The volume XX of Puck magazine includes the 26 weekly issues of this magazine from September 1, 1886 through February 23, 1887. It contains 442 pages of history (not including a special 34 page Christmas section) as described and commented on by contemporary artists, editorialists, satirical essayists, as well as writers of jokes and humorous anecdotes. It gives a snapshot view of six months' time during The Presidency of Grover Cleveland. There is a good dose of New York City politics. National issues of politics, labor, prohibition, suffrage, political corruption, taxation, and the power of a free press and its excesses are recurring themes in the more serious editorials and full-color lithographic prints. International issues are included, but to a lesser extent. This volume was part of the New York Mercantile Library collection and at some early point was discarded. Possible dates of discard could coincide with library changes of location in 1891 (not likely), 1920, or 1932.
The English version of this originally German language magazine was founded by Austrian born Joseph Keppler in New York City in 1887. It continued publication until 1918 although Keppler died in 1894. Keppler is recognized as the premier pioneer of humorous color lithographic drawings in American magazines. Most of his drawings, as well as those drawn by others are predominantly politically satirical in nature. He was also a trained artist as shown by "the only portrait of Mrs. Grover Cleveland drawn from life," which is included in the Christmas issue. Issues contain, at a minimum, two pages of full color print--many issues contain more than two; one or two pages of editorial type commentary, and a number of pages of humor, anecdotes, brief observations, and jokes.
The condition of this bound volume is, in several respects, not good. It was discovered more than 50 years ago on the dirt floor of a shed in Illinois. The cover is as seen in the final three pictures. The first 18 pages and pages 427--440 are not attached to the binding. There is foxing, tattered page edges, and tearing of more than an inch to several pages. The book needs to be handled carefully. All of that being said, the color lithographs and all printed word is in very good condition. The exterior is not a showpiece; the interior is full of wonderful, enlightening, and colorful history. Although some political issues have changed, it is amazing that some of the issues grappled with during Grover Cleveland's administration are still perplexing us today. Regardless of your political bent, you can find in these pages some opinions with which you will agree and some with which you will not. The more things change; the more they stay the same.