Saturday, July 2, 2022

Independence Day 1922

"The Old Man Who Never Grows Old" by Grover Page in Louisville Courier-Journal, July 4, 1922

It's a holiday weekend here at Bergetoons Central, and we're in the mood to take a break from the Trump Putsch, supply chain issues, monkey pox, and SCOTUS returning us to the days when men were men, women were chattel, and the environment was at the mercy of everyone who had a bunch of shit they wanted to send up a smokestack or dump in the lake.

"His 146th Birthday" by Charles Kuhn in Indianapolis News, July 4, 1922

The United States turned 146 years old on July 4, 1922, although one might quibble that Uncle Sam was actually a few years younger than that. But let's not: he was already an adult when he first appeared shortly after the War of 1812. Whether he turned 36 that year would be difficult to determine, given the ageless quality attributed to him by Grover Page and Charles Kuhn. 

"A Privilege and an Honor" by Gustavo Bronstrup in San Francisco Chronicle, July 4, 1922

100 years ago, most cartoonists were content to put aside for a moment whatever contentious issues they were dealing with. Gustavo Bronstrup, an American-born cartoonist, chose to celebrate naturalized citizens arriving here from other countries — even as the drive to end our open-door immigration policy was gaining steam.

"The Spirit of the Day" by O.C. Chopin in San Francisco Examiner, July 4, 1922

Independence Day wasn't about to drive all unity and harmony from existence, however. As evidence, contrast O.C. Chopin's Independence Day cartoon with his opus on July 5:

"Another Declaration of Independence" by O.C. Chopin in San Francisco Examiner, July 5, 1922

John McCutcheon also thought it was time for a new Declaration of Independence:

"A Second Declaration of Independence Needed" by John T. McCutcheon in Chicago Tribune, July 4, 1922

Northern California is still a part of California, and the Harding Administration had just scored a victory in limiting the growth of naval armaments, so those Declarations of Independence are still pending. (Well, we've kind of left those 1922 arms limitations in the dustbin of history...)

"Oh For the Spirit of '76" by Clifford Berryman in Washington Evening Star, July 4, 1922

Clifford Berryman brings up an issue more in the forefront of public concern, but in a hopeful way. Organized Labor was fighting back against the postwar  anti-labor practices of Big Business and the Harding administration. The national strike by United Mine Workers of America, begun in March, had turned deadly in June.

"They Seem to Have Forgotten About Us" by Edward Gale in Los Angeles Times, July 4, 1922

W. J. Lester, owner of the Southern Illinois Coal Company in Herrin, Illinois, had originally agreed with the UMWA to observe the strike; but when the price of coal went up, he hired non-union workers to produce and ship out coal.

Enraged that the owner had disregarded their agreement, on June 21, union miners shot at strikebreakers going to work, where the mine had armed guards. When striking union members armed themselves and laid siege to the mine, the owner's guards shot and killed three union miners in an exchange of gunfire. The next day, union miners killed superintendent McDowell and 18 of 50 strikebreakers and mine guards, many of them brutally. A twentieth victim from the non-union group was later murdered, bringing the death total to 23. Ultimately, three miners and 20 non-miners were killed, including the superintendent and 19 strikebreakers.

"We Had Been So in Hopes" by J.N. "Ding" Darling in Des Moines Register, July 4, 1922

Meanwhile, railroad workers renewed their threat to go on strike as well over wage cuts mandated by the Harding administration. Union members had voted not to go on strike the previous October after the Railroad Labor Board had agreed to delay halving railroad workers' pay. But by summer, it was becoming clear that the Interstate Commerce Commission intended to go forward with those cuts sooner or later.

"Dampened" by Bill Sykes in Philadelphia Evening Ledger, July 3, 1922

For the time being, however, the Railroad Labor Board managed to kick the strike farther down the line.

"North Dakota Celebrates" by John Cassel in New York Evening World, July 3, 1922

Changing topics but continuing the firecracker motif, John Cassel celebrates the primary election victory of "Non-partisan League" senatorial candidate Lynn Frazier over incumbent Porter McCumber for the GOP nomination. A former governor, Frazier had been recalled from office in October, 1921 after a campaign against him by banking and industrial agriculture interests

Lynn Frazier in 1921 and California Governor Gray Davis in 2003 are the only two U.S. governors ever to be successfully recalled. Frazier, however, won election to the U.S. Senate, where he served until 1941. (For a cartoon of Mr. Frazier, see my post about the Non-partisan League in July of 2020.)

"Back to the Unsafe and Insane Fourth" by Nelson Harding in Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 4, 1922
Nelson Harding throws everything but the Dyer anti-lynching bill (see yesterday's post) into his cartoon of stuff scaring Uncle Sam witless. I guess his Uncle Sam grew old after all.

"Still Burning" by Fred Morgan in Philadelphia Inquirer, July 4, 1922

If we're going to give an Independence Day award for cantankerousness and curmudgeonry, the prize goes to Fred Morgan of the Philadelphia Inquirer for taking a perfectly innocuous holiday drawing and ruining it with a Get Off My Lawn You Damn Kids caption. 

"Life's Little Tragedies" by Alfred G. "Zere" Ablitzere in New York Post, July 3, 1922

So let us end instead with a couple light-hearted Independence Day cartoons from the funny pages.

"Freckles and His Friends" by Merrill Blosser for Newspaper Enterprise Assn., July 4, 1922

Wishing you a happy, safe, sane, and curmudgeon-free Fourth, I remain,

—Your Friendly Gayborhood Cartoonist.

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