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Immigration and Caricature

• Section I
• Section II
• Section III

About the Collectors

Copyright and Other Restrictions

Digitizing the Collection

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Exhibition Section II: Caricature and Stereotype

Caricature: exaggeration by means of often ludicrous distortion of parts or characteristics [of a subject] (Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary).

Visual caricatures of immigrants and ethnics became a symbolic language of standardized images used by mass media and advertising to communicate a message in shorthand fashion to the public. Cartoonists of the period created exaggerated images of specific ethnic groups based on shared, popular stereotypes.

For example, Germans were depicted as beer-swilling and fat, Indians as tomahawk-swinging and drunk, Jews as gesticulating and with large noses, Chinese as pig-tailed and wily, African Americans as thieving and lazy, Irish as gorilla-faced, drunk, and brawling.

Ethnic stereotypes are fixed, oversimplified ideas about an entire group. A stereotype may contain a "kernel of truth," but this kernel becomes exaggerated and rigidly applied to the entire group.

The Father of Our Country as Seen by His Children

Uncle Sam's Lodging-House

Free (Trade) Lunch

World-Beater Postcards
(7 images)

The Anti-Chinese Wall

The Mortar of Assimilation

Peace, and the Good Will of All Men

. Section I . Section II . Section III .

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