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The History of "Punch"   By: (1858-1948)

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With Numerous Illustrations

Cassell and Company, Limited London, Paris, & Melbourne 1895

All Rights Reserved

[Illustration: "THE MAHOGANY TREE."

( By Linley Sambourne. From "Punch's" Jubilee Number, by special permission of Sir William Agnew, Bart., Owner of the original drawing. ) ( See page 536. )]



[Illustration: ( Drawn by George du Maurier. )]


The prevailing idea of the origin and history of Punch has hitherto rested mainly on three productions: the "Memories" of George Hodder, "Mr. Punch's Origin and Career," and Mr. Joseph Hatton's delightful but fragmentary papers, entitled "The True Story of Punch ." So far as the last named is based upon the others, it is untrustworthy in its details; but the statements founded on the writer's own knowledge and on the documentary matter in his hands, as well as upon his intimacy with Mark Lemon, possess a distinct and individual value, and I have not failed to avail myself in the following pages of Mr. Hatton's courteous permission to make such use of them as might be desirable.

During the four years in which I have been engaged upon this book, my correspondents have been numbered by hundreds. Hardly a man living whom I suspected of having worked for Punch , but I have communicated with him; scarce one but has afforded all the information within his knowledge in response to my application. Editor and members of the Punch Staff, past and present "outsiders," equally with those belonging to "the Table" the relations and friends of such as are dead, all have given their help, and have shown an interest in the work which I hope the result may be thought to justify. All this mass of material all the evidence, published and unpublished, that was adduced in order to establish certain points and refute others had to be carefully sifted and collated, contrary testimony weighed, and the truth determined. Especially was this the case in dealing with the valuable reminiscences imparted by Punch's earliest collaborators, still or till lately living. Of undoubted contributors and their work, it may be stated, more than two hundred and fifty are here dealt with. A further number cheerfully submitted to cross examination on one or other of the many subjects touched upon; and probably as many more were approached with only negative results.

My special thanks are due to Mrs. Chaplin, the daughter of the late Mr. Ebenezer Landells, who unreservedly placed in my hands all the Punch documents, legal and otherwise, accounts, and letters, concerning the origin and early editorships of Punch , which have been preserved in the family; and to Messrs. Bradbury and Agnew, who have supplemented these with similar assistance, as well as with books of the Firm establishing points of literary interest not hitherto suspected, together with the letters of Thackeray which illustrate his early connection with and final secession from the Staff. Apart from their general interest, these documents, taken together, establish the facts of such very vexed questions as the origin and the early editorships of Punch . This is the more satisfactory, perhaps, by reason of the numerous unfounded claims or founded chiefly on family tradition or filial pride and affection which are still being made on behalf of supposed originators of the Paper. Even these partisan historians, it is believed, will hardly be able to resist the proofs here set forth; although attested fact does not, with them, necessarily carry conviction. For such services, and for their ready and sympathetic acquiescence in the requests I have made for permission to quote text or reproduce engraving, my hearty thanks to Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew and Co. are due. To them and to all my numerous correspondents I here repeat the assurance of gratitude for their courtesy which I have privately expressed before.

I have reproduced no more pictures from Punch than were rendered necessary by the topics under discussion... Continue reading book >>

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