Mischievous Puck and the Mormons, 1904–1907

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One of the most valuable examples of the new strain of pictorial representations of Mormons is found in Puck, published in New York since 1877. It had started as a German publication but within a year was appearing in English. Henry Cuyler Bunner produced most of the written commentary, and Joseph Keppler, the founder, did may of the lithographs for the weekly until his death in 1894. “What Fools these Mortals be!” was the motto, and sharp satire the magazine’s trademark. Puck‘s earlier representations of Mormonism were not always gentle, although it must be said that other religions were also targets.

Puck‘s twentieth century influence was thus a curious mixture of gradual accommodation and the perpetuation of some “time-honored” stereotypes of Mormons. Puck amused and entertained thousands in its time. Although some of the humor was first-rate and brought pleasure even to some Mormons, it also brought disgust and pain. Mischievous Puck was just that—mischievous.

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