Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day 1894

Thursday, July 4, 2013
Independence Day of the Future
Loretta reports:

Independence Day, more usually known these days as the Fourth of July, has often been an occasion in this country for passing significant legislation or calling attention to inequalities.

According to the Library of Congress website:

"In 1859, the Banneker Institute of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, urged African Americans to celebrate Independence Day while bearing witness to the inconsistencies between the ideals espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the practice of slavery."

You can read more about that here.

Unlike many Puck illustrations, whose historical/political references don't ring bells with modern readers, this 1894 Independence Day print is pretty easy to read.  When you don't know the specific political context or recognize the names, it's impossible to get the joke.  But this one, like the Valentine's Day illustration I posted on my own blog, doesn't require historical scholarship.  I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions about what provoked it and what it says about attitudes of the time and whether or not we've come a long way since then.

Illustration courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA.


Madame Gilflurt said...

What a wonderful print, I love it!

GSGreatEscaper said...

Not much has changed in 120 years! Women still do not have equal rights. Sigh.

Karen Anne said...

Off topic, I'm working my way through the Emily Brightwell Mrs. Jeffries books, and she refers to a "mush-faker." I see from the web that that is apparently a repairer or seller of umbrellas, but I can't find out the derivation of the name?

LorettaChase said...

Karen Anne, for future reference, the OED and Eric Partridge's various slang books are helpful with this sort of thing. "Mush" is slang for umbrella ("mushroom" shortened), and a faker is a maker or vendor. Mayhew's London, which is online, deals with this specific topic, according to the OED.

Karen Anne said...

Thanks very much.

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