Cruikshank, Robert. The Penny Comic Magazine Illustrated with Numerous Comic Engravings by R. Cruickshank, &c. The Comic Letter Press, by the most Popular Comic Writers of the Day, No.7. London: W. Marshall  Sold by Pattis, Bridges Street, Strand; Strange, Paternoster Row. The Penny Comic Magazine was “published every Saturday” and “every six numbers [were] to form a part, to be published on the first of every month.” 17.5 cm, in the original publisher’s wrapper, illustrated with a title-page woodcut entitled, “The Tide Waiter.” The original wrapper is soiled but the interior pages are clean and in good condition. One other copy was located at Harvard, which has a volume of only 18 numbers, of which number 7 is but one.
A periodical, a weekly, paginated continuously. Number 7 has numbered pages 74 to 83. Two selections, “Jim Crow’s Trip to Downing Street” and “Bobbing for Eels!” by Ralph Rodwell are the only literary content, illustrated with a pejorative frontispiece of a Jim Crow figure standing on the back of a galloping horse in a circus arena and a second full-page woodblock illustration titled, “Nay! Now be quiet, Dobs, it’s too hot for larking; let’s take it cooly and fish steady,” showing two intoxicated fishermen, one of whom is only visible by his booted feet sticking out of the river. A third woodcut entitled, “A Murrter, or No Trigger Law,” show two men before a fireplace sharing a drink, with the stock and trigger of one man’s shotgun resting dangerously in the fire.” A descriptive paragraph in Scots dialect is printed below the image.
Thomas Dartmouth Rice was an American theatrical performer who painted his face black and used African American vernacular speech in minstrel shows. He is considered the father of American minstrelsy. Rice popularized his characterization of a real-life elderly and deformed slave, who had punctuated every stanza of his song with a small jump. This physical handicap was adapted by Rice into his famous theatrical act. Rice’s popularization entered the phrase “jump Jim Crow” into the vernacular. Later, “Jim Crow” came to represent a general negative stereotype used to describe people of African American descent. “Jim Crow’s Trip to Downing Street” appeared in 1837, an early illustrated print reference to this infamous racial stereotype, masquerading here in an occasional political satire.
The racial stereotype depicted in this publication do not reflect the view, opinions or beliefs of the bookseller.