The Daily Heller: Humor Magazines Offered Laffs

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Enfant Terrible! (April 1, 1898) was a one-off surrealistic humor publication, a collaboration between poet, author, children’s book illustrator and cartoonist Oliver Herford, and Gelett Burgess, author of the famous nonsense poem “The Purple Cow.” The intent was to produce a regular diet of satirical musings, which in this first and only issue included “The Prodigal Egg” and “Easy Lessons in Logic” (featuring such verses as “Money is the Root of All Evil: Economy is Wealth: Therefore, Economy is the Root of All Evil”).

Herford and Gelett were stars of Gilded Age media, the late night TV comedians of their day.

Herford’s work appeared in national publications such as the original Life (precursor to The New Yorker) and Harper’s Weekly, and he went on to write and illustrate a number of books that appealed to both adults and children. He was also known for his keen wit, and a number of his humorous quotes, such as “only the young die good,” have stood the test of time.

In 1895 Burgess was the founding editor of the humor magazine Lark, and in 1897 he began to publish books of his self-illustrated whimsical writings—filled with delightfully painful puns, like the “all hands on deck” chestnut below.

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