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Phoenix’s Pictorial

June 2024
1min read


George Horatio Derby, who doubtless looked very little like the caricature of him at right, was a humorist of Mark Twain’s ilk, though his death in 1861 at the age of thirty-eight limits comparison. Under the pen name of John Phoenix, he contributed satirical sketches to the San Diego Herald in the 1850’s; among them was one (sampled on the following two pages) in which he used a set of ordinary printer’s stock cuts—available in any newspaper pressroom—together with highly inappropriate captions, to make fun of the more pretentious illustrated newspapers of the day. “There!” he concluded. “This is but a specimen of what we can do if liberally sustained.”

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