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Punch 1914-18 - Cartoons, Humour and Satire

By Hilary Halter – Private collector of Punch Magazines

The influential publication Punch, or The London Charivari*, a weekly magazine of humour and satire, first appeared in 1841.  The brainchild of Henry Mayhew and engraver Ebenezer Landells, it helped to coin the term ‘cartoon’ in its modern sense as a humorous illustration. A valuable primary source, for over 100 years it reflected public opinion, commenting on world events, politics, the social scene and developments in the arts. After peaking in the 1940s its circulation gradually declined until it closed in 1992. 

Here is a selection of cartoons and comments – mainly selected for the inclusion of a Jewish theme or reference, though not entirely. Many are probably a fair reflection of the way the public viewed the Jewish community at the time, sometimes amusing, not always complimentary. There is certainly no example that recognises the huge contribution the British Jewish community made to the war effort.

*Charivari – a noisy mock serenade performed by a group of people to celebrate a marriage or mock an unpopular person

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