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I Want to Know?

Major collection: Hart Nautical
Named collection: Allan Forbes Collection
Object type: newspaper; woodcut
Maker: Place made: United States
Date made: 1872
Materials: ink; paper; mounting
Measurements: 5 1/4 in x 5 in
Nomenclature: Jonah
Classification: whales

A man in a hat with glasses and thick sideburns and beard stands atop a cliff on the right side of the image. He carries a paper under his shoulder with the text "LIBERAL PARTY". Falling out of the back of his overcoat is another paper with the text "CRATZ BROWN". He is shouting at a large, spouting whale whose head occupies much of the rest of the image and is emblazoned with the words "THE POLITICIANS DEMOCRATIC PARTY". Underneath the image is the text, "I WANT TO KNOW?" "Did Jonah swallow the Whale, or the Whale swallow Jonah? Do tell!" From Harper's Bazaar, 2 November 1872. The image refers to the Presidential campaign of 1872, during which Thomas Nast supported then-President Grant's reelection. The bearded man represents Horace Greeley, the nominee of both the new Liberal Republican Party and the Democratic Party. The two parties differed in everything but the desire to defeat Grant, and the public wondered whether Greeley, the Liberal, would dominate his new supporters, or the Democrats would swallow up Greeley. When Nast first wished to depict B. Gratz Brown, Greeley's vice-presidential colleague, he could not find a photograph to copy, and represented Brown as a tag on Greeley's coat. The trick so pleased his public that Nast used it throughout the campaign.