting foolishly, out of control. that is the kind of imagery that puck liked and the population enjoyed. >> how did you research this book? >> i have a large collection of puck cartoons of my own and i read a lot of history books. it took a lot of history books and their references to puck cartoons. i took the cartoons that were the most prominently featured and i put them in the book. farm.le sam's neglected new and independent party, look here, uncle sam, isn't it about time you got rid of those quarrelsome fellows and gave the job to me? the republican party and the democratic party.
the democratic party is associated with the irish, a typical prejudicial image of the irish. they have references of succession. the republican party is depicted as being involved in corruption. is theck is saying democrats and republicans are horrible, we need a new political party. that sounds familiar, i'm sure. you have the wonderful image of the farmer looking at uncle sam saying look at this terrible problem, we should have a third-party. >> agriculture and farming was dominant. >> absolutely. >> 1887, showing a tariff monster in congress. are taxes added to goods imported to the united
states. englanduy a chair from for $20 come you add a terrible and the chair costs $40. at the time the united states had no income tax. the united states was really good at it. mid-80's, there was a huge surplus in the mid-1880's in the american budget. no income tax, yet america was running a huge surplus because of the tariffs. the surplus was viewed as a problem. puck was against the tariffs. they thought tariffs were tax on the working man. you can see they are making the point that the surplus is a terrible problem caused by the tariffs. >> we now have a $20 trillion debt, roughly. was the u.s., what federal budget and the surplus?
>> in the low hundreds of millions. the surplus was less than 100 million. the numbers are amazingly small compared to today. >> let's look at the speaker of the house from this time period. not a very complementary look. why? >> puck was a democratic magazine. this is a series of republican speakers starting with james blaine. he was involved in a lot of scandals. you have him tied up. all of the scandals, the red tape has the name of the scandals written on them. the guy above him was involved in scandals. he was also involved in scandals. the guy on the right was thought to be a fool. at the bottom was the speaker of the house, a very imperious person. every one of these was immoral and the republican party was corrupt.
>> how much time did joseph lo : keppler spent on these images? >> yet many ideas. he would come up with ideas, they would have a staff meeting, decide which to use. he would draw them and they would be put on stone. it didn't take very long. >> what was he like? >> very energetic. very entrepreneurial. a terrific businessman with many projects. 1893 he worked himself to death at the chicago world fair. >> how old was he? >> i think the mid-50's. >> they hate the light but they cannot escape it. what are we looking at? >> we could be looking at yesterday. yesterday, someone was interviewed by the united states congress. none of us know what happened
because it was in private all stop this happened in the senate over 100 years ago. they would hold hearings in private. if you are the press you want to find out what happened and would prefer if the interview was public. this is what they are complaining about. the press in the 1880's and 1890's was adamantly suggesting they should meet in public. trying to shine light on the behavior. the implication is sinister terrible things are happening behind closed doors where the public cannot see. >> you're referring to hope takes meeting behind closed hickes-- hope meeting behind closed doors. gentleman orbe the lady shining light in that cartoon. pharaohs.ublican explain this. >> legislative activity of the
republican party in the 1880's was the tariffs. william mckinley was the congressman from ohio. he was the main terrace guy. -- tariff guide. are is suggesting tariffs terrible thing. mckinley is the pharaoh on the left, portrayed as the pharaoh's wife is speaker read to the right doing his bidding and congress. is theyt puck is making are building a terrible edifice that will harm the public. >> he would go on to become president. >> he would do that. ums out.ing the bomb >> the democrats won. uncle sam is always per trade as the american people. the hope for puck is people in the democratic party and republican party who contributed
to the bad policies that puck didn't like would be -- unfortunately puck was not correct. >> the speaker of the house at the time, explain why mr. reid became such a target. >> this is a different era in congress. congress had more consolidated power. the speaker of the house decided who was on the committee's. ies. this is an illustration of the fact that speaker reid runs the congress and is in effect the congress. this is speaker reid, speaker but canon, a whole series of speakers that were very powerful. became anget deficit issue in 1897. we have a $20 trillion debt and growing today. wonn 1892, the democrats
and there was a big recession. revenue stopped coming in. the republicans came back in 96 and instituted a tariff. it effect they wanted. it did not raise revenues. all of a sudden, congress was faced with a deficit and you ask about numbers, the deficit was $44 million. that was a large number in those days. for the the deficit is makingn and puck the point your tariff resulted in this. >> was in drew carnegie the bill gates of his time? the bill drew carnegie gates of his time? >> i think so. i think he was more
philanthropic. >> what are we looking at? >> you could publish this cartoon in january of this year. is saying the policies of the american government are making the richest people in the country even richer. on the right, you of activities by congress. on the left, you have the workers and they are filling the pockets of the people like carnegie. ironically, and the last couple t announced. buffet the tax cut reward. the influence of money, politics, and industry titans. >> this is one of the most famous puck cartoons ever. this is the senate of the monopolies. saying and this was a
famous cartoon that the senators are the senators from the steel trust, the copper trust. they are representatives of the special interest and the government is a government of the special interest. at the time, the big thing was the monopolies. that is who they represent. >> our final one is from 1918. explain what we're looking at. >> this is the final issue. it is self-evident. we looked at all of those political cartoons and by september, 1918, puck has converted itself. it was much more a magazine of art, less political. we are still in world war i. this is a representative of a wave and this is the final
issue. at the time, the magazine was owned by the hearst organization. >> we will conclude on that note. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. announcer: this weekend on c-span, tonight at eight: 30 p.m. eastern, journalists and experts discuss first amendment protections in the digital age. sunday at 6:30 p.m., former clinton white house leave panetta -- leon panetta, reince on the and reporters american presidency and the american dream. tv, c-span2, tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern, facebook cofounder on his plan to reduce poverty and strengthen the middle class.
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