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The Golden Age of American Political Cartoons

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 November 2010

Tom Culbertson
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center


[Note: What follows is a selection from a recent exhibition on Gilded Age political cartooning at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont, Ohio, a sponsoring institution of Shgape and this journal from their inception. As the essay explains, the Hayes Center's first-rate research library includes many sources for scholarship on this craft, which thrived during the late 1800s. In this illustrated essay, Hayes Center director Tom Culbertson, an avid scholar of political cartooning, provides background information on major personalities of Gilded Age political cartooning, their publications, politics, mindset, and techniques. Appearing in weekly magazines, frequently filling a full page and printed in color, drawn in copious detail and finely engraved, Gilded Age cartoons represented a lavish, at times gaudy form of political expression to which this six-by-nine inch, black-and-white journal cannot do justice. Teachers and scholars routinely use such cartoons to illustrate other points without much thought to the circumstances of their drawing and printing. Superficially familiar, these cartoons take on new life when seen in their original form and setting.]

Illustrated Essay
Copyright © Society for Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 2008

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