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The Bombing of Wall Street | Image Gallery

Laughing at the Expense of Labor and Capital

Puck was an early American humor magazine founded by Austrian-born cartoonist Joseph Keppler. It began its life as a short-lived German-language weekly in St. Louis in 1871. After Keppler moved to New York City, he resurrected the magazine with fellow émigré Adolph Schwartzmann in 1876. They followed up their initial success with an English edition the year after.

For the next four decades, the magazine produced cartoons and satire that caricatured a wide cast of politicians and industrialists, and skewered all types of isms. Issues typically contained 32 pages, with full-color front and back covers, as well as a double-page color centerfold, that featured prominent cartoonists like Louis Dalrymple and J.S. Pughe.

Bought by the William Randolph Hearst company in 1916, the magazine lasted just two more years. But it left behind a rich trove of cultural commentary, in which we see the warring ideas of the Gilded Age played out for laughs. Here is a collection that focuses on one of the era’s most fraught divides: capital vs. labor.

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