“What fools these mortals be!”

Puck was founded by Austrian-born cartoonist Joseph Keppler. Named for the fairy Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, its Shakespearean tagline (“What fools these mortals be!”), set the tone for the magazine’s forty-plus year run. Puck became famous for its biting political satire, especially its lavishly colored cartoons taking on the powers of the Gilded Age and early 20th century.

In honor of our corruption show, here are a few of our favorites, via the Library of Congress.


Standard Oil tank as an octopus, wrapping tentacles around the capitol building. Puck, September 1907.

“L’état, c’est moi!” Teddy Roosevelt channels the Sun King on the cover of Puck, August 1904.

“Looking Backward,” a cartoon mocking anti-immigrant rhetoric, drawn by Puck founder Joseph Keppler, 1893

The great presidential puzzle [The “Boss” Puzzle]. Senator Roscoe Conkling, leader of the Stalwarts group of the Republican Party, playing a puzzle game. Puck, March 1880.



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