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Szauer S. Ferencz World War I cartoon collection

 Collection — Box: BW 35, Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 16553

Content Description

This collection contains a private collection of approximately one hundred cartoons and caricatures of World War I propaganda that were cut out of magazines and pasted in a blank book. Most of the cartoons are written in German, but some are in Hungarian. Many are printed in color, but there are privately printed carbon copies too.

Included in the front few pages is a folded poster titled "Humorist. Darstellung der Wappen unserer Feinde 1914" [Humorist. Depiction of the coats of arms of our enemies, 1914] and shows a humorous interpretation of Allied nations coats-of-arm or heraldic shields. These cartoons are mounted on album card leaves. Sixty-two pages with Szauer's collection stamp on title page.

Cartoons are possibly from publications such as Előre, Die Jugend, Simplicissimus, and The Narrenschiff. The cartoonists or caricaturs include Rudolf Kristen (1889-1946), and H. Zahl among others.

The subjects include World War I, Kaiser Wilhelm, John Bull, Woodrow Wilson, Nicholas Nikolaevich (head of the Russian army), and Nicholas I of Montegnegro.


  • Creation: c. 1914-1918


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is minimally processed and open for research.

Biographical / Historical

The term “caricature”, is derived from the Old Italian word “caricare” which means “to exaggerate” and “to attack vehemently”. Thus the normal task of a caricaturist is to attack and to ridicule society and government, usually in an exaggerated or distorted way.

The popularity of caricatures and cartoons surged during World War I, in magazines, posters and postcards. At the beginning of World War I political cartoons became propaganda to show support for the country, to make fun of the enemies of their country, as well as to criticize their society.

In Germany the eight cartoon magazines had a total circulation of 986,000 copies, just a little less than the Berliner llustrirte Zeitung (1,000,000) and can thus rightly be considered a mass medium. The contemporary German publicist Maximilian Harden (1861-1927) claimed that “no other sort of publication can have such an effect on public opinion as the illustrated satirical magazine”.

The most influential magazine in Germany was the Simplicissimus, which especially attacked the Junkers, the Catholic Church and the military.The editor-in-chief of Simplicissimus, Ludwig Thoma proposed that the paper should cease publication, because, while Germany was fighting for its existence, all satirical opposition to the government should stop. But Thomas Theodor Heine (1867-1948) refused and said that satirists now had a new task: to behave as good patriots and to support Germany’s war policy at home and abroad. His point of view was accepted, and the other cartoon magazines took the same decision. On 8 August 1914 Paul Warncke (1866-1933), the editor-in-chief of the Kladderadatsch, explained to readers that his magazine would renounce all political satire and would instead fight against the disturbers of peace: and he put his trust in the victory of the German arms.[10]

The cut out cartoons were from periodicals such as Előre,and possibly Simplicissimus, Die Jugend, and the Narrenschift. Előre (Forward) was a Hungarian-language socialist magazine published in the United States by activists of the Hungarian Socialist Federation of the Socialist Party of America. Launched in September 1905, Előre was published for 16 years before going bankrupt in October 1921.

Cartoonists included are Rudolf Kristen (1889-1946), and H. Zahl. Many of the cartoons do not show the signature and it is hard to detemine the creator.

Sources Demm, Eberhard. Caricatures. 1914-1918 Online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War. 19 December 2016.

Houston-Waesch, Monica. Cartoons. 100 Years, 100 Legacies.World War I Centenary.

"Előre" Wikipedia. Accessed 10/3/23


.03 Cubic Feet (1 letter sized folder)

Language of Materials



Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was purchased from Földvári Books by the Small Special Collections Library, University of Virginia on July 15, 2021.

Condition Description



Guide to the Szauer S. Ferencz WW1 cartoon collection
Rose Oliveira, Accessioning Archivist, Ellen Welch Processing Archivist
4 September 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States