Study From Nature

January 21, 1860, page 48

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View under a passing Omnibus.  When the omnibus passes, the owners of the above feet come into view, as below, and the proverb about deceptive appearances is thus verified


The depiction of black women in Harper's Weekly is limited; they are often relegated to the background as house servants. When black women are featured, it is through the perspective of the newspaper's white writers and illustrators. Especially in the early years of Harper's Weekly, that point of view is often racist by today's standard.

This cartoon, like the poem "The Policeman's Mistake," presents a black woman being mistaken for a white woman and the shock that revelation provokes when her true identity is disclosed. Furthermore, this cartoon, like the cartoon "Holy Horror of Mrs. McCaffraty," deals with the themes of feminine beauty and gentility. Note, however, the contrast in how the black woman is portrayed in this 1860 cartoon and the later 1866 cartoon.


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