Puck magazine, August 19, 1885

I hope everyone is having a good weekend. Blogging will continue to be light for the next week as I squeeze out some last days of R&R before the academic year begins a week from tomorrow. We visited the Newseum in Washington yesterday. I will have more to say about it when I get back from vacation. Today I wanted to share this centerfold from the August 19, 1885 edition of Puck magazine. Grant had died three weeks previously and his funeral was now eleven days in the past when this hit the newsstands. Literally within hours after his death, discussion had begun about the size, location and type of monument he might receive. There was no shortage of ideas; suggestions ranging from the sublime to the surreal were pouring in from across the country.

It is difficult to tell how cheeky or sincere the Puck editors are being here with their recommendation in the lower right hand corner. My favorite part of the cartoon is the statue of William Seward on the left. The statue still stands where it was dedicated in Madison Square Park in 1876. President Grant himself donated to the construction of the statue. Chester Arthur, Grant’s appointee as Collector of the Port of New York, and Winfield Scott Hancock both attended the Seward dedication and also participated in Grant’s funeral nine years later, a few weeks before this Puck cartoon’s release. Arthur himself was the first leader of the Grant Monument Association but, like Hancock, died in 1886 the year after Grant did. The Grant Monument Association and American people would spend the next twelve years hashing out the scope and design of what became Grant’s Tomb.

(image/Library of Congress)