Saturday, December 21, 2019

Grumpy Christmas!

Impeachment? What impeachment? Santaback Saturday is ready to celebrate Christmas — 1919.
Detail of "The Rectangle" by Frank O. King in Chicago Tribune, December 21, 1919

The bottom half of Frank King's "The Rectangle" presented a host of gags typical of the complaints about the High Cost of Living (the top half of his page having become the domain of Gasoline Alley at this point). I could fill this post up with them; but I already did that for Thanksgiving, and December of 1919 provided editorial cartoonists with less evergreen material, so let's move on.
Detail of "The Tiny Tribune" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, December 23, 1919
On December 21, 1919, the United States deported 249 non-citizens accused of communist or anarchist activity, shipping them to Russia (by way of Finland) aboard the USAT Buford, variously nicknamed the Soviet or Red Ark. Among them were Mother Earth founder Emma Goldman and fellow anarchist leader Alexander Berkman.
"The Christmas Spirit" by Clifford Berryman in Washington Evening Star, December 22, 1919
184 of the other passengers were members of the Union of Russian Workers arrested in the Palmer Raids (named for Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer) in November. A major player in those raids, who then personally saw the deportees off at the New York docks, was an up-and-comer in the FBI named J. Edgar Hoover.
"The Reds' Christmas" by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, December 24, 1919
As John McCutcheon and others predicted, many of those deported soon became disillusioned with the Russian government's suppression of free speech and association. Goldman and Berkman left Russia in 1921 after the Kremlin ruthlessly quashed a revolt by Kronstadt sailors, a group who had been among the Bolsheviks' earliest supporters.
"'Twas the Night Before Christmas" by Bruce Stevenson in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 21, 1919
Meanwhile, Bruce Stevenson had some advice for Americans who didn't want to be shipped to Moscow on the next boat. Some people think all editorial cartoons should be like his: clearly drawn, patriotic, uplifting, and hopelessly dull. Consider this my Merry Christmas gift to those people.

Working for the same newspaper, Nelson Harding used his space to highlight world news with a local angle.
"The Empty Stocking" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, December 26, 1919
A Brooklyn businessman returning from months in Europe, Theodore Genter, described a continent in dire straits. Of Austria he told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, "Her cupboard is bare. She is going to the wall, and I don't think all the powers of Europe in conjunction with America can save her." Elsewhere, a cold winter lay ahead: "England's coal production has fallen off 46%. Belgium has ceased to export coal. The French have not the cars in which to export it. ... All Europe is on coal rations."
"Barmherzigkeit!" by Werner Hahmann in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, December 7, 1919
If England and France were sharing in the postwar suffering, you wouldn't know it from the work of German cartoonist Werner Hahmann. His thin and threadbare German Michel shares his scraps of bread with the starving and destitute Viennese, while plump and wealthy French Marianne and British John Bull pass blithely by. The quotation underneath the cartoon excerpts the apocryphal Acts of Andrew.
"O Du Fröhliche —" by Ernst Schilling in Simplicissimus, Munich, December 24, 1919
German cartoonists were ready, willing and able to one-up any High Cost of Living cartoon from their American counterparts. The "ghastly doll" in Hahmann's cartoon below is labeled "Peace Treaty"; the portrait on the wall is of German Foreign Minister Hermann Müller, a signatory of the treaty.
"Keine Weihnachsfreude" by Werner Hahmann in Kladderadatsch, Berlin, December 14, 1919
O Freunde, nicht diese Toons! Sondern laßt uns angenehmere schließen und freudenvollere.

I close today's episode with a couple of cartoons from the January, 1919 edition of Cartoons Magazine, which its editors may have saved from earlier Christmases and are therefore not necessarily topical. This cartoon by Billy Ireland, however, prefigures present-day sheep-shooter Donald Trump Jr.
"Confidentially, We Are Planning to Pick Up a Deer" by Billy Ireland in Columbus Dispatch, ca. Dec. 1918
I leaves you with wishes for the happy holidays of your choice, and thanks for letting me catches your eye!
"I Looks Toward You All..." by Clive Weed in Philadelphia Public Ledger, ca. Dec. 1918

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