progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (pride goeth before destruction)

“Me Too!”



by Frederick Opper (1881)

me too (1881)


Lazy Curator™ sez: Image shows Roscoe Conkling as a medieval troubadour strumming a lute under a balcony labelled “Canonchet.” Behind him we see Thomas Platt, similarly attired in comically oversized shoes and given a boost by a sturdy suitcase, doing the same under a balcony marked “Albany.” Also: the moon has a face.

The more of these I do, the more I link the public figures with their running gags: Platt and his “Me too!”, Conkling and his women’s clothes, James Blaine and his tattoos, Benjamin Harrison being engulfed by his grandfather’s hat, etc. etc.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

Opening of the New Republican Café



by Joseph Keppler (1889)

opening of the new republican cafe (1889)


Proprietor Harrison.—Wait till the clock strikes, boys, and I’ll give you all a show.


Lazy Curator™ sez: Benjamin Harrison stands before a banquet table laden with food items marked as office appointment positions (as Vice-President Levi Morton mans the bar). James Blaine holds the hungry horde at bay, among them including Jeptha Dudley New, Matthew Quay, Carlton Foster, Jay Abel Hubbell, William Wade Dudley, Stephen Dorsey, Thomas Brady, J. Warren Keifer, Thomas Platt, William Chandler, William Mahone and (hilariously being trampled) George Robeson.

If nothing else, this cartoon allowed me to learn the name “Jeptha Dudley New,” the most absurd and unlikely name to pop up in The Weekly Puck since Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (pride goeth before destruction)

Puck’s Plan to Rid the Country of Two Embarrassments



Give Grant the Surplus, and Let Him Spend It on a Little Court of His Own



by Bernhard Gillam (1884)

puck's plan to relieve the country of two embarrassments (1884)


The LOC says:

Illustration shows Ulysses S. Grant as a king sitting on a throne, surrounded by his courtiers, identified as Rev. J.P. Newman, Henry Ward Beecher, Roscoe Conkling, Jay Gould, George W. Childs, William Belknap, G. Jones, Senator John P. Jones, Simon Cameron, James Donald Cameron, James D. Fish, John A. Logan, T.C. Platt, George M. Robeson, [and] Joseph W. Keifer".


Lazy Curator™ sez: Conkling looks a little puffy here. Off-model, or some kind of commentary?

Needless to say, Gilliam hits another one out of the park. Is there any artwork this man produced that wasn’t amazing?
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Puck’s Thanksgiving Dinner to the Destitute and Disappointed Politicians and Labor Agitators



by Joseph Keppler (1887)

puck's thanksgiving dinner to the destitute and disappointed politicians and labor agitators (1887)


Deviantart user RD-DD1843 says:

In the wake of their defeats in 1884 to 1886, Joseph Keppler's "Mr. Puck" serves "cold consolation" and "caustic sauce to various Republican or third party figures. Head of the table is Senator Willaim Malone of Virginia (wearing a Confederate Uniform - he was a Confederate Major General in Lee's Army), followed by James G. Blane (the loser of the election for President in a squeaker), and diminutive Tom Platt of New York State (rebuilding his shattered career in New York Republican circles - in 1881 he shared the end of his then U.S. Senatorial career with Senator Roscoe Conkling, when he was caught with a prostitute in Albany during a special re-election by the New York State Legislature; however Platt eventually was boss of the Republican Party again by the 1890s). Blaine's plumed knight helmet next to him is based on the 1876 "Plumed Knight" speech by prominent lecturer, agnostic, and Republican Robert Ingersoll at that year's nomination convention - which Blaine lost out to "Dark Horse" reformer Rutherford Hayes of Ohio, but the speech became very famous and the nickname for Blaine stuck. Newspaper editor of the "New York Tribune", Whitlaw Reid, heads the back side of the table of losers, followed by New York City reformers Father McGlynn and Henry George - glaring at McGlynn - who lost the 1886 election for Mayor to Abram Hewitt, Republican Senators John Sherman of Ohio and William Evarts of New York (who were Secretaries of the Treasury and State in Hayes' cabinet, but neither of whom could be nominated for the Presidency themselves), and Democrat turned Greenback, former Massachusetts Congressman and Governor, and Union Civil War Major General Benjamin Franklin "Spoons" Butler, who also failed (in 1884) first to get the Democratic nomination instead of Grover Cleveland, and then failed to beat Cleveland.


Lazy Curator™ sez: Also present at the dinner table: Henry B. Lovering, Frederick D. Grant, Harrison H. Riddleberger and Terence Powderly.

On the wall behind them, a painting depicting noted publishers Charles A. Dana and Joseph Pulitzer as fighting game-cocks, and another showing The Downfall of Atlas, with Atlas (again, resembling Henry George) having failed to carry a shattered sphere marked “United Party of Labor”).

This image required substantial surgery, as poor “Little Billy” was sat right in the middle of the seam. He kind of looks a little weird to me still.

EDIT: Updated, with additional info (which I wanted to include earlier, but I was in a rush).
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

A Humiliating Spectacle



(See—Gospel According to St. Matthew XXVII, 35—Revised Edition)



by Joseph Keppler (1881)

humiliating spectacle, a (1881)


Lazy Curator™ sez: Can’t be true to my name with this one. The left panel shows James Garfield on his death bed with the Angel of Death hanging over him. The right panel shows Roscoe Conkling and Chester Arthur as Roman soldiers before the Executive Chair, Conkling bearing a mantle reading “Patronage”. In the foreground, Stephen Dorsey (with Star Route helmet), Ulysses S. Grant and Thomas Platt gamble with dice.

This goes into my Top Five of Keppler’s images that would be suitable for framing and hanging on the wall. The use of color in this one is simply stunning!
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

A Grand Shakesperian Revival



(Which we have but little hope of seeing on the stage of the National Capitol)



by Joseph Keppler (1881)

grand shakespearian revival, a (1881)


The LOC says:

Print shows Chester A. Arthur as King Henry IV on a cobblestone street, with Jay Gould and William H. Vanderbilt holding his cape, and accompanied by John P. Jones; he is accosted by Roscoe "Sir John" Conkling who proposes to speak on behalf of Thomas C. "Master Shallow" Platt, behind them are Thomas J. Brady and Stephen W. Dorsey. Ulysses S. Grant and John A. Logan are standing on the left, at the head of Arthur's entourage. Includes text for brief exchange between Arthur and Conkling from "(2nd Part of King Henry IV, Act V - Sc. 5)".


Lazy Curator™ sez: Per my name, I can’t be bothered to transcribe all that text. It’s just Shakespeare with name substitution anyways. Read a book!
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Another Matterhorn Catastrophe



by J. A. Wales (1881)

another matterhorn catastrophe


Lazy Curator™ is soloing this one without the aid of the LOC. Because he’s all hopped up on over-confidence. Or maybe it’s caffeine?

Image shows Ulysses S. Grant attempting to scale the “Matterhorn Mountain Road to the Summit of the Matterhorn” while clinging to a fragile-looking branch marked “Popularity.” With his other hand, he’s holding on to Roscoe Conkling (holding a staff reading “Senatorial Courtesy”) by the hair. At the end of the rope dangles Thomas Platt, strangled by the neck.

On the far side of the crevasse, James Blaine and James Garfield sit on the cliff, having a leisurely conversation. I unfortunately can’t read what it says on Garfield’s staff.

Maybe I should have consulted the LOC after all?
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Rip van Winkle’s Return



by Bernhard Gillam (1883)

rip van winkle's return (1883)


The LOC says:

Illustration shows a scene outside a building labeled "Washington Inn" with an image of the U.S. Capitol on the sign; a large group of Republican legislators, politicians, and others are laughing at an old man wearing tattered clothing labeled "Democracy", he looks dazed, as though he has just wandered in from the past, his walking stick is dated "1861". Two dogs labeled "N.Y. Tribune" and "N.Y. Times" sniff at his heels. Among those present are George M. Robeson, Ulysses S. Grant, John Logan, James G. Blaine, Chester A. Arthur (dressed as a woman, serving food and drinks), Charles J. Folger, George F. Hoar, Joseph W. Keifer, Horace F. Page, William Mahone (doing a hand-stand), James D. Cameron, Roscoe Conkling, John Sherman, George F. Edmunds, John Percival Jones and Thomas C. Platt.


Lazy Curator™ sez: Ah, Gillam, you never disappoint. Some of the expressions here are priceless, Sherman’s and Platt’s in particular, likewise “Little Billy” doing a handstand (still needs readjusting?).

Can’t add to the Conkling in Women’s Clothes tally. As you can plainly see, he gave the dress to Chester.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Lost in the Snow



by Bernhard Gillam (1882)

lost in the snow (1882)

“Oh! Where is the White House?”



U. S. Grant (carrying a broken Grant Boom bass drum) and his buddies are lost in “Popular Vote” snow. L-R, we have: Thomas Platt (with “Me Too” clarinet), John Alexander Logan (with “Logan Bossism” double bass), Grant, Roscoe Conkling, James Blaine (with “Blaine Bluster” horn) and George Robeson (with “Jobs” trombone).
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

The New Leader and the Old Chorus



by Bernhard Gillam (1885)

new leader and the old chorus, the (1885)


The LOC sez:

Illustration shows John Logan labeled "New Leader" of the Republican Party, the "party of Reform and Puritee", holding a paper that states "Logan Speec[h] at Boston July 1885", standing in the street between the White House and the U.S. Treasury, leading a chorus of tramps identified as "J. Gould, Field, Mahone, Roach, Riddleberger, T. Platt, Ex leader [James G. Blaine], Robeson, Keifer, Chandler, Brady, [and] Dorsey", and an unidentified blind man who looks like Benjamin F. Butler; some carry battered hand-pails labeled "Empty Hopes". On the U.S. Treasury is a sign "Notice No Tramps" and on the White House, where President Cleveland is leaning out a window, is another sign that states "No Tramps Admitted". Uncle Sam, as a policeman, is leaning against the wall.


Lazy Curator™ sez: Bless you, LOC, for making my job easy. They don’t call me “Lazy Curator” for nothing!

Hmmm...has Logan put on weight since ’84, or is this another one we can chalk up to “off-model”?

William Mahone tag added. It was overdue.
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

The Presidential Recruiting Office



by Bernhard Gillam (1884)

presidential recruiting office, the (1884)


The LOC says:

Illustration shows the interior of a recruiting office for the presidency with Uncle Sam and Puck examining potential recruits against a height chart labeled, from low to high, "Notoriety, Popularity, Capability, Honesty, [and at the top] Statesmanship"; a number of men, in various states of undress, have been rejected for a variety of reasons, "Evarts Too Long-Winded, [U.S. Grant] Retired, [Conkling] Too Pigeon-Breasted, [Thomas C. Platt] Me Too Little, Mahone Must be Readjusted, J.B. Rejected Too Crooked, Dana Rejected - Too Shortsighted, [Logan] Grammar Feeble, [Arthur] Rejected No Backbone, [Davis] Short Winded, Sherman Bloody Shirt Mania, [Kelly] Pig-Headed, Payne Oil on the Brain, Randall Protection Madness, Bayard Unstable, [Tilden] Rejected Cipher Catarrh, [and] B[utler] Can't See Straight". Five tall men, "Admitted to the Competition", standing on the right, are "Hewitt, Carlisle, Morrison, Lincoln [and] Edmunds O.K."


Lazy Curator sez: From before Grover Cleveland threw his hat into the ring? Also: “must be readjusted”? Ha ha! I get it! Incidentally, Lincoln does indeed refer to Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Honest Abe.

I owe you two again this week. I’ll try to work on the next one tomorrow.
progbear: Major-General Progbear (Default)

Time to Clean Up, Boys, and Look Pretty!



by Louis Dalrymple (1891)

time to clean up boys and look pretty


A room full of 1891 contemporaries washing up. Note the roller towel (ick! I’m glad those germ magnets are pretty much a thing of the past!) marked “World’s Fair Question.” Among those seen in this image: Theodore Roosevelt (under the shower spray in the background, far right), Charles A. Dana (in center frame holding the brush marked “Sun”), Joseph Pulitzer (to Dana’s right, washing his hands), Thomas Platt (left foreground, at the leftmost washbasin), David Hill (entering with dirty hands) and William McKinley (just behind the curtain). (That could be Stephen Elkins, center frame, between Dana and Hill, but don’t quote me on that.)
progbear: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Notice to the World of Politicians



by Bernhard Gillam (1882)

notice to the world of politicians (1882)


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 Gillam’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)

Times Have Changed



by Louis Dalrymple (1889)

times have changed (1889)


A gigantic Thomas Platt threads together New York politicians with a giant needle, while an inset flashes back to 1881, with Platt dutifully following mentor Roscoe Conkling, bearing a folder marked ‘“Me Too” Platt.’

Republican party boss Platt had something of a stranglehold on New York politics at the end of the 19th century. If he’s remembered for anything today, it’s for inadvertently (and doubtless to his great embarrassment) making Teddy Roosevelt president (by installing him as McKinley’s vice-president to stop his political reforms as New York governor).

Also: yikes! That is some violent imagery, considering the needle does indeed seem to be going right through Mr. Miller’s body (though he looks more merely annoyed than anything).

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

After the Deluge



by Bernhard Gillam (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 Political 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 Gillam 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: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

The Olympus of Corruption



“Apollo Strikes the Lyre and Charms the Gods”



by Bernhard Gillam (1884)

olympus of corruption, the (1884)


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

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, Cyrus Field as Mercury, 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”), W. W. Phelps as Cupid/Eros, John Roach as Vulcan, Stephen Elkins as Bacchus (on barrel reading “Beer in Ohio, Water in Maine & Lightning in N. Jersey”), 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: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (Boss Croker inflated)

Thanksgiving Day, 1884



by Bernhard Gillam (1884)

thanksgiving day, 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), W. W. Phelps (standing, behind Blaine, apparently acting as a waiter), 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), Whitelaw Reid (standing, center, holding tray lid), Stephen Elkins (seated, to the right of Reid, holding his head), Charles A. Dana (seated, far right), Ben Butler (seated, right foreground), John Alexander Logan (seated, left 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: Pride Goeth Before Destruction (1900) (pride goeth before destruction)

A Harmless Explosion



by Joseph Keppler (1881)

harmless explosion, a (1881)


This image is one of Keppler’s personal favourites and it’s no mystery why, commemorating as it does the drama-filled resignation of one of his pet targets, New York senator Roscoe Conkling. Conkling expected an upwelling of support in the wake of his resignation; with supporters rallying round begging him to return.

That didn’t happen. Note that Chester A. Arthur, Conkling’s old friend and colleague, is the only one displaying shock and surprise by the event. The sputtering toy balloon represents junior senator Thomas Platt also resigning in an apparent “Me too!” gesture. Platt himself remembered the episode differently.

You can read the whole story here.

EDIT: Woo-hoo! New scan and Google™ Books link, per 9/30/2015!

EDIT × 2: Re-scanned, per 5/21/2017

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