Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A Cartoon for Harvest Time

Eugene Zimmerman, who signed his work "Zim," was one of the most well-known of American cartoonists of the nineteenth century. Born in Basel, Switzerland, on May 26, 1862, Zimmerman came to the United States in 1868. In 1883, he landed a job at Puck, the top humor magazine of its day. In late 1885 or early 1886, he moved over to Judge, where he spent the remainder of his career. Zim died on March 26, 1935, at his home in Horseheads, New York.

Eugene Zimmerman was not a Hoosier, but he drew a cartoon (above) about Hoosiers called "When We Git Dollar Wheat in Injiana." It was published in the February 1897 issue of Judge at a time when racial, regional, ethnic, and dialect humor was one of seemingly only a few types of popular humor, the others including tall tales, hoaxes, pranks, pratfalls, and other buffoonery. Zimmerman's first employer, Joseph Keppler (1838-1894) of Puck, seems to have had an Indiana connection. He may have lived in Indianapolis very briefly before going to New York City. According to Wikipedia, William Merritt Chase (1849-1916) visited the offices of Judge in the year this cartoon was published, there to praise Zim for his artistry. Chase was a born-and-bred Hoosier, probably the most accomplished fine artist to come from Indiana.

So here's a cartoon for harvest time in Indiana.

Caption copyright 2015 Terence E. Hanley

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