Title Everybody's Friend, or; Josh Billing's Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, Profusely Illustrated by Thomas Nast and Other Artists
Book Condition Very Good
Jacket Condition No Jacket
Edition First Edition
Publisher Hartford American Publishing Company 1874
Illustrator Nast, Thomas; et al
Seller ID 2201028
Hartford: American Publishing Company. 1874. First Edition. x, 610 pp. 8vo. 8 7/8 x 6 1/4. Original full leather binding, black leather spine, gilt titles & rules. Etching of author by H.B. Hall as frontispiece, numerous illustrations by the famous Thomas Nast and others throughout text. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Josh Billings was the pen name of humorist born Henry Wheeler Shaw (20 April 1818 - 14 October 1885). He was perhaps the second most famous humor writer and lecturer in the United States in the second half of the 19th century after Mark Twain, although his reputation has not fared so well with later generations. Shaw was born in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, and worked as a farmer, coal miner, explorer, and auctioneer before he began making a living as a journalist and writer in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1858. Under the pseudonym Josh Billings he wrote in an informal voice full of the slang of the day, with often eccentric phonetic spelling, dispensing wit and folksy common-sense wisdom. His books include Farmers' Allminax, Josh Billings' Sayings, Everybody's Friend, Choice Bits of American Wit and Josh Billings' Trump Kards. His saying, In the whole history of the world there is but one thing that money can not buy... to wit the wag of a dog's tail appears at the beginning of the Disney film Lady and the Tramp. He toured, giving lectures of his writings, which were very popular with the audiences of the day. Billings died in Monterey, California. Billings' death is described in Chapter 12 of John Steinbeck's fictional Cannery Row. According to Steinbeck's homage, Billings died in the the Hotel del Monte in Monterey after which his body was delivered for burial preparation by the local constable to the town's only doctor, who also doubled as an amateur mortician. The doctor, per his usual embalming protocol, dispensed of Billings' entrails by tossing them into the gulch behind his house before packing the torso with sawdust. The stomach, liver and intestines were found in the gulch the following morning by a dog whose master, a small boy, intended on using them for fish bait. Some local men, realizing the disgrace this could bring to Monterey -- a town proud of its literary heritage -- were able to stop the boy as he was preparing to row out to sea, retrieved the tripas and forced the doctor to give Billings' organs a proper burial befitting a great author. While the Squeaky Wheel analysis was used in different forms before Billings, his poem, The Kicker brought the idiom into common usage of American language. The term kicker at the time in the 1800s was another term for a complainer. The poem is: I hate to be a kicker / I always long for peace / But the wheel that does the squeaking / Is the one that gets the grease. ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR: Thomas Nast (September 27, 1840 - December 7, 1902) was a German-born American caricaturist and editorial cartoonist who is considered to be the Father of the American Cartoon. Nast drew for Harper's Weekly from 1859 to 1860 and from 1862 until 1886. In February 1860 he went to England for the New York Illustrated News to depict one of the major sporting events of the era, the prize fight between the American John C. Heenan and the English Thomas Sayers sponsored by George Wilkes, publisher of Wilkes' Spirit of the Times. A few months later, as artist for The Illustrated London News, he joined Garibaldi in Italy. Nast's cartoons and articles about the Garibaldi military campaign to unify Italy captured the popular imagination in the U.S. In 1861, he married Sarah Edwards, whom he had met two years earlier. His first serious works in caricature was the cartoon Peace, (made in 1862) directed against those in the North who opposed the prosecution of the American Civil War. This and his other cartoons during the Civil War and Reconstruction days were published in Harper's Weekly. He was known for drawing battlefields in border and southern states. These attracted great attention, and Nast was called by President Abraham Lincoln our best recruiting sergeant. Later, Nast strongly opposed President Andrew Johnson and his Reconstruction policy. Nast's drawings were instrumental in the downfall of Boss Tweed, the powerful Tammany Hall leader. As commissioner of public works for New York City, Tweed led a ring that, by 1870, had gained total control of the city's government, and controlled a working majority in the State Legislature. Tweed and his associates - Peter Barr Sweeny (park commissioner), Richard B. Connolly (controller of public expenditures), and Mayor A. Oakey Hall - defrauded the city of many millions of dollars by grossly inflating expenses paid to contractors connected to the Ring. Nast, whose cartoons attacking Tammany corruption had appeared occasionally since 1867, intensified his focus on the four principal players in 1870 and especially in 1871. Tweed so feared Nast's campaign that an emissary was sent to offer Thomas Nast a large bribe, which was represented as a gift from a group of wealthy benefactors to enable Nast to study art in Europe. Feigning interest, Nast bid the initial offer of $100,000 dollars up to $500,000 before declaring, I don't think I'll do it. Nast pressed his attack, and an indignant public rose against the Ring, which was removed from power in the election of November 7, 1871. Tweed was arrested in 1873 and convicted of fraud. When Tweed attempted to escape justice in December 1875 by fleeing to Cuba and from there to Spain, officials in Vigo, Spain were able to identify the fugitive by using one of Nast's cartoons. Nast believed that the well-organized Irish immigrant communities in New York had provided the basis for Tweed's popular support. Because of this - along with Nast's Anti-Catholic and Nativist beliefs - Nast often portrayed the Irish immigrant community, and Catholic Church leaders, with extreme prejudice. In 1871, one of his works, titled The American River Ganges, infamously portrayed Catholic bishops as crocodiles waiting to attack American school children. Nast's anti-Irish sentiment is apparent in his characteristic depiction of the Irish as violent drunks, often with ape-like features. In general, his political cartoons supported American Indians, Chinese Americans and advocated abolition of slavery. Nast also dealt with segregation and the violence of the Ku Klux Klan, which was detailed in one of his more famous cartoons called Worse than Slavery, which showed a despondent black family having their house destroyed by arson, and two members of the Ku Klux Klan and White League are shaking hands in their mutually destructive work against black Americans. His cartoons frequently had numerous sidebars and panels with intricate subplots to the main cartoon. A Sunday feature could provide hours of entertainment and highlight social causes. His signature Tammany Tiger has been emulated by many cartoonists over the years, and he introduced into American cartoons the practice of modernizing scenes from Shakespeare for a political purpose. Harper's Weekly, and Nast, played an important role in the election of Ulysses Grant in 1868 and 1872; in the latter campaign, Nast's ridicule of Horace Greeley's candidacy was especially merciless. Nast became a close friend of President Grant and the two families shared regular dinners until Grant's death. Nast encouraged the former president's efforts in writing his autobiography while battling cancer. He moved to Morristown, New Jersey in 1872 and lived there for many years. In 1873, Nast toured the United States as a lecturer and a sketch-artist, as he would do again in 1885 and 1887. He shared political views with his friend Mark Twain and was for many years a staunch Republican. Nast opposed inflation of the currency, notably with his famous rag-baby cartoons, and he played an important part in securing Rutherford B. Hayes' presidential election in 1876. Hayes later remarked that Nast was the most powerful, single-handed aid [he] had, but Nast quickly became disillusioned with President Hayes, whose policy of Southern pacification he opposed. He was not given free rein to attack Hayes in Harper's, however; with the death of Fletcher Harper in 1877, Nast lost an important champion at the journal, and his contributions became less frequent. He focused on oil paintings and book illustrations, but these are comparatively unimportant. In 1884, his advocacy of civil service reform and his distrust of James G. Blaine, the Republican presidential candidate, forced him to become a Mugwump, whose support of Grover Cleveland helped him to win election as the first Democratic president since 1856. In the words of the artist's grandson, Thomas Nast St Hill, it was generally conceded that Nast's support won Cleveland the small margin by which he was elected. In this his last national political campaign, Nast had, in fact, 'made a president.' Nevertheless, Nast's tenure at Harper's Weekly ended with his Christmas illustration of December 1886. In the words of journalist Henry Watterson, in quitting Harper's Weekly, Nast lost his forum: in losing him, Harper's Weekly lost its political importance. In 1890, he published Thomas Nast's Christmas Drawings for the Human Race. He contributed cartoons in various publications, notably the Illustrated American, but with the advent of new methods and younger blood his vogue was passed. In 1892, he took control of a failing magazine, the New York Gazette, and renamed it Nast's Weekly. Now returned to the Republican fold, Nast used the Weekly as a vehicle for his cartoons supporting Benjamin Harrison for president, but the magazine had little impact and ceased publication shortly after Harrison's defeat. In 1902 Theodore Roosevelt appointed him as the United States' Consul General to Guayaquil, Ecuador in South America. During a deadly yellow fever outbreak, Nast stayed to the end helping numerous diplomatic missions and businesses escape the contagion. At age 62, in 1902, he died of yellow fever contracted there. His body was returned to the United States where he was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in The Bronx, New York. Nast's depiction of iconic characters, such as Santa Claus and Uncle Sam, are widely credited with giving us the recognized versions we see today: A classic version of Santa Claus, drawn in 1863 for Harper's Weekly. Before then, most depictions of Santa Claus showed a tall, thin man. Nast drew him as the bearded, plump man known today; Republican Party elephant; Democratic Party donkey; Tammany Hall tiger, a symbol of Boss Tweed's political machine; Columbia, a graceful image of the Americas as a woman, usually in flowing gown and tiara, carrying a sword to defend the downtrodden; Uncle Sam, a lanky image of the United States (first drawn in the 1830s; Nast and John Tenniel added the goatee); John Confucius, a variation of John Chinaman, a traditional caricature of a Chinese Immigrant; The Fight at Dame Europa's School, 1871.Keywords: HUMOR ENTERTAINMENT COMEDY SATIRE Condition Notes: First edition. Boards rubbed, hinges slightly shaken but binding sound overall, rear flyleaf loose but included.