In this reoccurring series, members of the Special Collections staff will introduce some of our favorite objects found in the stacks of Special Collections at Princeton.
April C. Armstrong *14, Library Collections Specialist | “Untitled, 1910 December 29”
April, what do you do at Princeton?
I manage blogs in Special Collections and social media for Mudd Library, where I am also on the public services team and coordinate exhibitions.
And what is one of your favorite things?
“Untitled, December 29, 1910” from the William H. Walker Cartoon Collection (MC068, Box 17)
How did you first come to see this item?
I ran across this digitized cartoon when I was working on a blog post about how women’s pants were satirized by William H. Walker in the 1890s.
What are three words you would use to describe it?
Delightful, Fun, Compelling
And why is it one of your favorite things?
This cartoon reveals just how significantly times have changed. When I show it to people, most think Walker was supporting women’s entry into various professions, until I point out the caged man in the upper left corner. What we now would see as a positive thing–women in positions of power throughout society–was both laughable and threatening to Walker. Once you know that, you can take a closer look at all the other signals Walker was sending about what he thought women should be like, by how he portrayed the antithesis of the ideal woman.