Sunday, August 28, 2011

Criminal Investigation

Criminal Investigation a Practical Textbook for Magistrates, Police Officers and Lawyers, was published in England, Canada, and Australia in 1906. My own grandfather was a constable in the Kootenay district of British Columbia in the twenties after serving as a bobby in England for many years and his copy was dated 1924. The book is translated from the 1893 German book System Der Kriminalistik by Dr. Hans Gross. Gross was the first man to make a careful study of criminal behavior which makes him the ‘father’ of criminal profiling.

In Chapter VIII, The Slang of Criminals, (because German slang would be meaningless to a London Investigating officer) the translator lists homegrown books including Rookwood , Jack Sheppard and James Greenwood’s Seven Curses of London. Ainsworth himself said his flash words came from the Memoirs of James Hardy Vaux -- a returned transport.

There are sections on the wandering tribes (Gypsies), superstitions of criminals, poisoning, theft, treating wounds, arson, fraud, serious accidents and boiler explosions. Included are instructions on ciphers, pickpockets, cleaning up the sights of murders, an almost how-to manual on house-breaking and pickpocketing with illustrations. Many subjects have not been fully entered into because it may “perhaps prove profitable to the criminal classes and harmful to the public.” Enough illustrated instruction is included to make that a valid concern.

The book is filled with hundreds of interesting anecdotes. “-- a rough (who had already undergone 18 year's hard labour for murder) had relieved himself near the body of his victim at the scene of the crime. This latter circumstance it may be said in passing, served, in a roundabout way it is true, to discover the criminal; the doctor of the district noted that the excrement must have belonged to a man of herculean build; and in fact the murderer was the most robust man the author has ever seen.” He also says that in North Germany murderers believe they will never be discovered if they leave excrement at the scene of the crime. “It is therefore often found carefully covered up with a cloth or a hat in order that it may retain its heat the longer and so put off the discovery of the crime.”

Some index entries show the wide range of knowledge in this fascinating book. The use of toes in crime; thimble rigging, Gypsies as spies, tattooing on a corpse, blood on plants, murder prayer and masses, cigarette papers used in forgery, insane persons as witnesses, Gipsy child stealing, and blood in superstition. Included are sections on hobo and gipsy signs, drawing of maps for officers, and packing of murder weapons for evidence. Six different copies of the book are available as an e-book, or can be read online at Open Library HERE.

Top images from “Heroes of the Police” by W. Binnie, from The Royal Magazine Vol. 1 Nov 1898 to April 1899.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Steam Men and Electric Horses II

Joe Rainone's Steam Man list >

Beadle's American Novel No. 45, August 1868, featuring "The Steam Man of the Prairies" by Edward S. Ellis.

Beadle's Half Dime Library Vol. 11 No. 271, October 3, 1882, featuring "The Huge Hunter; or, The Steam Man of the Prairies" by Edward S. Ellis.

Beadle's Half Dime Library No. 1156, December 1904, featuring "The Huge Hunter; or, The Steam Man of the Prairies" by Edward S. Ellis.

Beadle's New Dime Novels No. 591, January 27, 1885, featuring "The Huge Hunter; or, The Steam Man of the Prairies" by Edward S. Ellis.

Beadle’s Pocket Novels No. 40, January 4, 1876, featuring "The Huge Hunter; or, The Steam Man of the Prairies" by Edward S. Ellis.

Frank Starr's American Novels No. 14, 1869, featuring "The Huge Hunter; or, The Steam Man of the Prairies"

Pocket Library No. 245, September 19, 1888, featuring "Baldy's Boy Partner; or, Young Brainerd's Steam Man" by Edward S. Ellis.

Images courtesy Joe Rainone and E. M. Sanchez Saavedra. Part I HERE.

Steam Men and Electric Horses

When science-fiction first made its way into the repertoire of dime novelists it was based on the technology of steam and it was not until the 1880’s that the various steam men, steam horses, steam-coaches, &c., made way for the new technology of electricity. The 19th century was often described as an ‘age of wonders,’ based on the technologies that changed the way people looked at the future.

The first hot-air balloon took to the air in 1783 with a sheep, a duck, and a rooster as passengers. Ballooning was the astonishment of the Victorian age and it showed up in lower class fiction in tales of aerial travels to the moon such as Daniel O’Rourke; or, a Visit to the Moon, by Crofton Croker (22 Sept 1838) which was published in London in Benjamin Cousin’s Franklin’s Miscellany. Steam was a new inspiration for inventors from the 17th century on, again linked to transportation as fuel for steam carriages and railroad trains. Clockwork machines were popular in side-shows, fairs and lecture halls. Often these primitive automatons were dressed in clothing and given the bodies and facial features of humans. All this was the stuff of science-fiction. In America dime novelists were inspired to invent mechanical men while inventors turned their attention to robotics.

The earliest of these novels was Beadle’s Steam Man of the Prairies by Edward S. Ellis which appeared in Irwin’s American Novels #45 in 1868 and was distributed by the “American News Company.” Beadle & Adams reprinted it in 1877 and 1885 as The Huge Hunter; or, the Steam Man of the Prairies by Edward S. Ellis. Also in 1868, the improbably named Zadock Pratt Dederick (most newspaper accounts pronounced it ‘Dedrick’), a Newark machinist, built a steam man seven foot nine inches tall weighing in at 500 pounds, and facetiously named by the workmen ‘Daniel Lambert’ after the famous Georgian fat man. He was aided by a young German immigrant named Isaac Grass. Steam was generated in the body or trunk, “which is nothing but a three-horsepower engine, like those used in our steam fire engines. The legs which support it are complicated and wonderful. The steps are taken naturally and quite easily. As the body is thrown forward up on the advanced foot, the other is lifted from the ground by a spring and thrown forward by the steam. Each step or pace advances the body two feet and every revolution of the engine produces four paces.” Cost of construction was $2000.

The fellow was attached to a common Rockaway carriage with spikes or corks on his feet to prevent slipping. In order to prevent the steam man from frightening horses Dederick intended to clothe it in felt or woolen undergarments, pantaloons, a coat and a vest in “the latest styles.”

“Whenever the fires need cooling, which is every two or three hours, the driver stops the machine, descends from his seat, unbuttons “Daniel’s” vest, opens a door, shovels in the fuel, buttons up the vest and drives on.”

“Daniel’s” face was “molded into a cheerful countenance of white enamel, which contrasts well with the dark hair and moustache. A sheet-iron hat with a gauge top acts as a smokestack.” Daniel wore gloves and was said to work on twenty cents worth of coal per day.

When news of the incredible steam man got about there was a rush on Dederick’s shop by the curious, who thronged the doorways and darkened the windows to view the skilled mechanics hard at work on “Daniel.” Many improvements were made including the addition of stronger springs so the steam man would not be so “weak in the knees,” and “upon steam being generated he stumped off like a live Trojan.”

On January 25 1868 it was reported that Dederick’s New Jersey steam man made a successful trial trip to the immense satisfaction of the citizenry. “It passed through Broad-street to Crump’s Garden, opposite Military Park, where the machine is to be exhibited to the public during the next week.”

By March 17, 1868 the Newark Steam Man was being exhibited at rented premises on Broadway directly across the street from Barnum’s Museum. There was a “clamorous” crowd but the reporter had to take Dederick’s word that “Daniel” was capable of walking, he seems to have run out of steam for the day. Dederick informed him that he was planning on marketing steam men for $300 each and that a “steam horse” was in the planning stages.

On May 1, 1868 an Ohio Democrat reporter grumbled that “people are out of patience with the steam man.” The Newark Courier summed up what many must have been thinking: “When will all this humbug, all about an iron boiler in a smock frock, be done with? That which is called “the steam man” never did, and in all probability never will, walk the length of his nose.”

One newspaper writer wrote of the problem facing inventors of mechanical men. “To construct a mechanical man is merely to triumph over mechanical difficulties -- the man being of no use, but merely a curiosity when created…”

In the spring and summer of 1875 another steam man was on display, this time traveling the United States and Canada by train with W. W. Cole’s New York and New Orleans Zoological and Equestrian Exposition. He was described in advertisements as the “$8000 Mechanical Wonder” and he “Actually Walks and Runs Alone.” Reviews were mixed. The Burlington Daily Hawkeye reported that “the steam man was the wonder of all who saw him,” while the Jackson Sentinel opined that that “The Calliope was not exactly a facsimile of the instrument depicted on the show bills and the “steam man” was a fraud of the first water. At least we are so informed by all who saw him. We didn't.”

Advertisements pictured an iron man, steam pouring out of a funnel in its head wearing jodhpurs and knee-length boots. The images I have are fuzzy but this steam man appears to be smoking a cigarette. If the steam man was as shown in the advertising art he was probably not Dedrick’s creation. This one had a very human appearance and wore pants, but was not attached to any wagon.

Ellis’s Steam Man of the Prairies was resurrected in 1876 by the publisher Norman L. Munro in The Boys of New York. Norman Munro published it from its beginnings on August 23, 1875 to July 13, 1878, Volume III No. 152. Tousey and Small took over with No. 153, July 20, 1878 and carried it through to 1894, although Small’s name eventually disappeared from the masthead. The first installment of Harry Enton’s serial, The Steam Man of the Plains; or, The Terror of the West (1876), featuring Frank Reade, was published in Volume One No. 28 of The Boys of New York (1875-1894). The Steam Man of the Plains was followed by Frank Reade and His Steam Horse, and Frank Reade and His Steam Team.

Harry Enton’s real name was Harry Cohen, a medical student freelancing on the side for publisher Norman Munro. Cohen’s (1854-1927) stories were reprinted in The Five Cent Wide Awake Library and The Frank Reade Library.

From The Steam Man of the Plains; or, the Terror of the West, in Boys of New York:

‘Charley Gorse beheld a metallic imitation of a man. The figure was about twelve feet high from the bottom of the huge feet to the top of the plug hat which adorned the steam-man’s head. An enormous belly was required to accommodate the boiler and steam chest, and this corpulency agreed well with the height of the metallic steam chap. To give full working room to the very delicate machinery in the interior, the old giant was made to convey a sort of knapsack upon his shoulders. The machine held in its arms in the position taken by a man when he is drawing a carriage.

Charlie glanced up at the face of the monster and beheld a huge pair of glass eyes and an enormous mouth.

“Now then,” said Frank, “the lamp will be in his head, and his eyes will be the headlights. His mouth holds the steam whistle. Here, in his belly, we open a door and put in fuel, and the ashes drop down into his legs and are emptied from the moveable kneepan, and without injury to the oiled leg-shafts, for they are inclosed in a tube. That is why the fellow’s limbs are so large. These wire cords increase the power in one leg, and cause that leg to go much faster, and in that manner we get a side movement and can turn around.

“Go on,” said Charlie, who was intensely excited, “its feet are spiked like a baseball player’s are spiked, to prevent the machine from slipping under speed,” said Frank. “Then you notice that its legs are very long, and very far apart, so as to give it balance. This stop-cock on the side will let on or shut off steam.”

Frank returned in No. 48 in Frank Reade and His Steam Horse. Tousey continued the Frank Reade stories and in 1883 was issuing Frank Reade, Jr. and His Airship.

Another author of scientific dime novels was the mysterious Fred Hazel (possibly a pseudonym) who wrote for the The Boys’ Champion (1881-1883). The Electric Horse; or, the Demon of the Plains was his first effort and appeared in No. 17 and 18. The Boys’ Champion No. 30 and 31 carried The Flying Marvel: or, The Emperor of the Air. Fred Hazel is noted as the author of Nobody’s Child, Lotta, the Young Lady Detective, The Electric Circle, and Lost In Cloudland. None of these stories appeared in The Boys’ Champion and may even have been invented titles to make the author seem more renowned than he actually was.

Fred Hazel’s The Flying Marvel: or, The Emperor of the Air was also derivative of Harry Enton’s stories. It is possible that Harry Enton was the author known as ‘Fred Hazel’ since his name appears on the last Boys’ Champion serial “Young Sullivan” in 1883.

“Passing above Niagara Falls, they soon were floating over Canada, and keeping to a course a little north of west, they kept Lake Erie in sight for a long while.

Skirting Lake Huron until the straits of Mackinaw were reached, they laid their course westward across Lake Superior.”

In The Electric Horse the mysterious “something” that Ike Anderson is building in his parlor is the talk of the town. After the death of his father a German American boy, Bob Stump, comes to live with Ike and his sister, Maggie. Ike shows him the secret of his “something.”

“By shiminy Christmas! It is made of iron isn’t it?” asks Bob. “It is a horse,” said Ingenious Ike, slowly and with emphasis, “It is an Electric Horse!”

A description follows:

“During this time the wooden skeleton of a horse had been completely enclosed by plates of iron- or, more properly steel- shaped so as to conform to the out-line of a well-formed horse.

The upper edge of each plate was tucked up under the lower edge of the plate above it, and ingeniously riveted together, and by the joining together of many plates, the horse was formed.

Then the wooden frame-work or skeleton was removed from the interior.

The horse was a giant in stature, and Bob could walk right under his belly without scraping his head even if he stood on tip-toes.

In the horse’s belly was an iron flap or door, which, on touching a hidden spring, dropped down, leaving a sort of door up through which a person could climb into the interior of the body.”

Two powerful electric batteries, connected to wires, and magnets powered the Electric Horse. Now it was time to put it to the test:

“Ike touched a spring in the horse‘s belly, and the moveable plate falling, left an opening into the body, from which a short rope ladder fell simultaneously with the moving of the plate.

Up into the body Ike went.”

After a successful test, Ike and Bob pack food, guns and ammo.

“Then one night, just after the clock had struck the hour of twelve- Ike- climbing inside the Demon caused it to advance toward the door.”

The hired man wakes up and flees at the awesome sight, while Bob and Ike say their tearful farewells to Maggie.

“A couple of minutes later the road was reached, and as Ike turned the electric steed’s head away from his home he muttered:

“Off for the plains!”

The story was not earth-shaking, but was a good read, and, as far as I know The Electric Horse never returned. The Boys’ Champion No. 26 contained a new serial called The Ocean Mystery; or, The Cruise of the Octopus by Howard De Vere which was another Verne-type submarine adventure. An author using the name Harry Kennedy contributed a few fantastic tales to Boys of New York in 1880; The Flying Man; or, The Adventures of a Young Inventor and Across the Continent in the Air.

Frank Reade stories were based on steam technology while electricity begat Frank Reade Jr. Frank Reade’s airships and submarines were usually equipped with powerful searchlights which illuminated adventures above and blow the sea.

Harry Enton wrote the first three Frank Reade stories and the majority afterwards were penned by Luis Senarens (1863-1939). Senarens began writing at the age of fourteen and it was Jules Verne’s writing that influenced him when he began writing for Frank Tousey’s publications.

“I had heard of the steam-propelled iron man at the Philadelphia Centennial and I built my first stories around this unique creature. The advancement of electrical science some years later led to the expansion of this idea into the greater and newer field.”

Senarens account leaves out Edward S. Ellis and Harry Enton’s contributions.

“Verne read many of my earlier stories, and he frequently wrote to me and encouraged me in my work. After he had written ‘Around the World in Eighty Days,’ a story that afterward proved to be entirely plausible, Verne, it seems, ran out of steam and he did little more along this highly imaginative line.”

Senarens was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1863, the son of a Cuban tobacco merchant, and was already writing under a dozen names while still attending St. John’s College of Arts and Sciences. He sold his first story at 14 and was earning $200 a week at 16. Eventually he would produce 1500 novels and short stories totaling over 40,000,000 words under 27 different pseudonyms among them “Noname,” “Frank Reade Jr.,” “Captain Howard,” “W. J. Earle,” “Ned Sparling,” and “Kit Clyde.”

Senarens first story was sold to publisher Frank Tousey, who was under the illusion that he was dealing with an adult rather than a schoolboy who would not graduate from St. John’s until he was 23 years old in 1885. The two did eventually meet and Frank Tousey hired Senarens as an editor on his numerous story papers. By the age of 30 he had become president of Frank Tousey Publications.

“In the early ‘70’s,” Senarens said, “Jules Verne’s ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea’ had created a sensation throughout the world and everyone was reading it. It was Verne’s writings that stimulated my imagination when I began writing for the Tousey publications. Young America was seeking tales of adventure in those early days.”

“I hit on the idea of introducing mechanism into these stories as a means of giving the readers something new and startling. Our stories were intended for the young minds, but we early decided that it was necessary to describe things in detail, and to make our plots as plausible as possible. Of course there were no airships and no submarines and we didn’t conscientiously believe that there ever would be airships or submarines, but in dealing with our stories we tried to make the plots consistent.”

Luis Senarens died Tuesday, December 26, 1939, age 76, in King’s County Hospital of heart failure. During his extraordinary career he forecast the modern submarine, the armored car, the airplane and the dirigible. His Frank Reade Jr. stories spawned numerous boy inventor imitators. Foremost were Jack Wright, Tom Edison Jr., and Electric Bob. Senarens was a huge influence on Edward L. Stratemeyer, who wrote the Tom Swift series of boys’ books for the next generation.

The success of Frank Reade led to further adventurers like the Jack Wright series, first published in The Boys Star Library and featured in Golden Weekly. Street & Smith’s Nugget Library offered up ‘Philip Reade’s’ Tom Edison Jr. and the New York 5¢ Library had Electric Bob. Tousey published The Adventures of Harry Franco in Wide Awake Library in 1880. The Aldine Publishing Company in London, England reprinted many of the Frank Reade stories with dazzling new cover art. These were shipped all over the British Empire by Gordon & Gotch, a firm still supplying newsstands with British and Australian periodicals to this day.


*Dederick’s fantastic story is told in “Science Fiction and the Dime Novel” by Everett F. Bleiler, AB Bookman’s Weekly 23 October 1995. That article along with much additional information unearthed by Joseph Rainone appeared in the superbly illustrated “The Frank Reade Weekly” by Joseph Rainone, NY: Almond Press 2005. Joseph also alerted me to Crofton Croker’s Daniel O’Rourke; or, a Visit to the Moon. Images of Dederick's Steam Man are HERE. Mechanical Marvels of the Nineteenth Century is HERE.

*“The Five Cent Wide Awake Library” by Joseph Rainone, NY: Almond Press 2005

*“Juvenile Thrillers that Foretold the Wonders of Science,” New York Tribune, 8 Aug 1920 p.9

*““Frank Reade Jr.” Dreamed ‘Em and They Came True,” newspaper article, no date.

*Images courtesy Joe Rainone and E. M. Sanchez Saavedra.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011






E.M. Sanchez-Saavedra

The current conflict between the West and extremist jihadists is the second “holy war” waged against Europe and America in the past century. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 represented the opening salvo of the first such war. A look at popular illustrated magazines from the enemy side can be useful in analyzing the shift of Japanese public opinion from progressive, pro-Western attitudes to a fanatical and ultimately self-destructive outlook.

Japan’s long tradition of graphic excellence translated well to the era of illustrated periodicals. As halftone photographic processes supplanted the traditional ukio-e woodblock prints for publicizing newsworthy events, photographers and illustrators combined their talents to produce pleasing and artistic books and magazines, even during the exigencies of total war in the 1940s.

When the U.S. Navy “opened” Japan in the 1850s, the resultant social and cultural upheaval transformed a medieval society into a progressive modern state within thirty years. Unfortunately, the overwhelming push to modernize following western models embraced some very bad ideas along with the beneficial ones, including colonialism. The person of the emperor was elevated to become the focus of a new breed of hyper-nationalism – to die for the living god became the highest goal one could aspire to. Like Britain, Japan is an island nation with few natural resources and an ever-expanding population. During the reign of Emperor Meiji (1868-1912), Britain ruled an empire embracing almost one-fifth of the globe. With this model before them, Japan’s leaders began casting covetous eyes on the disorganized Chinese empire with its limitless resources and despised human labor pool. The doctrine of “Hakko Ichiu,” or “Eight Corners of the World under one [Japanese] Roof,” began to influence subsequent domestic and foreign policy. The government hired Western specialists to jump-start a total revolution in technology, selecting only the best of the best. After Prussia defeated France in 1870, German military advisers soon replaced French ones.

After creating a standing army and a modern navy on European lines, Japan defeated China in 1894-5, taking Formosa (Taiwan,) and inflicted a crushing series of military and naval disasters on Russia in 1904-5. She annexed Korea in 1910, adding it to large concessions on the Chinese mainland. During World War I, Japan chased the Germans out of their Asian colonies and earned a place at the Versailles Peace Conference. Feeling cheated after the Allies limited naval tonnage in 1921, Japan began to pursue a tangential course of Asian expansion, secretly fortifying the island “mandates” granted by the Versailles treaty. The worldwide depression of 1929 hit Japan with special force as her essential import/export markets dried up. Crippling taxation and inept local government worsened the crisis. Parliamentary government disintegrated. Extremist army cliques used terror and assassination to bring down government opponents. In 1931, virtually autonomous radical army units fabricated “incidents” and seized Manchuria, with its coal and mineral resources. The puppet state of “Manchukuo” came into being. Following censure, Japan’s delegation walked out of the League of Nations. Another clash in 1937 at the Marco Polo Bridge, near Beijing, led to an all-out war with China. (The Japanese government refused to acknowledge the struggle as a war, always referring to it as the “Shi-na Ji-hen” or “China Incident.”) This conflict merged into the “Dai-To-A Senso” or “Great East Asian War” following the Pearl Harbor attack of December 7, 1941, and only ended with the total defeat of Japan in 1945.

As historian John W. Dower has stated, “Japan’s belated emergence as a dominant power in Asia…challenged not just the Western presence but the entire mystique of white supremacism on which centuries of European and American expansion had rested.” (John W. Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986) p. 6.)

While resenting the anti-Japanese racism evident in Western immigration policies, the Japanese government exploited an “Asia for the Asians” official propaganda, while pursuing an intensely racist program of subjugation in China and other occupied countries as the war progressed. The inexpensive illustrated magazines that flooded Japanese newsstands saturated their readers with images of victorious troops “liberating” oppressed fellow-Asians from European colonial masters. Beaming Imperial troops were depicted fraternizing with peasants, feeding sweets to cherubic children and pitching in with harvesting chores. Interspersed with the heady military news, ship launchings and images of happy families enjoying the scenery of the home islands were news items about the economic and social miracles wrought by Germany’s progressive new chancellor. Japan and the Third Reich signed a treaty of friendship in 1936, and the Japanese in effect became “honorary Aryans” in 1940 under the Tripartite Pact. Vichy France turned French Indo-China (Vietnam) over to her new ally. Propaganda magazines in the Axis countries increasingly touted each other’s activities.

After war broke out in Europe in 1939, Japan’s antipathy to the colonial powers turned from ideology to action as Hitler’s panzers blitzed their way across the continent. A common theme was the so-called “ABCD Encirclement” of Japan by Americans, British, Chinese and the Dutch. The coordinated attacks of December 1941 through Summer, 1942 made perfect sense as an effective neutralization of three elements of this supposed threat. (Gaining the Dutch oil fields wasn’t so bad either.) Hong Kong, the Philippines, Malaya, Indonesia, New Guinea, Burma, Thailand and other countries quickly fell to the new Samurai. The same “lebensraum” (living space – for Germans only) idea that Hitler used to justify his invasion of Russia had been a staple of Japanese policy towards China since 1931. Thousands of colonists followed in the wake of the rogue Kwantung Army as it steamrollered across eastern China throughout the 1930s.

To promote blind patriotism at home and the “Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere” abroad, Japan’s chief propaganda magazines were the Asahigraph (Rising Sun Pictorial), the Shashin Shuho (Pictorial Weekly), the Rekishi Shashin (Historic Photos) and the Gaho Yakushin shi Nihon (Illustrated Magazine – Advance in Nippon) and Front. Others came and went. There was even a “Navy Serviceman’s Relief Stuffed Miscellany/Frontline Library!” Spinoffs and similar magazines soon appeared in occupied areas in the local languages. The Tokko, or “thought police” of the dreaded Kempeitai (Japan’s version of the Gestapo) maintained a uniform set of hard-line standards for all publications, government-sponsored as well as privately published. Organs of dissent did not last long. One publisher who criticized the Army had his printing plant buzzed by fighter planes! A curious pro-Western magazine entitled Front first appeared in 1936, published by Gosha Boeki in Tokyo. Commandeered by the Imperial General Staff, a reconstituted propaganda magazine entitled Front was eventually published in fifteen languages by the “International Press Photography Association.” Because of total censorship, most Japanese were thunderstruck by the surrender in August 1945, having no idea that they had been losing for the past two years!

Asahigraph, Japan’s equivalent to America’s Life Magazine and Germany’s Die Woche, began in January 1923 as a daily picture supplement to Tokyo’s first newspaper, the Asahi Shimbun (Morning Paper,) founded in 1879. After the 1923 earthquake interrupted publication, it was transformed into a weekly in November 1923. Three years later it merged with a graphic weekly published in Osaka. The contents were general and included puzzles, cartoons and photojournalistic studies. As the militarists tightened their grip on all aspects of society, the paper’s liberal editorials soon landed it in trouble. After the Tokko wrecked its offices, the Asahi Shimbun fell into line and began reporting all military actions as victories.

To the present generation, surfeited with a glut of violent imagery from the evening news to movie theaters and video games, the reluctance of both Axis and Allied publishers to depict the gruesome and messy consequences of war must be incomprehensible. A photograph of dead U.S. Marines at Buna Beach was taken in February 1943, and only reluctantly published in Life in September, after months of editorial debate. Although blurry shots of Chinese corpses appeared in Japanese magazines, civilians never saw images of their own mounting casualties. Only processions of white-gloved honor guards, carrying neat boxes of ashes to Shinto temples ever made it into the propaganda magazines. Obviously, atrocities such as the Rape of Nanking, the horrific medical experiments of “Unit 731” and the ill treatment of Allied prisoners were taboo. Unlike many Germans, who could smell the death camps in their back yards, Japanese atrocities took place in faraway China or Burma and civilians remained ignorant of them. As America’s blockade tightened, austerity measures became evident. Asahigraph went from full-color covers, to duotone, to black and white. Advertising declined and later issues have fewer pages. Unlike most publications, Asahigraph survived the 1945 defeat and remained in print until 2000 as a glossy pop culture magazine.

Shashin Shuho was launched in February 1937 and sank in July 1945. Smaller in format and printed on coarse paper by Naikaku Johokyoku (the Information Department of the Cabinet) it was a rosy celebration of Japan’s advances on social, industrial, economic and -- of course -- military fronts. If Asahigraph resembled Life, Shashin Shuho resembled Liberty or Collier’s. It promoted a fiercely patriotic outlook, (“Yamato Damashii,” or Japanese Spirit,) condemning degenerate Western influences like jazz, permanent-waves, baseball, etc., as the war progressed. One issue from 1943 featured a cover photo of a “Chinatown” brothel with signs in English (“50 sen only for the fair girls’ serVice”) and contained lists of proscribed places and consumer goods.

Rekishi Shashin was a privately published magazine devoted to art and photography, which first appeared in 1913 and went out of business in 1944. Its presswork maintained very high standards throughout its existence. The magazine featured foldout reproductions of classic artworks and fine-quality photographic printing. Wartime shortages caused an overall decline in paper quality and color printing.

Little is known about Advance in Nippon, published by Toyo Bunka Kyokai. It was printed on glossy stock, its presswork and photo reproduction were excellent and its map supplements compare favorably with those from National Geographic. Like the other magazines, it promoted a sanitized, optimistic view of the ever-widening war in China. The bilingual title suggests that it was intended partially for export, like Germany’s Signal magazine.

Anti-American and anti-British propaganda became more strident as Allied forces approached ever closer to the home islands. Roosevelt was shown uttering phrases like “Kill You Japs” and forcing African-Americans into the army to kill fellow nonwhites. Photos depicted loyal Japanese burning stacks of jazz records and harassing women with Western hairstyles or clothing (the so-called mo-ga, or "modern girl"). By this time all civilians were wearing standardized apparel – quasi military uniforms for men and boys, with the ubiquitous fatigue cap, and “monpe” or baggy-trousered coveralls for women and girls. Malnutrition became a problem, since most foodstuffs went to the armed forces. A “rising sun lunch,” consisting of a small oblong bento box with white rice and a single red plum in the center, was a special treat, and might be the only meal of the day. Workdays averaged about fourteen hours, plus compulsory overtime. Much war production took place in home workshops, a situation used to justify the carpet firebombing of Japanese cities.

The cartoons which appeared in these publications display a marked difference between Western and Japanese prejudices. American cartoonists usually portrayed Japanese troops as subhuman apes with large fangs. Caricatures on the cover of Time magazine by Arthur Szyk and Boris Artzybasheff emphasized the “yellow peril” of America’s new enemy. In contrast, Japanese artists depicted westerners as hairy demons with horns and maleficent powers, and their political leaders as balloon-headed figures filled with hot air. Both types of dehumanization drew deeply from traditional imagery of the “other.” Nineteenth century American caricatures of Irish and Chinese immigrants and Japanese prints of hairy, rowdy American sailors in Yokohama display identical stereotypes. The characteristic facial peculiarities of Roosevelt and Churchill provided abundant scope for both Axis and Allied caricaturists. Images of avuncular FDR as a horned devil dropping bombs on a Red Cross hospital ship are jolting to Westerners. I suspect that cartoons of Premier Tojo as a drooling simian were equally disturbing to our opponents.

Living in a beautiful but harsh environment and plagued by constant seismic activity and natural disasters, Japan’s citizens have learned endurance, resilience and teamwork. The same qualities that sustained Japan throughout its long and troubled history – obedience, respect, hard work, thrift and a warrior culture – would prove her downfall as a small clique of militarists cynically manipulated these traits for a doomed imperialist venture. Popular magazines became a powerful tool in persuading the general population to support the insane scheme with their sacrifices and blood.

For further reading:

David C. Earhart, Certain Victory: Images of World War II in the Japanese Media (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, Inc., 2008).

Haruko Taya Cook and Theodore F. Cook, Japan at War: An Oral History (New York: The New Press, 1992). The first-person interviews reveal that, despite the best efforts of the “thought police,” wartime Japanese society was far less monolithic than western propaganda tried to suggest.

Eugene Soviak, ed., A Diary of Darkness; The Wartime Diary of Kiyosawa Kiyoshi (Princeton University press, 1999).


Monday, August 22, 2011

Gleason's Contributors

I don't know anything about L. Curtiss Hine but during the same period E. Curtiss Hine was contributing to Graham's American Monthly, Graham's Magazine and The Knickerbocker -- probably the same person and possibly a pseudonym. Dr. J. H. Robinson was a very popular author of romances in the forties and fifties. One of his highwayman romances, Nightshade; or, the Masked Robber of Hounslow Heath, was still being published in the 1880's by Beadle & Adams. Francis A. Duriface is a complete unknown (Update: blame it on the typeface the author's real name was Francis Alexander Durifage). Miss Sarah M. Howe was another romance writer. She contributed The Heiress of Toulon, or, A Sailor's Fortune: a descriptive romance of the land and the ocean to Gleason's publications in 1852. Mrs. M. E. Robinson contributed The Dirt-Barrel War to Ballou's Monthly Magazine in 1855 and An Incident of the Revolution to Gleason's Monthly Companion in 1873. Perhaps she was the wife or daughter of Dr. Robinson.

F. Clinton Barrington was mentioned in Haynes Pseudonyms of Authors in 1882 as the pseudonym of Leon Lewis but Johannsen in The House of Beadle & Adams states that

"Recently Mr. Ralph Adimari, in a letter to me of November 12, 1952, mentioned finding in Ballou's Pictorial Drawing Room Companion, XVI, 1859, 408, column 4, the following announcement: "Captain Belt; or, The Buccaneers of the Gulf . . . is the best novelette Professor Ingraham ever produced, and was written expressly for this establishment." Since this appeared in print while Ingraham was still living and by the successor to the original publisher, it must be accepted as the truth, and Barrington's name must be added to the list of Joseph Holt Ingraham's pen names. All the stories with this by-line or the by-line A. G. Piper, consequently, must be transferred to J. H. Ingraham's list. Haynes's and Cushing's statements that Barrington was a pen name of Julius Warren Lewis must be considered erroneous, and the Barrington stories and the Piper reprint must be transferred to J. H. Ingraham's list."

The Ingraham image below is borrowed from HERE for comparison.

Complicating matters further is a copy of the romance Conrado de Beltran, published by Gleason, on which someone has written Julius Warren Lewis on the cover image HERE.

Pictorial Mastheads

E. M. Sanchez Saavedra sent along this montage of pictorial mastheads from U.S. imitators of the Illustrated London News. He writes "Gleason's, Ballou's and Leslie's did their best to recreate an American visual look-alike for St. Paul's Cathedral dome. The [New York] Illustrated News, published by P.T. Barnum and Moses Beach, couldn't find a prominent dome on the N.Y. skyline, but settled for a crowded harbor. Leslie's used the Capitol dome in Washington, D.C. Both Gleason and Leslie employed similar ornate gingerbread lettering.

The Confederate Southern Illustrated News tried to mimic the proportions with Crawford's statue of George Washington in Richmond, Virginia. Only Harper's Weekly used an original style for its masthead, downplaying the "illustrated" or "pictorial" label, although the paper's format was closely based on the ILN model. Of all those periodicals, only the original is still in existence."