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Illustrating

( Originally Published 1916 )

THE newspaper office since 1884 has become a more than complex affair, due to improvements in mechanics and enlargement of its scope by the addition of illustrations and the production of supplements in color, halftone and gravure. While' once in a very great while a daily newspaper would use a "- cut " or a war-map in its news columns, the costly and slow process of wood-engraving furnished the sole medium for illustration and was out of reach by reason of time and expense. In the seventies the coming of the " chalk-plate process caused the establishment of a daily devoted mainly to pictures, the New York Graphic, a costly venture for its promoters. It existed for some years, but without striking any popular chord. The pictures, by reason of the process employed, were coarse sketches, that really told a very poor story of events.

Meantime photo-engraving developed. By pen-and-inking a silver print the work of the camera could be reproduced with tolerable accuracy. Still the daily made little use of the invention. In 1884, the New York World began the first regular effort to illustrate a newspaper, V. Gribayedoff being the pioneer artist and Walt McDougall the earliest cartoonist. Their efforts grew in voland other talent developed. When the New York Recorder was established it provided itself with a good art staff whose work was made much of in silver print, though the dynamiting of Russell Sage in 1892 was the first event to be what could be called fully illustrated. The head of Norcross, the dynamiter, had been blown from his body and was taken to police head-quarters, where John S. Pughe, a slender boy on the Recorder staff, who became Puck's chief cartoonist, made a startling drawing of it by candle light, the most striking bit of work up to that time done by a newspaper artist. That the night editor saw fit to print it on the second page, did not detract from the achievement. From that time progress was rapid, but copious illustrating did not develop until 1894, when the World established the first " Sunday magazine supplement " with pages free from advertisements which gave a chance for conspicuous pictorial efforts and opened a market for art work profitable to the artist and important to the papers. The daily cartoon showed itself to first and best advantage in the Evening Telegram, where the late Charles G. Bush, head of his profession, shone until trans-planted to the Herald and later to the World, in 1898. From that year till now few papers of importance have been without their cartoonist—a powerful and invaluable adjunct to the editorial page. It will be re-membered that Thomas Nast was the father of the American cartoon as a regular feature and that Tweed offered him $100,000 to quit.

Stop the d---d pictures," the boss was credited with remarking, and I don't care for the rest." It is true that to Nast's pitiless pencil he owed his overthrow, and in the cartoon, the newspaper of today finds one of its keenest and most effective weapons.

The Recorder had an admirable cartoonist, Dan McCarthy, who forsook the throttle of a New York Central locomotive to become a leader in his line. Before taking up cartooning McCarthy did general illustrating for the Herald and in time was sent to Paris to ornament the European edition. His return to New York and his development as a cartoonist occurred this wise, according to tradition. He received an order to go forthwith to Trouville and went, expecting instructions to follow. None came. He busied himself with making a budget of local sketches and sent-them to the office. In return he received a sharp rebuke for doing something he had not been told to do. So he took to drink and on the day when the Bennett coach rolled up to the inn—the event which he had been sent to depict—he eyed the load of Russian Grand Dukes malevolently and asked the whip, who was no less a person than his chief, " what he paid those Kings for riding around with him."

An early passage home followed, where the key to the street was handed him. From the Recorder Mr. McCarthy went to the World. His best cartoon was the knot tied in the British lion's tail during the agitation following Mr. Cleveland's Venezuelan message. It ,was printed January 9, 1896.

Today the cartoonist earns a better salary than most bank presidents and ranks with the best of the editors.

As white paper improved in texture it became possible to print with reasonable clearness from half-tone plates. At first these were inserted in the stereotype plate, but as this was impossible where many duplications were required, it was not long before the photo-etchers could produce a plate that stood stereotyping and now the use of " cuts " is common in all kinds of papers. They have had the effect of killing the descriptive writer, once the pride of the city staff, and of curtailing much wordiness. The tendency of the day is for rather less illustrating in the daily issue and more on Sunday.

The use of color was an idea that had the germ in the World office, and taken from there, where it had never got beyond experiment, to that of the Recorder, where George W. Turner succeeded each Sunday in printing a red star in the advertisement of R. H. Macy & Co., by the device of an auxiliary cylinder which " struck in " the color spot on a blank left in the black plate. Later, in 1893, the World was the first paper to employ color in embellishing illustrations and to put in a multi-color press. This machine is simply the rotary press with as many cylinders as may be required, each of which transfers its part of the color scheme to the passing web. Half-tone magazine presses that do excellent work rapidly are in use, and lately machine photogravure, introduced in America by Charles W. Saalburg, has made considerable headway as an addition to the Sunday illustrating.

The " comic supplement " elsewhere de-scribed has led to a wide use of'" comics " in morning and evening newspapers. The Evening World introduced them to New York in 1897, through Thomas E. Powers, and followed him with the unique work of Maurice Ketten, a talented importation from France, with a wide hold on the American reader. "Mutt and Jeff," a horse-play comic, originated in the San Francisco Chronicle and in due time reached New York, at last syndicating " Bud " Fisher's work to a large audience, reaching every town of importance in the land. "Let George do it is a phrase engrafted in the language by George McManus in the Evening World. Through the syndicating process it has been possible to build up large rewards for the man with a good " comic " idea, p select few running their incomes up as high as $40,000 to $50,000 per year. The ordinary newspaper artist of capacity is certain of pay running from $2500 to $7500 per year.

The art department is a very costly adjunct to a large office. The wages of the photo-engravers will run up to $75,000 a year, and of the Artists and photographers to as much more. The newspaper photographer preceded his brother of the movies in hunting subjects of interest, often taking much risk in his pursuit of game. The camera is as important to the production of a modern newspaper as the reporter, and a member of the snapshot squad is required to have as much enterprise and perspicacity as his brother, the news-gatherer. He must know all the turns of his trade, be certain of his subject and the most striking view to be had, able to develop his films in a hurry. It is often but a scant hour from the snapshot to the form.

The camera man has to exercise diplomacy very often, and in the beginning of his exertions met with many rebuffs, coupled with occasional assaults from people who felt that privacy was unduly invaded, but he won his way and the prejudice has gone to join others that formerly hampered news gathering.

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