''Puck'' was the first successful humor magazine in the United States of colorful cartoons, caricatures and political satire of the issues of the day. It was founded in 1871 as a German-language publication by Joseph Keppler, an Austrian-born cartoonist. ''Puck'''s first English-language edition was published in 1877, covering issues like New York City's Tammany Hall, presidential politics, and social issues of the late 19th century to the early 20th century. "Puckish" means "childishly mischievous". This led Shakespeare's Puck character (from ''A Midsummer Night's Dream'') to be recast as a charming near-naked boy and used as the title of the magazine. ''Puck'' was published from 1871 until 1918.

Publication history

After working with ''Leslie's Illustrated Weekly'' in New York — a well-established magazine at the time — Keppler created a satirical magazine called ''Puck,'' originally published in German. The weekly magazine was founded by Keppler in St. Louis, Missouri. It began publishing German-language periodicals in March 1871, though initially the German-language periodical publication failed. In 1877, after gaining wide support for an English version of ''Puck,'' Keppler published its first issue in English. The first English edition was 16 pages long and was sold for 16 cents. Sometime before 1887, ''Puck'' moved its editorial offices from St. Louis to New York City. In May 1893, Puck Press published ''A Selection of Cartoons from Puck by Joseph Keppler (1877–1892)'' featuring 56 cartoons chosen by Keppler as his best work. Also during 1893, Keppler temporarily moved to Chicago and published a smaller-format, 12-page version of ''Puck'' from the Chicago World's Fair grounds. Shortly thereafter, Joseph Keppler died, and Henry Cuyler Bunner, editor of ''Puck'' since 1877 continued the magazine until his own death in 1896. Harry Leon Wilson replaced Bunner and remained editor until he resigned in 1902. Joseph Keppler Jr. then became the editor. The English-language magazine continued in operation for more than 40 years under several owners and editors, until it was bought by the William Randolph Hearst company in 1916 (ironically, one 1906 cartoon mocked Hearst's bid for Congress with his newspapers' cartoon characters). The publication lasted two more years; the final edition was distributed on September 5, 1918.

London edition

A London edition of ''Puck'' was published between January 1889 and June 1890. Amongst contributors was the English cartoonist and political satirist Tom Merry.


The magazine consisted of 16 pages measuring 10 inches by 13.5 inches with front and back covers in color and a color double-page centerfold. The cover always quoted Puck saying, "What fools these mortals be!" The jaunty symbol of Puck is conceived as a putto in a top hat who admires himself in a hand-mirror. He appears not only on the magazine covers but over the entrance to the Puck Building in New York's Nolita neighborhood, where the magazine was published, as well. ''Puck'' gained notoriety for its witty, humorous cartoons and was the first to publish weekly cartoons using chromolithography in place of wood engraving, offering three cartoons instead of one. In its early years of publication, ''Pucks cartoons were largely printed in black and white, though later editions featured colorful, eye-catching lithographic prints in vivid color. A typical 32-page issue contained a full-color political cartoon on the front cover and a color non-political cartoon or comic strip on the back cover. There was always a double-page color centerfold, usually on a political topic. There were numerous black-and-white cartoons used to illustrate humorous anecdotes. A page of editorials commented on the issues of the day, and the last few pages were devoted to advertisements.

Politics and religion

As Samuel Thomas explains:


Over the years, ''Puck'' employed many early cartoonists of note, including, Louis Dalrymple, Bernhard Gillam, Friedrich Graetz, Livingston Hopkins, Frederick Burr Opper, Louis Glackens, Albert Levering, Frank Nankivell, J. S. Pughe, Rose O'Neill, Charles Taylor, James Albert Wales, and Eugene Zimmerman.

Puck Building

''Puck'' was housed from 1887 in the landmark Chicago-style, Romanesque Revival Puck Building at Lafayette and Houston streets, New York City. The steel-frame building was designed by architects Albert and Herman Wagner in 1885, as the world's largest lithographic pressworks under a single roof, with its own electricity-generating dynamo. It takes up a full block on Houston Street, bounded by Lafayette and Mulberry streets.


Years after its conclusion, the "Puck" name and slogan were revived as part of the ''Comic Weekly'' Sunday comic section that ran on Hearst's newspaper chain beginning in September 1931 and continuing until the 1970s. It was then revived again by Hearst's ''Los Angeles Herald Examiner'', which folded in 1989. ''Mad'' (once located two blocks away at 225 Lafayette Street) parodied ''Puck'''s motto as "What food these morsels be!"


A collection of ''Puck'' cartoons dating from 1879 to 1903 is maintained by the Special Collections Research Center within the Gelman Library of The George Washington University. The Library of Congress also has an extensive collection of ''Puck'' Magazin
prints online
The Florida Atlantic University Libraries Special Collections Department also maintains a collection of both English and German edition ''Puck'' cartoons dating from 1878 to 1916.

Gallery of ''Puck'' cartoons

File:Schurz Forester1.jpg|U.S. Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz accosts Congressman James G. Blaine chopping down a tree in the forest, c. 1878 File:Puck - Carl Edler von Stur - Go West! 1881-2.jpg|European Royalties: Go West! (after assassination of Alexander II of Russia), March 30, 1881 File:Emoticons Puck 1881 with Text.png|Emoticons, March 30, 1881 File:PUCK1881-Joseph Keppler-President Garfield.jpg|President James A. Garfield, ''Auf seinem Posten gefällt'', July 6, 1881 File:PuckMagazineCoverGoneToMeetJohnKelly11091881.jpg|''Gone to meet John Kelly'' (Hugh McLaughlin, the political "boss" of Brooklyn, New York) being deposited in "Hades", November 9, 1881 cover File:PUCK-Monopoly Millionaires Dividing the Country.jpg|German edition: Monopoly Millionaires Dividing the Country (William Henry Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, Cyrus West Field, Russell Sage; Andrew Carnegie), 1885 File:Puck112188c.jpg|Nasty little printer's devils, 1888 File:OZ5-2-94.JPG|Cyclone as metaphor for political revolution during U.S. mid-term elections of 1894 File:School Begins (Puck Magazine 1-25-1899).jpg|''School Begins'' by Louis Dalrymple, January 25, 1899 File:PuckCartoon-TeddyRoosevelt-05-23-1906.jpg|''The Infant Hercules and the Standard Oil Serpents'' by Frank A. Nankivell, depicting U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt grabbing the head of Nelson W. Aldrich and the snake-like body of John D. Rockefeller, May 23, 1906 File:Paris in half-mourning by Ralph Burton 1915.jpg|''"Paris in Half-Mourning"'' by Ralph Barton, 1915 File:Henry Mayer, The Awakening, 1915 Cornell CUL PJM 1176 01 - Restoration.jpg|''The Awakening'' by Henry "Hy" Mayer, 1915 File:Joseph Ferdinand, Keppler Rapid Transit to Sheol 1888 Cornell CUL PJM 1097 01.jpg|''Rapid Transit to Sheol—Where We Are All Going According to the Reverend Dr. Morgan Dix'' by Joseph Ferdinand Keppler, 1888

See also

* ''Punch'' magazine * Yellow journalism



* *

External links

at HathiTrust
Gallery of 1877 ''Puck'' Magazine caricatures by Joseph Keppler
*ttp://library.gwu.edu/ead/ms2121.xml Guide to the Samuel Halperin ''Puck'' and Judge Cartoon Collection, 1879–1903 Special Collections Research Center, Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University {{DEFAULTSORT:Puck (magazine) Category:1871 establishments in Missouri Category:1918 disestablishments in New York (state) Category:Defunct magazines published in the United States Category:Magazines established in 1871 Category:Magazines disestablished in 1918 Category:Magazines published in New York City Category:Magazines published in St. Louis Category:Racism in the United States Category:Satirical magazines published in the United States Category:Weekly magazines published in the United States