Saturday, December 17, 2016

1916: Eggs, Dachshunds, Horses and Lions, Oh, My

I've still got a few more cartoons from my December 13, 1916 copy of The Outlook magazine, so here are some almost random cartoons from a century ago. I'll even throw in a couple other cartoons as a bonus.

Prompted by a Chicago alderman, a women's group called the Political Equality League announced a protest against the price of eggs on November 26, 1916. Unless the price were lowered from 50 cents per dozen, the PEL pledged to boycott eggs entirely.
"If James E. Wetz, the Egg King, carries out his threat," [Alderman George Pretzel told the group], "I may be in jail soon for conspiring to boycott him; but I am willing to take this chance to break the egg trust. There are about eight men in the trust, who sell to one another in order to keep the price up."
As egg prices continued to rise, others joined the fight against Mr. Egg over the next year, such as the National Housewives League and the Kansas City Restaurant Association. Prices hit a high of 65 cents per dozen before being cut in half in 1917.
"Boycotted" by Rollin Kirby in New York World, December, 1916
It may be unintentional, but the posters on the wall in Kirby's background are reminiscent of those that would be festooned all over the background of the typical Thomas Nast cartoon (especially the question "What are you going to do about it?"). The lower one refers to a Chicago Commissioner of Weights and Measures, who persuaded local theaters to display a notice on their screens reading,
"Smash the egg gamblers—Join the egg boycott. It's the man higher up—not the retailer. Practice economy in use of eggs. Buy only for aged, infirm and children. Decrease demand and watch price come down. It's up to you."
At The Outlook, the editors attribute the rise in egg prices to the seasonal fact that hens lay fewer eggs in cold weather. The editors recommend "cold storage":
"It requires only the foresight to purchase fresh eggs in the spring, when they are cheap and plentiful, and to preserve these same eggs until the following winter, when they are scarce and dear. Eggs can be preserved for a much longer time than this in crocks filled with a solution of water-glass or silicate of soda."
Nelson Harding finds a clever pun for a cartoon critical of a bill by a Rep. Fitzgerald (D-NY), Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, enacting an embargo on the exportation of foodstuffs for one year, to be enforced by the U.S. Army and Navy.
"The Dog in the Measure" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December, 1916
The aim of the bill, opposed by farmers and others in the food industry, was to drive down the cost of groceries. Harding here opines that the bill would benefit Germany by cutting off American exports to Great Britain. (England was already blockading American exports to Germany, as we've noted before.) The bill was also opposed by Rep. Adamson of Georgia, Chair of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, whom we have met previously in his bill regarding the railway workers' strike.

Let's give some attention to a few cartoonists from outside the United States, shall we? Turning a cliché back in on itself in this cartoon featuring British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Canadian cartoonist Sam Hunter is skeptical of the latest peace proposal from the Kaiser:
"Looking the Gift Horse in the Mouth" by Sam Hunter for Toronto World, December 21, 1916
So is this Parisian cartoonist, I suppose. At least I'm guessing the speaker in the cartoon is a French soldier; the Western front had been fought on French soil, not German soil. for two years and counting. Besides, the uniform seems consistent with that interpretation. If so, then the other two men must be German citizens, unless the soldier is German and the two with the plank are from a neutral country.
"Peace?" by cartoonist in Le Rire, Paris, December, 1916
What's with that P? Are they Privates from Prussia? Peaceniks from Pays Bas? Damn that French cartoonist for not putting one of those helmets with the pointy spire on top on somebody's head so we historically illiterate 21st Century Americans can tell who's who!

There's no ambiguity in this British cartoon featuring Kaiser Wilhelm and Chancellor Theobold von Bethmann-Hollweg.
"The Lion that Grew" by F. Carruthers Gould in Westiminster Gazette, London, December, 1916
A full-page cartoon in the Canadian bi-weekly La Bataille offers a much less smug view of the war. As Europa grimly packs half the seed of Europe, one by one as cannon fodder, the U.S. appears as the light ("la lumiere") on the horizon. (I'm sure I don't need to remind you that Canada, as part of the United Kingdom, was already at war.)
Untitled cartoon by Phyl (LaFerrière?) in La Bataille, Montreal, December 14, 1916

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