The weekly journal’s deft caricatures and pointed commentary made it a political force to be reckoned with. It is credited with single-handedly thwarting the third-term ambitions of Ulysses S. Grant in 1880 and electing Grover Cleveland to the presidency in 1884—or at least, by its devastating “Tattooed Man” series, denying it to James G. Blaine.
And Puck did it with art—lavish color full-page and two-page centerspread cartoons. With nearly 300 color plates in an oversized 12″ x 11″ format, What Fools These Mortals Be is the first opportunity for many readers to see so many cartoons from Puck reproduced in color and at a large size.
During its illustrious career Puck published more than two thousand numbered issues. When, after four decades, it ceased publication, The Literary Digest printed an appropriate epitaph: “Puck had no real rival in its best days. Fallen from its fine estate, it has left no successor.”