Fascinating satirical images showing Citizen George (King George) and Communist, Socialist and Anarchist caricatures debating over a map of the United States, with New York, Chicago, Washington, San Francisco and Alaska identified, along with the Jones River.
Joseph Ferdinand Keppler (1838 - 1894), was an Austrian-born American cartoonist and caricaturist, who greatly influenced the growth of satirical cartooning in the United States. Keppler studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Through some caricatures criticizing the foibles of the time, his work at an early age gained access to the leading periodicals of Vienna, including the Austrian magazine Kikeriki (Cock-a-doodle-do), the vehicle for his first political cartoons.
Keppler arrived in St. Louis in 1867 and joined his father, who had come to the States to escape the European Revolutions of 1848, and established himself as a farmer and the proprietor of a general store. Keppler also studied medicine for a time, tried his hand once more at acting, became involved in the German-American community, and struck up friendships with journalists, writers, and artists. In 1869, he started a weekly, Die Vehme, which lasted for a year. In March 1871, he and fellow émigré Adolph Schwarzmann started Puck as a German-language weekly in St. Louis, which lasted until February 1872.
He was then hired as cartoonist by Frank Leslie about 1873 and within a short while took charge of most of the cover illustrations for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. In 1876, he left and with Adolph Schwarzmann successfully resurrected Puck in New York, publishing an English-language version the following year. Keppler's main delight was in producing cartoons criticising President Ulysses S. Grant, and the political corruption of his administration. His cartoons were famous for their caustic wit, generating much publicity for Puck and pioneering the use of colour lithography for caricature. Much of his success was due to a clever adaptation of classical and historical subjects to his criticisms of modern life.
Keppler's opinions and wit endeared him to large sections of the American public. His illustrations cast light on complex politics, making issues clear to the average voter. Puck did not shy away from criticism of the administration and by influencing the perceptions of the voting public, certainly altered the course of American political history. Initially Keppler drew all the Puck cartoons. When his workload became too much, he made use of several talented artists including Frederick Burr Opper, Livingston Hopkins, Eugene Zimmerman, Louis Glackens, Frank Arthur Nankivell and Rose O'Neill.