Saturday, May 23, 2020

Memorial Day 1920

Saluteback Saturday presents a handful of Memorial Day cartoons from 100 years ago.
"The Day of Memories" by Bob Satterfield for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., ca. May 30, 1920
Before being moved to the fourth Monday of May in 1971, Memorial Day (a.k.a. Decoration Day) was always on May 30, which fell on a Sunday in 1920. In Bob Satterfield's cartoon for the day, a pair of gentlemen who might perhaps be veterans recall their fallen brethren from the Civil War and the recently ended World War I. The institution of Memorial / Decoration Day evolved from local observances during and immediately after the Civil War, which is the reason why the holiday was still closely associated with the War Between the States.
"Buddies" by Magnus Kettner for Western Newspaper Union, ca. May 28, 1920
Magnus Kettner one-ups Satterfield by adding a veteran of the Spanish-American War. He thereby makes himself the first cartoonist to conflate Memorial Day and Veterans' Day; but to be fair, "Veterans' Day" wasn't a thing yet. (President Wilson declared "Armistice Day" on November 11, 1919, but Congress didn't officially establish the federal holiday until 1938, and it only became "Veterans' Day" in 1945.)
"Their Day" by J. Thomas in Bend (OR) Bulletin, May 29, 1920
This cartoonist tosses in props to the fallen in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. I've run across Mr. Thomas's work before, and only in the Bend Bulletin, so he may have been a staff artist there. Otherwise, I know nothing about him.
"The Day He Salutes the Past" by John McCutcheon in Chicago Sunday Tribune, May 30, 1920
Not to be outdone, John McCutcheon makes sure to include every American war in his cartoon; he even draws two graves for soldiers fallen in the "Indian Wars" on either side of the Civil War. Neither of those soldiers is Native American, however.
"To the Unknown Dead" by Walters in Connecticut Labor Press, May 29, 1920
Ain't no Johnny Reb in these cartoons, neither.

The above cartoon was drawn to illustrate a fictional story about two Civil War veterans finding the son of "Sergeant Calvin Hunter, Company B, One Hundred and Eighty-seventh Regiment, the New York Volunteers," a soldier whose remains were buried in an unknown grave somewhere. The lad has decided to pretend that his father is buried instead at this out-of-the-way spot in the local cemetery, and the story continues as a paean to the soldiers left in unmarked graves.
"Memorial Day" in Pittsburg Sunday Press, May 30, 1920
I don't know who drew this full-page illustration for the front page of the Pittsburg (sic) Press's Sunday Magazine section, in spite of a feature article in the same edition introducing readers to the King Features cartoonists, illustrators, humorists, and columnists due to become regular features on June 1. The signature appears to be "INN," with possibly another letter before the I. "G.A.R.," appearing several times in the drawing, refers to the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization of Union military veterans, founded in 1866 and dissolved upon the death of its last member in 1956.
"One Day that Spans the Seas" by Carey Orr in Chicago Tribune, May 30, 1920
I was hoping to find better copies of these last two, in which the focus returns to the Great War fresh in readers' memories. Carey Orr's cartoon was identified as having been originally published in the Paris edition of the Chicago Tribune; I hadn't been aware that the Trib ever published a separate Paris edition.
"A Memorial Day Retrospect" by Elmer Bushnell for Central Press Assn., ca. May 30, 1920 
Elmer Bushnell was a versatile artist, employing pen and ink, grease pencil, and here, in an effort to be less cartoon-y than usual, perhaps a wash. Dark drawings on yellowing newsprint such as this one didn't microfiche well, and scanning the microfiche for the internet didn't improve matters, much as I have tried to clean it up. I'll have to keep an eye out for a clearer reproduction of this cartoon.

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