Editorial Cartoons About Louis D. Brandeis

04May12

I have been going through the scrapbooks of the archives here and scanning as many images as possible of Brandeis that I find. The plan is to use them in a PowerPoint presentation that I hope to put online. But some of them are so good that I cannot resist putting them up now.

The following four images are editorial cartoons from Boston newspapers published during Brandeis’ fight with the New Haven Railroad. In the early 20th century, the New Haven Railroad tried to secure a monopoly of New England transportation by buying up all railway, trolley and steamship lines. Opposing them every step of the way was Brandeis, who took the fight to the newspapers, state legislature, and the courts. The full story of the conflict can be found in Henry Lee Staples and Alpheus Mason’s The Fall of a Railroad Empire and in Melvin Urofsky’s Louis D. Brandeis: A Life.

One of Brandeis’ tactics was to closely read the financial statements of the New Haven to expose the company’s lies about its financial stability. The railroad’s president, Charles Mellen, responded by attacking Brandeis’ character. Hence the first cartoon:

Editorial cartoon of Louis D. Brandeis being stabbed in the back by Charles Mellen.

Published in the Boston American, May 24, 1908.

The second cartoon shows Brandeis at work during a hearing before the Interstate Commerce Commission. One of the jokes in the cartoon revolves around when Brandeis was challenged over who he was representing. His claim that he was representing the citizens of Massachusetts gave him the nickname “Citizen Brandeis” by the Boston post.

Editorial cartoon of Louis D. Brandeis before the ICC>

Published in the Boston Post, April 26, 1913.

The next two cartoons speak for themselves. I particularly like the second one which was drawn by an artists who was clearly chafing at the limits of editorial cartooning.

Editorial cartoon of Louis D. Brandeis as a little boy.

Published in the Boston Journal, April 26, 1913.

Charles Mellen painting a cubist portrait of Louis D. Brandeis.

Published in the Boston Post, April 26, 1913.

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