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Frederick Burr Opper


Frederick Burr Opper (1857-1937)
The Bread-Line Brothers, or, Listen, Boss, I Seen Better Days
Published December 1919 in the New York Journal

On December 11, 1919, New York City experienced 60 mile-per-hour winds with lows around 20 degrees, and these conditions prompted the city to open shelters for the homeless. In this cartoon, Opper used the newly opened shelters to explore other issues by personifying the parties asking for American aid.

Among Opper's homeless is the League of Nations, which had just taken a beating from the United States Senate. Although President Wilson touted the plan, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge presented 14 “reservations” about the proposal. On November 19, 1919, the proposal to join the League was defeated by a vote of 39 in favor to 55 opposed. The second “bum" in line is “Booze.” Prohibition of alcohol took effect earlier in the year, and the New York Times reported that New York City was 75% dry by December 1919. Third is the Democratic Party, which, in a surprising upset, was defeated in early November by Republicans in state and local elections. Fourth in line are Japanese colonizers, illustrating continued concerns about Japanese colonialism. Finally, although World War I had been over for a year, is Europe, with America questioning moral obligations to aid in post-war recovery efforts.  


Frederick Burr Opper (1857-1937) Freeneasy Film Co. Presents -- Realistic Legal Reel, Showing That a Judge Has a Grand Job
Possibly published August 1921 in the New York Journal

On August 1, 1921, the New York Times ran an opinion essay charging municipal judges with shirking their duties—especially during the summer. The essay quotes I. Montefiore Levy, Chairman of the Municipal Court Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association, who said that judges "are a capable and honest body of men. The complaint against them today is that they do not perform a full day’s work.” Levy goes on to challenge the judges’ 2 ½-month vacation schedules: “Notwithstanding this, they frequently do not live up to their Summer assignments, even although their assignments so provide, with the result that practically they have a vacation of three months each, in addition to Saturday and legal holidays and an occasional day off.”

Levy suggests that the judges forsake their summer vacations and concentrate on reducing their dockets. Levy also addresses the issue of courtesy in the courtroom. He states, “Many Judges refuse to make announcements. At about 10:00 in the morning the Judges have a fair idea as to what business can be transacted that day, and it would seem reasonable for them to announce what cases will probably be tried.” Those who are on the docket, but for whom the judge will probably not hear, are inconvenienced by having to sit through a day of court instead of going to work.