Time Capsule: Puck Magazine Thanksgiving Political Covers, 1894-1913

Puck Magazine Thanksgiving

Puck Magazine Thanksgiving

Published from 1871 until 1918, Puck magazine was America’s first successful humor magazine featuring cartoons and political satire. Their Thanksgiving covers, while not always political, usually were and are still fun to look at today even if the relevance has been lost to time. Their choice of makes sense when you know that they were based out of New York City. Tammany Hall, which we all heard about in history class but have since forgotten, figures prominently.

Here’s a selection of Puck‘s Thanksgiving covers from around the turn of the 20th century, courtesy the Library of Congress.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1894

That’s prominent New York politician David B. Hall, who we’ll see again in 1902. He lost the NY gubernatorial race in 1894 to Levi P. Morton.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1895

Tammany Hall was a frequent target for Puck‘s cartoons.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1896

That’s newly elected President William McKinley, getting ready to enjoy a turkey carved by Mark Hanna, Republican Senator from Ohio and McKinley’s campaign manager in 1896 and 1900. The “Sound Money” reference had to do with a fierce debate at the time regarding what would back U.S. currency. Proponents of “sound money” wanted currency to be backed by gold, as opposed to backing by either silver or silver and gold.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1897

Here’s some late 19th century New York political satire for you. Sitting at the table, ready to carve up a turkey called “Patronage of Greater NY” is Richard Croker, one of the leaders of the infamous Tammany Hall. The dog is Republican heavy hitter and U.S. Senator Thomas C. Platt. Don’t ask me to interpret the meaning in this drawing.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1899

That’s three-time Democratic presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan chasing a turkey named “Nov. Election.” Bryan lost the general election in 1900 to William McKinley.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1900

I’m getting the feeling that the publishers of Puck were not fans of William Jennings Bryan.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1902
Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover – 1902

Spoofed here are former New York governor and U.S Congressman David B. Hill (“Dismal Dave”) and William Jennings Bryan (“Weary William”).

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1903
Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1904
Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1905
Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1907

I’m sure you recognize Teddy Roosevelt on this cover. I’m guessing this is supposed to be a positive cartoon since he’s about to chop the head off a turkey called “Flim-Flam Finance.”

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1908

This isn’t too hard to interpret, just six years before the outbreak of World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1909

Yeah, I’m not sure what this means.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1910
Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1912

Your guess is as good as mine on this one too.

Puck magazine Thanksgiving cover - 1913

Well that’s a quite pleasant way to conclude our little gallery.

2 thoughts on “Time Capsule: Puck Magazine Thanksgiving Political Covers, 1894-1913

  1. Infrogmation

    Very fine collection of covers, thanks for sharing!

    1907: Why does that Commie Teddy Roosevelt hate our nation’s job creators so much?

    1909: Fat cats who prosper because of the way the system is rigged have a nightmare about income tax? Yeah, that’s so much the product of a bygone era as to be pretty much incomprehensible to modern eyes…

    1912: Ah, Mlle Pavo, I remember her well, the amazing dancing fowl was the toast of Vaudeville! Dancers everywhere tried to copy the “Turkey Trot”, but could never match the original. Anthropomorphic national personifications lined up at her dressing room door to shower her with bouquets of celery.

  2. Eric

    These are excellent. Thanks for sharing.

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