A tiny island group in the western Pacific was a big deal 100 years ago.
|"Once We Couldn't Find Yap with a Magnifying Glass" by Homer Stinson in Dayton Daily News, April, 1921|
Chances are that most of my non-Filipino readers couldn't find Yap on a map, either. (It's a cluster of four islands in the Carolines atPertinent to our discussion today, Wikipedia reports that:
Yap was a major German naval communications center before the First World War and an important international hub for cable telegraphy, with spokes branching out to Guam, Shanghai, Rabaul, Naura and Manado (Sulawesi's North coast). It was occupied by Japanese troops in September 1914, and passed to the Japanese Empire under the Versailles Treaty in 1919 as a mandated territory under League of Nations supervision.
|"He Wanted Only One Thing..." by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, ca. April 23, 1921|
|"Yapping" by Daniel Fitzpatrick in St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April, 1921|
"Jingoes" was the name for self-styled patriots vocally pushing for war, in this case over that little Pacific island group. You would think that so soon after armistice was declared in The Great War, people on all sides would have a healthy aversion to war talk... and you would be right.
|"Suppose We Close the Window..." by Haydon Jones in New York Evening Post, April, 1921|
So, at the risk of dredging up some hateful images of Asian/Pacific islanders, who were those American Jingoes, and what were they drawing?
|"The Lengthening Shadow" by Wm. S. Warren in Chicago Tribune, April, 1921|
|"Don't Overlook This Frog" by Orville P. Williams in New York Journal, ca. April 2, 1921|
Anti-Asian hysteria at Hearst newspapers goes back long before U.S. entry into World War I; we've shared some cartoon doozies from Harry Murphy, for example (and spared you some others). If the tune in Orville Williams's cartoon is as catchy as it looks, small wonder that it is completely unfamiliar today. There is a similar quotation attributed to Mark Twain, although I can't vouch for his reputation as a singer.
|"The Importance of Yap Island..." by J.N. "Ding" Darling in New York Tribune, April 28, 1921|
The tedious business of drawing crowds is a topic that comes up often in cartoonist circles (Jeff Parker brought it up this week with a Facebook memory of a 2014 "Dustin" Sunday cartoon set in a busy airport). Perhaps the task was easier in a day when everyone wore hats, but this cartoon is still pretty impressive work.
It does depend on one's being able to draw hats.