Wednesday, September 11, 2019

American People Jokers

These jokers are people, American people. I'm writing this on 9/11/19. It has both symbolic people like Uncle Sam and generic cowboys and suburbanites, and specific historical figures like George Washington and Calamity Jane. It is closely related to American travel jokers  (which have American sites but not people), American politicians (these are modern politicians and kept in a different part of the collection), and entertainers like Elvis or Sports Figures

This section is now obsolete since it's been broken down into lots of subsections such as American Historical Figures, Modern American Politicans, Cowboys, and Native Americans.

An American Joker
An American Joker

A number of these are old and historically significant but most notably: The Little Joker coming out of the box. It could be part of an 1878 deck by Dougherty. AD11 in the Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards.
A recent addition to this section came from my purchase in Aug 2023 of a box of old Congress decks. This purchase and the subsequent trading got me a Good Night Congress deck with the joker published in 1899. I have a photocopy in the album, the original joker is kept with the deck.  I added it here so it could be with the old antique historically significant American children jokers.
Good Night - A Congress Deck from 1899

This next pages of Americana jokers are about cowboys and present tough category problems. No, I'm not worried about the incarcerated guy nor am I worried about the violence and guns. It's the horses.  Should they be here in the Americana section or in the Animals / Horses section?  Also, there's the shrimp in the cowboy boots and Stetson hat: is he Americana or Animals / Misc / Sea Creatures?

Cowboy Jokers
The joker in the top left above is definitely historic. Per Tom van Berkum FB 11/2020: " the one with the 'R' is ... Brand: Russell's Regulars by Willis W. Russell, Milltown (NJ) USA ca. 1906. Later versions such as the middle one in the top row above, were made by Russell Playing Card Co. New York"

The joker in the top left below is the Dundreary joker with the image of an actor named Edward
Askew Sothern
(the link is to David Seaney's write up of the the Forgotten People of Playing Cards website).  Dundreary first appeared on a joker published by Russell & Morgan on a Congress deck in 1881.  My version is from much later after USPC (note the US in the corner) has bought the company, perhaps it's from the USPCC (former Russell & Morgan) deck "Extra Congress no. 606" made in 1895 It has a wide blue lacquer back. Dundreary is a character played by Sothern who was a somewhat insipid British nobleman. Dundreary came to mean either a style of facial hair or a twisted combined saying like: “Brother Sam and I used to be boys when we were lads, both of us”.

These jokers are Americans, all sorts of Americans.  I just moved a about a dozen jokers including these two from the international non-European type into the American section. There is no perfect solution and while this does recognize them as American, it also means that some Indigenous and Mexicans become a section related to the American section, another twist on imperialism.  These two by Gemaco are from a deck called: "Pueblo Indian Kachina Dolls".

These are also not the American travel jokers  (which don't have people).

They are not politicians (that's a different part of the collection).
They are not entertainers like Elvis. Or Sports Figures