Eugene Zimmerman (1862 - 1935), forever known by the block scrawl signature ZIM, was the developer of the Grotesque school of caricature and one of the nation's most respected and original cartoonists of the late nineteenth century. His caricatures depicted the foibles of mankind, exaggerated them, twisted and distorted the portrayal of their subjects - and tore into the soul of America. The biting humor of his cartoons sharpened the sting of their social and political messages.
Many of ZIM's cartoons poke fun at ethnic minorities or use them to reflect to folly of human nature in what today is viewed as racist humor. An immigrant, ZIM spent his early years in poverty and was subject to the hardships and pressures of being foreign-born in an ethnically conscious turn-of-the-century America. In a thought-provoking preface, Walter M. Brasch speculates on the nature of racism, the selective memory of the nation, and explores the dichotomy of ZIM's overwhelming popularity during his lifetime with the present-day obscurity of his work.
ZIM wrote three separate autobiographical manuscripts, as well as numerous letters, articles, notes, and sketches, all of which are contradictory. Dr. Brasch has compiled this plethora of information, verified facts, added notes and commentary when necessary, and pursued painful aspects of ZIM's life that were deliberately absent from the diaries-->
During his career, ZIM worked for both Puck, in the leading American humor magazine, and Judge, which eventually surpassed Puck in circulation and influence. A prolific and energetic artist, ZIM also did formal portraiture, wrote newspaper and magazine articles, drew a newspaper comic strip, illustrated books, created a cartoonist correspondence course, and was the founder and first president of the American Association of Cartoonists and Caricaturists. In addition to the demands of his career, ZIM was unfailingly generous with his time and talent, and donated hundreds of drawings and posters to community organizations.
"Reading the [book] is an unexpected delight, one that is a tribute to Brasch's skills as an editor."(Harrisburg Patriot- News)
. . . "[A] highly-readable, annotated, and
illustrated volume . . . Read this one . . . as [one of the most]
important references on comic artists of nineteenth century United
States."[WittyWorld; the International Cartoon Magazine]