Thomas Nast

Artist's Biography

The Off Year [and] Saved (?) by the Skin of His -

Engraving, 1877.
Image size 10 7/8 x 9 1/4" (27.7 x 23.5 cm).
Good condition.
LOCATION: New York City

Inventory Number: 91364
Price: $125.00
Publisher : Published by Harper's Weekly. November 17 & 24, 1877.
In "The Off Year" the Republican elephant is startled when the bridge beneath him gives out. On the right a sign reading '"Go (Judge) West" : O-Hi-O Bridge : Or the Republican Platform.' The bridge beneath him reads, 'Communism Plank. Tricky Currency Plank.' Additional text beneath the title reads, 'Moral. - Don't try unsound experiments with substantial animal. N.B.. - Stanley (Mathews) was not successful in HIS Exploring Expedition.'

In "Saved (?) by the Skin of His -" The Republican elephant dangles from a branch after narrowly saving itself from certain doom. The ledge which the branch is attached to is labeled 'Massachusetts, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas.'

These cartoon is referencing the crisis of the 1870s. The Long Depression had begun in 1873; silver had been removed from specie (coin) based currency; there was a war going on in Congress regarding greenbacks (paper money), which brought about the Specie Resumption Act ; the labor force was underpaid and being abused; and President Hayes issued the unofficial Compromise of 1877. The culmination of all these issues made for a slippery political slope and towards the end of the 1870s that the Republican party would split into several branches.

The 'O-Hi-O Bridge' sign in "The Off Year" refers to the Ashtabula River railroad disaster in 1869. At the time, it was the worst railroad catastrophe in American history. The event led to the death of nearly 100 when a railroad bridge broke and hurtled a train into the Ashtabula River. Remnants of the broken bridge can also be seen in "Saved (?)."

Sold as a pair.
18th-19th Century Subjects , Caricatures and Satirical , Political