Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Last of the Illustrated Political Satire Magazines. The Trumpeter. 1936

In the days on the all-encompassing internet, this magazine, its illustrator and its publisher are amazingly silent. The Trumpeter was published for thirteen bi-monthly issues between April 15th and October 25th 1936. ULS lists 16 institutional holdings 6 of which are complete. I own eight of them.
The magazine is really a combination of a satire and a campaign publication. The latter are short-run periodicals published in support of a presidential candidate. They have been around since 1828 and the ultimate reference is The People's Voice. An Annotated Bibliography of American Presidential Campaign Newspapers, 1828-1984, compiled by William Miles, Greenwood Press, 1987. Interestingly, The Trumpeter is not listed.

Here are a few examples of rare campaign papers from by collection. The Huge Paw (A Pierce item) is not in Miles or ULS.

Illustrated satire magazines have been around since the 1830's. The first was probably this one:
It is exquitely rare and contains extremely obscure references to and the earliest known illustration of Davy Crockett (RIP Fess Parker 1924-2010).

The grandaddy and most important and first successful of all illustrated political satire magazines was Joseph Keppler's Puck, (English language edition March 17th 1877 - 1918) originally published in German. Puck was the first magazine to carry illustrated advertising and the first to successfully adopt full color lithography printing for a weekly publication.

Puck was a tool of the Democratic Party. It was soon to be joined by a Republican rival, Judg

Here are a few other examples, including Richard West's favorite, The Verdict. Other than Puck and Judge (Random volumes sell between 300 and 600 dollars), all the others are quite scarce. All are highly collected.

The images on this blog of The Trumpeter are the first to appear on the web. It was published by the Young Republican Division of the Republican National Committee and obviously died along with the presidential aspirations of Alf Landon after the most one-sided election in American history (as did the large circulation Literary Digest which amazingly predicted a Landon landslide!).

The first issue I obtained was the last one (seen at the top of the blog). I particularly enjoyed the caricatures of New Dealers Farley, Wallace and Tugwell. As usual, FDR's polio is completely ignored, even in a rival publication, such was his power over the media.
Here's a few more examples:

The October 10th issue features an article by the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Frank Knox, who went on to become FDR's Secretary of the Navy in 1940. I can think of no other examples of a former opponent being in a presidential cabinet.

The illustrator was William C. Morris, a talented artist who Richard tells me had worked for Harpers Weekly and a few other magazines in the past, disappeared for a few decades then resurfaced with this title. I can find no reference to him on the web, nor is he in Sloane's comprehensive volume (nor is The Trumpeter). The editor was R.H. Sanger, equally obscure.

No similar publication has appeared since. Long live the memory of this great genre of magazines!

Happy Springtime. See you again soon.

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