Puck (magazine)


August 15, 2022

Puck was an American illustrated satirical weekly magazine published from March 1871 to September 1918.

Magazine History

Puck was founded in March 1871 by the Austrian designer Joseph Ferdinand Keppler, a refugee in the United States since at least 1867, in St. Louis in the State of Missouri: he is associated with his compatriot Adolph Schwartzmann (1838-1904), and it is first a weekly edition in German intended for the German-speaking community which is published. It is illustrated with caricatures, mostly drawn by Keppler, and executed from woodcuts; it is not certain that the printing was in several colors. This edition ends in February 1872. The title borrows its name from the character in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Later, a subtitle is added, "What fools these mortals be", taken from the same comedy. The editorial staff then moved to New York, for a new series which began on November 27, 1876, still in German; the English edition of Puck, a humorous and satirical weekly begins in earnest on March 14, 1877 at the price of 10 cents for an average of 16 pages (and will go up to 32 pages). Gradually, some pass in color, thanks to the use of chromolithography. Over the years, Keppler called on new designers such as Opper, Louis Dalrymple, Tom Merry… The German edition seemed to stop at the beginning of the 1880s. The main competitor was the Illustrated Newspaper directed by Frank Leslie, which Puck soon exceeded by increasingly high sales, reaching 85,000 copies per week. In 1884, Puck supported Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland for president. The Republicans decide to counter-attack by creating Judge, even poaching designers. In 1885, the construction of a new head office began, which would become the Puck Building, a huge red building, located between Lafayette and Houston Street, in Manhattan. It is soon a publishing house, the Puck Publishing Company, which publishes, in addition to the periodical, numerous supplements, illustrated albums, etc. The buildings include a floor devoted to printing (black rotary presses, lithogravure presses). In 1888-1890 there was a London edition of the magazine. The year 1893 was particularly heavy for Keppler, he had decided to associate Puck with the Chicago International Exhibition, the organization of a special edition weighed on him, his health suffered and he died shortly afterwards, in February 1894. Longtime associate Henry Cuyler Bunner (1855-1896) took over until his death. Between 1902 and 1916, it was Keppler's son, Udo, known as “Joseph Keppler Junior” (1872-1956), who took over the management of the magazine. The magazine evolves and moves to glossy paper and a four-color formula. At the end of 1916, the magazine was sold to William Randolph Hearst's press group, which switched to a monthly formula, and failed to stem the fall in sales: the last issue was released on September 5, 1918.


Joseph Ferdinand Keppler (1871-1894) Sydney Rosenfeld (1877–1878), editor Henry Cuyler Bunner (1894-1896), editor Harry Leon Wilson (1897-1901) Udo Joseph Keppler Jr (1902-1916) John Kendrick Bangs (1904–1905), editor Arthur H. Folwell (1905–1916), editor Karl Schmidt (1916), editor William Randolph Hearst (1917-1918)



Graphic evolution of coverage Some Famous Pages

Notes and References

See also


(en) Richard Samuel West, Satire On Stone, Chicago, University of Illinois Press, 1988, (ISBN 0-252-01497-9). (en) Dan Backer, Puck's Role in Gilded Age Politics, University of Virginia, 199