Home  »  Volume XVII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II  »  § 2. Comic Journalism; Puck, Judge, Life

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

IX. Minor Humorists

§ 2. Comic Journalism; Puck, Judge, Life

The channels of humorous journalism were meanwhile clearly marked out. Casual newspaper paragraphers like J. M. Bailey of The Danbury [Connecticut] News, C. B. Lewis of The Detroit Free Press, and R. J. Burdette of The Burlington [Iowa] Hawkeye gave their otherwise obscure journals a nation-wide prominence, and demonstrated the commercial value of daily humour. Their books, compiled from newspaper clippings, have, however, long been covered by les neiges d’antan. Eugene Field set the measure of the humorist’s output at one column a day “leaded agate, first line brevier.” He aspired also to produce work of permanent literary quality. His standards in both respects are kept up at the present time by such experienced “colyumists” as Bert Leston Taylor (“B. L. T.”) of The Chicago Tribune and in New York by Franklin P. Adams (“F. P. A.”) of The Tribune and Don Marquis of The Evening Sun. The column that soothes tired business men on train, subway, or trolley has long been supplemented for family, club, and barber-shop consumption by the humorous weeklies: Puck, founded in 1877; Judge, 1881; and most notably Life, 1883. Taking their cue rather from the best of the college funny papers, such as The Harvard Lampoon, founded 1876, than from Punch, these weekly magazines have supplied the public with its best periodical humour. H. C. Bunner, one time editor of Puck, and John Ames Mitchell and Edward S. Martin, founders of Life, should be mentioned among the writers who have given a high tone to comic journalism.