Serious Cartooning: "Crazy"

Dec 29, 2014

In 1902, ping-pong was all the rage. This cartoon depicts how excited people were getting about the new-fangled game. In five different scenes, groups of people turn away from normal daily pursuits to play table tennis. Women start “pursuing a course in progressive ping-pong” instead of the traditional ladies’ club book discussion. Businessmen even forget the financial stress from Wall Street in the 1890s. Not even the movement of the stocks matter, as long as a good game of ping-pong is happening. Edwin Sabin’s verse gives additional humor to the cartoon:

                Dear baby’s the idol
                Amazing the throng;
                The champion player
                Is he at Ping-pong.
                In the juvenile tourney
                He’s won every set,
                And beat all the babies
                To date he has met!

A May 25, 1902, article from the St. Paul Globe displays the headline “Daft on Ping-Pong! Washington entranced with game, which is played in many homes. Doom of tight corset.” In order to lunge for the ball, women may be choosing not to wear their corsets. The article also describes how Senator Hanna paused for a moment at the thought of creating a ping-pong parlor in the national capital and then responded to the idea with a smile.


"Crazy," May 28, 1902. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs.

Posted by Pamela Pierce on Dec 29, 2014 in History  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)  |  Share this post

Steve Grant said,

See the book Ping Pong Fever---The Madness That Swept 1902 America, for the complete story of that huge fad!!

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