Friday, September 30, 2016

Review- THE WORLD ON SUNDAY: GRAPHIC ART IN JOSEPH PULITZER'S PAPER (1898-1911)



THE WORLD ON SUNDAY: GRAPHIC ART IN JOSEPH PULITZER'S PAPER (1898-1911) (Bulfinch, First Printing, 2005; Hardcover)

Reprints the first and last page of the The World's Sunday supplement section unless otherwise noted. Each date shown is two pages. Reprinted here are 2/13/1898, 2/20/1898, 3/20/1898, 3/27/1898, 4/3/1898, 5/29/1898, 7/3/1898, 7/24/1898, and 9/19/1898.
1/1/1899, 2/12/1899, 3/19/1899, 4/2/1899, 10/15/1899, 10/22/1899, 11/5/1899, and 12/10/1899.
3/18/1900 and 8/26/1900.
3/10/1901 (3 pages total), 3/11/1901 (front page of Monday paper), 6/2/1901, 8/11/1901 (back page includes Sherlock Sam and Little Willie half page strips), and 10/13/1901.
3/23/1902 (back page includes Chollie And Gawge and Alpha, Omega, And Their Sister Sue half page strips), 5/11/1902 (four pages total, including A-Maying full page strip), and 11/23/1902.
4/5/1903.
1/31/1904 (six pages total), 3/13/1904 (including Superstitious Smith full page strip), 5/8/1904, 5/22/1904, 9/11/1904 (back page includes The Angel Child And The Professor half page strip), and 10/2/1904 (six pages total).
4/30/1905.
4/8/1906, 4/29/1906 (four pages total, with the back page including The Bad Dream That Made Bill A Better Boy and Billy Bragg half page strips), 6/17/1906, 6/24/1906 (including The Bad Dream That Made Bill A Better Boy half page strip), 7/8/1906 (including The Bad Dream That Made Bill A Better Boy half page strip), 7/22/1906 (including The Bad Dream That Made Bill A Better Boy half page strip), 7/29/1906, and 8/5/1906.
1/20/1907 (including The Bad Dream That Made Bill A Better Boy and Little Sammy's History Of The World half page strip), and 4/21/1907.
4/5/1908 (including Pups and Yens The Janitor half page strip), 4/19/1908, and 10/11/1908.
2/14/1909 (back page of the magazine section only), 2/15/1909 (front page of the Monday paper), 3/14/1909, 3/21/1909, and 3/28/1909 (includes The Newlweds strip).
1/16/1910.
7/16/1911, 7/23/1911 (four pages total), 10/1/1911, and 10/15/1911.



Newspapers are important cultural artifacts. They are snapshots of a moment in time, here one day and then replaced by the next day's events. This books shows reproductions of the only copy of these newspapers in existence today. These were rescued from a library in England that was going to sell them to private collectors at great financial expense by Nicholas Baker and Margaret Brentano. This collection, which contains every single paper from 1898-1911, now resides at Duke University in their Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. I would love to see it, but I somehow doubt that they would let me go there, pull up a chair, and pore over each bound volume.



Think of all of the great art and important documentation that has been lost. Newspapers are disposable items, meant to be read once and then discarded. Most newspaper collections were scrapped in the '50s for inferior microfiche. Everything is digital now, and I can't help but think that we are an EMP away from losing our entire culture and history. That is why I like books and paper. Barring flood, theft, or fire they can last hundreds of years and survive almost anything besides silverfish.

Joseph Pulitzer's paper was important for a number of reasons. As explained in the introduction of the book, the paper contained the earliest published works of H.G. Wells and many others, the first crossword puzzle, and was also one of the very first to use the color printing press.



The paper also had a view of the evolution of New York City from the ground floor. You can read the dilemmas and philosophical debates of things like skyscrapers (The American Skyscraper Is A Modern Tower Of Babel from 2/20/1898 and How Far Can New York Climb Into The Sky? From 1/20/1907), the onset of the kite flying craze (The Present Kite-Flying Craze And What May Come Of It from 10/22/1899), the ramifications of the electric light (The New Broadway- The Street That Knows No Night from 11/5/1899), the celebrating of the opening of the New York subway system (New York's New Wonder: The Subway. From The Battery To Harlem In Fifteen Minutes from 10/2/1904), and the impact of automobiles. The world was changing at a rapid pace that must have been even more confusing to people then than it is to people today.



I enjoyed the political cartoons as well. More truths were told in those than in news articles, as the greatest truths are often told in jest. Teddy Roosevelt was depicted in a less than favorable light a few years before he ran for President of the United States Of America. It's fascinating to see how people believed that politics was as corrupt around the turn of the 20th century in the same way that we do today. The more things change, I suppose. It's funny that people look at these as the good old days. When you read some of the articles you can see horrific labor battles, fears about the influx of immigrants and the subsequent increase in homicides, and concerns about the monopolies of Rockefeller, Ryan, and Morgan. It saddens me that the people of 2142 will look back on 2016 and think Man, they had it made. No robots ordering them around and they were able to eat food that was not synthesized in a lab.



I bought this believing it to be a collection of Platinum Age newspaper strips. What I got instead was a fascinating look of a world long gone. A world that would be lost forever if a husband and wife didn't raise a small fortune and save these newspapers from the scrap heap. This book is a treasure.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- The material is shrunk down from it's original publication size by a third. It is still readable for the most part, with only the text in some of the ads and articles requiring a magnifying glass.
Linework and Color restoration: Photographed or scanned high in high resolution. The browning and discoloration found in paper of this vintage is present, although they are remarkably intact with no flaking or cracking.
Paper stock: Super thick coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Sewn binding.
Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: Thick matte dustacket. The hardback casewrap has the same images as the dustjacket on it and has a matte coating that is resistant to scuffing.

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