Cartoon by Joseph Keppler, about the election in 1888

Joseph Keppler was born in Vienna, Austria in 1838. He studied art and published his satirical cartoons in magazine Kikeriki. In 1867 he moved to the USA where he worked as an actor in St. Louis. He tried his hand at publishing two German-language humor magazines, but both ended in failure. He then moved to New York, where he became staff cartoonist for Frank Leslie's Illustrated.

Workers and boss, by Joseph Keppler

In 1876 he made another try at publishing and launched illustrated magazine Puck, initially in German, and with a color cover, designed to rival the popular magazine Punch. A year later an English version appeared. The magazine featured cartoons satirizing political and social issues. Initially, Keppler drew all of the cartoons himself, later he hired artists such as Frederick Opper, James Wales, Eugene Zimmermann and Bernard Gillam.

Puck had a great political influence and commented on issues from suffragettes (whom Keppler ridiculed) to religion (Puck was especially hostile towards the Catholic Church). Joseph Keppler died in 1894, after which Puck was taken over by his son, Joseph Keppler Jr.

Cartoon by Joseph Keppler
Detail from cartoon by Joseph Keppler

photograph of Joseph Keppler
photograph of Joseph Keppler

More about Keppler
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