I almost always use a pen when I make a doodle. If I can erase then I start to make a drawing.
Alvin Penstix have been my favorite pens since the 1980’s, BTW…
This book, History Of The 90th Division, was amongst some family artifacts recently given to me by my father while visiting in North Carolina. His father was a decorated marksman who earned his pay shooting Germans while serving in the original 90th Infantry during World War One. You can take a moment now to reflect on how totally badass that is.
Although I haven’t really begun reading it, this entire publication is specific to the first world war because (according to chapter one, first paragraph) the 90th was formed at the onset of the US entering WW1 in 1917. This hardcover is a first edition and was published just after the war ended in 1920 so it’s history only spans a brief (but busy) three years.
Now that I’ve explained the backstory it should also be divulged that this blog post isn’t about United States Army history. This is a post about my new hidden treasure of historic cartoon dog humor but it’s all relevant so read on…
While leafing through the pages mostly looking at the photos and maps (I really like old photos, maps and graphics) I discovered it’s centerfold map. Carefully unfolding the brittle page, I spilled a short stack of little vintage comics onto the table!
Initially I thought the book was falling to pieces. It’s condition could certainly be better. Then as I gathered the loose bits I realized these weren’t book parts at all; they’re not even army related. These are dog jokes! Shortly after 1920 someone stashed these slightly risqué, (mostly) very sexist dog prints into the folds of this military history book.
The cards appear to be parts of a larger set as each one is numbered in the upper right corner. I have eight non sequential cards and the highest number is 37. I wonder how many were in the original set and if they were part of a game or simply for collecting?
Nearly a century in hiding, I’m now exposing these naughty bits to everyone. Not only that, I’m also sharing them freely: After scanning the cards @ 1200 DPI resolution (that’s really high), I created vector traces and saved each one as an Adobe PDF file. Click on any cartoon to view and/or download the hi-res vector file, which you can keep and use for free. I’m assuming copyright is long expired but I don’t know so use at your own risk. Anyway, vector graphics are great because you can scale them to fit your project and print without jaggy edges no matter how big you enlarge it!
The original cards measure 2.75 x 3.75 inches each. The PDF versions I created will generate a high resolution print that measures 8.5 x 11.75 but as mentioned before, they can be enlarged as needed. The originals were printed (letterpress?) on uncoated paper and the backsides are blank. I can’t make out the signatures but they were definitely created by two individual artists.
I’m an avid fan of sociology and political history. The late 18th – mid 19th century is fascinating to me because the world had never before changed so rapidly and a new pace of human existence was being set; the rat race was beginning. This book containing these old cards forms an odd coincidence and a sharply contrasting glimpse into early 20th century America. Appreciation of this synchronicity compelled me to share this chance encounter with history
Thanks for looking! Comments are always welcome and can be posted below…
This remarkably ugly piece of 20th century American history dates from the 1930’s. A hapless artifact possibly created for some unfortunate child during the Great Depression. This lovingly crafted yet lamentable fishwife probably made the poor kid cry.
She appears to rest atop her original vintage syrup bottle, hinting that she wasn’t often played with. She has a priggish face which is nicely embroidered on her potato shaped head. Her Elvis man-do hair is braided brown yarn & she has a small bald spot on the left side.
The upper part of her body is filled with unknown stuffing. Her handmade pink dress is somewhat faded but still quite charming. She is mostly hand stitched with some machine stitching in the dress slip indicating she may have been assembled from repurposed clothing scraps.
She has no markings or signature.