progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

The Sleeping Party

by Bernard Gilliam (1885)

 photo thesleepingparty1885_zpsa25e0f04.jpg

She Bungled With the Civil Service Reform Distaff and She and All Her Court Were Condemned to Sleep for ____ Years.

The Library of Congress sez:

Illustration shows a woman labeled "Republican Party" asleep in the background, with members of her court, some dressed as women, also asleep, in the foreground; depicted are Whitlaw [sic] Reid, Murat Halstead, Russell Sage, John Roach, Jay Gould, Benjamin F. Butler, James G. Blaine, William H. Vanderbilt, John Logan, Cyrus W. Field, two dogs labeled "Phila. Press" and "Chicago Tribune", Chester A. Arthur, Rutherford B. Hayes, William W. Phelps, John Sherman, Simon Cameron, George F. Hoar, Alonzo B. Cornell, Stephen W. Dorsey, Thomas J. Brady, William M. Evarts, George M. Robeson, William E. Chandler, and Joseph W. Keifer.

Lazy Curator™ sez:

They misspelled Whitelaw Reid’s name, misidentified Donald Cameron and missed out Jay Gould, to Vanderbilt’s left. [does the “smarter than the LOC” dance, a distant cousin of the Church Lady’s “Superior” dance]

Another gorgeous bit of artwork from Bernard Gilliam. Circa 1884-85, the man was completely on fire. Absolutely stunning! By all means, click through to the full-size and appreciate the detail. To think that this magazine once cost a dime an issue!
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Notice to the World of Politicians

by Bernard Gilliam (1882)

 photo noticetotheworldofpoliticians1882_zps1741d7d6.jpg

Bosses who will soon be out of work are respectfully notified that

Puck will give them a job

Roscoe Conkling, Donald Cameron, John Kelly and Thomas Platt are shown wearing sandwich boards displaying past Puck cartoons depicting themselves. The cartoon on the boards Conkling and Platt are wearing has been featured previously, of course. It’s interesting to see Gilliam’s interpretation of Keppler’s work.

EDIT: You can see (or buy a copy of) the John Kelly image here.

EDIT #2: The John Kelly and Donald Cameron images have now been posted!
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Downed at Last

by Bernard Gilliam (1882)

 photo downedatlast_zps45407660.jpg

Scene—On the political field. Date—November 7th, 1882.

Prince Keifer. “What, old acquaintance! could not all this flesh
Keep in a little life? Poor Jack, farewell!
I could have spared a better man:
Oh, I should have a heavy miss of thee *****
* * * * *
Death hath not struck so fat a deer today,
Though many dearer, in this bloody fray.
* * * * * —
King Henry IV, Part I

Presented here with George Robeson as Falstaff and J. Warren Keifer as Prince Hal. The former wears a belt reading “U.S. Patronage.”

Another from the “Mike has been sitting on this image for some time but never got round to posting it till now” file.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)


“No turkey for you this year, Benjamin!”

by Bernard Gilliam (1883)

 photo missed1883_zps3fbe6f66.jpg

Benjamin Butler shown swinging and missing at a turkey marked “Governorship,” with an axe marked “Demagogism.”
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Master and Servant

by Bernard Gilliam (1882)

 photo masterandservant1882_zps5c2fe19c.jpg

Grant.—“Um, yes, it suits me pretty well; but we must transplant this one (Folger) into the N.Y. Governor Collection—and I have one in mind that will just fit the place!”

As you can see, Grant is all ready to place the portrait of Roscoe Conkling into the freshly vacated space in Arthur’s Cabinet Collection.

Yes, I think we all know how well that turned out.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)
The Olympus of Corruption (cropped)

Excerpted from this.

The proper Weekly Puck is coming anon. Happy Valentine’s Day, all.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Untitled (Puck’s Valentines for 1884)

by Bernard Gilliam (1884)

Puck's Little Bunch of Valentines for 1884

The traditional Valentine’s Day valentines from Puck, this time inked by the inimitable Bernard Gilliam. These ones are intended for (left to right, top to bottom): Samuel Tilden, Ben Butler, Chester A. Arthur, William T. Sherman, James Blaine (with a cameo by Roscoe Conkling) and John A. Logan.

I’m feeling lazy again and don’t feel like transcribing them but if you want to, you can click through to the original image and use Google Books’ zoom feature but beware, this is another one-page image intended to be viewed in landscape mode (like last week’s), so you may have to tilt your head 90° if you don’t feel like reconstructing the image yourself like I did. (Tablet owners will have an easier time of it.)

Logan’s panel seems both a) excessively harsh and b) inadvertently suggestive. Sigh. Will we ever stop snickering like schoolboys anytime someone uses the word “blow”?

Another of Puck’s Little Bunch of Valentines and another Valentine’s Day-related image
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

The Political Courtney

by Bernard Gilliam (1884)

The Political Courtney (1884)

LOGAN.—“Come, Jim, show some nerve, or nobody won’t believe you’re in the race! Ain’t you never gonna be Aggressive?”

Another ribbing at the expense of James Blaine and his presidential campaign of 1884. His running mate John Logan tries in vain to get him in the boat race, as (among others) George Robeson, Whitelaw Reid (bearing a “Tribune Sponge”) and Jay Gould attend to him. Meanwhile in the background, Grover Cleveland is off and running, alone.

Blaine has great “comedy” eyes in this image. Note also Ben Butler as a duck, lower right. And another sighting of Blaine’s tattoos.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Barred Out From the Promised Land

by Bernard Gilliam (1885)

Barred Out From the Promised Land (1885)

Disappointed Democratic Moses: “Was It Worth Going Through So Much to Get So Little?”

Clearly a satire of the breakdown of the spoils system, the broken tablet reading, “Old Commandments: Thou Shalt Divide Up the Spoils,” is a dead giveaway (and the Roman numerals are a nice touch). The star, as usual, of this image is Tammany’s John Kelly (second from right in the foreground, with arms folded), fronting a host of other disappointed parties on a hill above the Cleveland White House. One could think of it as a sequel to this image. Also of note in this image: journalist Charles A. Dana (top center, to the right of the page break) and Weekly Puck Breakout Superstar Hubert O. Thompson (front row, to the left of the page break).

I like how even lesser Gilliam, like this, is still something most artists would kill to have something so high-quality just once in their career. Mind-boggling, as usual.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

A Moment of Anxiety

Who Is Going to Get Left?

by Bernard Gilliam (1884)

A Moment of Anxiety (1884)

Grover “Santa Claus” Cleveland, his toy sack filled with cabinet positions, enters a nursery filled with Democratic politicians. Note the sign reading “Christmas Comes Once Every 20 Years” and Tammany’s John Kelly as a cat.

Two of Cleveland’s actual eventual (first-term) cabinet members are depicted here: L. Q. C. Lamar (bearded man in the background, far left, wearing a nightcap) and Thomas Bayard (foreground left, in bed with knees up to his chin). Also readily identifiable by Lazy Curator™: Samuel Tilden (sleeping peacefully in the bed next to the doorway), Carl Schurz (in cradle marked “Independence”) and Henry Watterson (far right, in front of the clock).

I suppose I should consider myself grateful for the delay in updating this feature, as this image is far more relevant this week than it would have been two weeks ago! Think of it as a companion image to this one.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Pride goeth before destruction)

A Way Out of President Arthur’s Dilemma

by Bernard Gilliam (1881)

A Way Out of President Arthur's Dilemma (1881)

General Grant.—“Don’t be troubled if a few fellows do decline. Here are some friends of mine who never refuse office!”

Self-explanatory; General Grant offers some of his crooked drinking buddies as candidates for Arthur’s new cabinet.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Pride goeth before destruction)

The Old Democracy in Peril

The Rival Bootblacks

by Bernard Gilliam (1883)


Another commentary on the fractured New York Democratic party circa 1883, with John Kelly and Hubert O. Thompson as rival shoeshine boys yanking on the legs of an old man bearing a tag reading “Democracy.”

I knew folks would eventually begin asking when I’d post another image featuring Thompson, so here’s your answer.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

After the Deluge

by Bernard Gilliam (1882)

After the Deluge (1882)

Puck himself mounts the ruins of a wrecked ship marked “Independence” with politicians splayed out in a chaotic fashion on the shoreline (plus Ben Butler in a tiny lifeboat all by himself in the ocean, hoisting a flag that says “I’m All Right,” a funny touch) as a rainbow reading “Promise of Politial Honesty” shines in the background.

Sigh. I waffled on whether or not to post this one but eventually decided on “yes.” I like it too much not to, even if the only scan available to me is, as you can see, a travesty. Someone really ought to tackle a proper digital restoration of the Puck archive for future generations. I know all the perverts on my friends’ list prefer Phyrne Before the Chicago Tribunal but I think this may be among my favourite pieces of Gilliam artwork.

People who have been following this feature for a while should be experts at the “Guess Who’s Who” game by now, so I won’t bother to point out the location of Roscoe Conkling and George Robeson, except to say they are indeed both in there. Incidentally, please forgive me if the stitchery of this image looks a bit ragged, as I’ve been battling sundown glare at an outdoor café table while preparing this post.

EDIT: Improved the image...somewhat. At least it’s all in colour now!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

A Popular Melody Applied

by Bernard Gilliam (1883)

A Popular Melody Applied (1883)

We never speak as we pass by,
Altho’ a tear bedims her eye; * * *
The spell is past, the dream is o’er,
And tho’ we meet, we love no more!

Chester A. Arthur and Roscoe Conkling portrayed as spurned lovers, chronicling their inevitable falling out

Anyone know what song is being parodied in this one?

Conkling in women’s clothes tally = 4
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

The Olympus of Corruption

“Apollo Strikes the Lyre and Charms the Gods”

by Bernard Gilliam (1884)

The Olympus of Corruption (1884)

Another commemoration of James G. Blaine’s failed bid for the presidency, and another gorgeous, detailed gatefold artwork courtesy of the immensely talented Gilliam.

Blaine plays a lyre marked “N.Y. Tribune” (with a figurehead resembling Whitelaw Reid), his sack of music filled with “lies.”

Among those depicted: Jay Gould as Jupiter, George Robeson as Neptune (bearing a basket of dead fish marked “Navy Jobs”), Charles A. Dana as Minerva (holding a jar of ink labelled “Spite”), J. Warren Keifer as Hercules, John Logan as Mars and Ben Butler as Venus. Stephen Dorsey and Thomas Brady (see “Star Route Scandal”) appear as Raphael cherubs.

Note Blaine’s tattoos. Not to mention that Logan is obviously flirting with Butler. Now that was pushing the envelope for 1884!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

The Return of the “Prodigal Father” to the “Puck” Office

Drawn by Himself

by Joseph Keppler (1883)

The Prodigal Father Returns to the Puck Office (1883)

Another very “meta” self-portrait of Keppler, here re-entering the Puck office and greeting his co-workers bearing souvenirs (sheet music [?] from Austria, cheese from Neuchâtel, sausages from Frankfurt, champagne from Paris, a tote bag from Vienna and an umbrella from London) from his travels. He is greeted by Puck, his creation, as a child greeting his father. Lots of detail to appreciate here. Fellow Puck artists Frederick Opper, Bernard Gilliam, Frederick Graetz and, behind them, an impossibly young* Eugene Zimmerman emerge from the Artists Department. Henry C. Bunner (Dynamite Editor) leads the charge at the Editorial Department.

Also present, a couple more recurring Puck characters: V. Hugo Dusenbury and F. Fitznoodle. An easel to their left displays a crude sketch of John Kelly. To the right of the easel, a mannequin with a sculpture of Roscoe Conkling’s head on top. A display case bearing the legend “Models From A to Z” displays busts of (among others) J. Gordon Bennett, Chester A. Arthur, Ulysses S. Grant, Thomas DeWitt Talmage, Winfield Scott Hancock, Benjamin Butler, George Robeson, L. Q. C. Lamar (?), James Blaine, Allen G. Thurman, Samuel Tilden and Carl Schurz.

This vacation was almost certainly very much needed, considering Keppler basically overworked himself into an early grave. That knowledge adds a bittersweet tang to the above image.

*All right, perhaps not impossibly young. Zimmerman was still in his twenties when he worked at Puck
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Thanksgiving Day, 1884

by Bernard Gilliam (1884)

“Let Us Be Thankful!”

Grover Cleveland walks past carrying a turkey marked “Presidency” as his political rivals dine on crow. Those I can identify definitively: James Blaine (seated, far left), George Robeson (seated, behind table, holding knife and fork), Stephen W. Dorsey (standing, behind Robeson), William Mahone (standing—yes, really—to the left of Dorsey), Henry Cabot Lodge (seated, between Blaine and Robeson), Charles A. Dana (seated, far right), Ben Butler (seated, right foreground), Cyrus Field (standing, with elbow out of window), Thomas Platt (standing, to the left of Field) and Roscoe Conkling (peering through the doorway). I believe the dog represents John Kelly. Jay Gould can be seen leaning out of a window across the street bearing a sign reading “My congratulations.”

I went out of my usual running order to force this one because it was seasonally appropriate. In other words: two “comic-y” panels over the next two weeks.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

The Bunco Man and His Little Game

by Bernard Gilliam (1883)


Another Count(r)y Man Roped In

Essentially, the same subject as this work from several weeks before; i.e.: commentary on the internal divisions in the Democratic party of New York circa 1883. Tammany boss John Kelly lures “country rube” Hubert O. Thompson (head of the “County Democracy” and NYC’s Public Works Commissioner) into a shop marked “Harmony Shades.” He’s already lead Sheriff Alexander V. Davidson (with a scroll marked Irving Hall in his back pocket) inside.

Thompson seems to quickly be becoming a sort of mascot of this feature.

Bunco” is a slang term I was unfamiliar with prior to starting this feature. If it has any currency at all anymore, it must be very localized.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)
The astute and clever among you will have seen this coming after reading this post:

Phyrne Before the Chicago Tribunal

by Bernard Gilliam (1884)

The caption reads:

Ardent Advocate.:—“Now, Gentlemen, don’t make any mistake in your decision! Here’s Purity and Magnetism for you—can’t be beat!”

Wow. Lots to talk about here, so let’s begin. For years I thought Joseph Keppler was responsible for this image, so I’m a bit surprised to learn it was actually Bernard Gilliam who’s actually the creator of this iconic artwork. One of the most (in)famous cartoons found in Puck’s pages.

Essentially, a stylized image of Whitelaw Reid stripping James Blaine at the 1884 Repubican National Convention, only to reveal tattoos of all the scandals he was allegedly involved in. It’s also a parody of this image. The “magnetic pad” is a reference to Blaine’s nickname: “The Magnetic Man,” suggesting that his supposed magnetism was artificial.

Needless to say, Blaine was not pleased by this image. Reportedly he tried to sue Puck for “obscenity,” but the suit was thrown out almost immediately. Puck’s edict in response: more tattooed man images, and it became a meme.

In fact, I can imagine the conversation that went on around this time:

Chauncey: Hallo, Edgar! Where are you off to?
Edgar: Good morning, Chauncey. I’m headed to the town square. Haven’t you heard? Blaine’s giving a speech.
Chauncey: Oh really? Do you think he’ll take his clothes off?
Edgar: [startled] Whatever for?
Chauncey: You know, to show off his tattoos?
Edgar: Tattoos? I don’t think he has any. He’s not exactly a navy man. Are you sure you’re not thinking of Robeson?
Chauncey: No, no. I’m certain I saw a picture of him somewhere where he had tattoos all over his body.
Edgar: Oh...I think I see.
Chauncey: I like the one that says “Mulligan Letters” the best.
Edgar: Chauncey, you do realize that’s just a cartoon?
Chauncey: No, I’m sure it was real! I saw several of them and they wouldn’t print something that wasn’t true now, would they?
Edgar: Very funny. Now if you’ll excuse me...
Chauncey: Say, you think Boss Conkling will show up in his exploding waistcoat?
Edgar: [sigh] Good-bye, Chauncey!
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

The Temptation

by Bernard Gilliam (1883)

Deptictions of the three factions of the then-disjunct New York Democratic party appear here: Hubert O. Thompson of the County Democracy (right) and Sheriff Alexander V. Davidson of Irving Hall as Adam and Eve as a Tammany snake with John Kelly’s face offers an apple that reads “Harmony.”

I admit, I mainly included this as it features Hubert O. Thompson, who created a bit of a splash, not to mention requiring some mystery-solving, the last time I posted a cartoon featuring his image.

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