Home / General / Dead Horses in American History (XV)

Dead Horses in American History (XV)


A reader sent this to me, to which I give thanks.


This is the cover of the February 12, 1898 issue of Harper’s. Thanks to Google Books, the greatest invention since indoor plumbing. You can buy a print of it here. Or you can buy it and give to me as a gift.

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  • James Gary

    I’m surprised you haven’t found many more covers with this sort of imagery….it’s pretty much axiomatic in magazine publishing that nothing improves newsstand sales like a picture of a dead horse.

    • Nothing beats a dead horse.

      • Davis X. Machina

        Except a dead horse of a different color….

    • Now we know why The New Republic has failed!

      • James Gary

        It’s not my fault. I have been offering my services as a consultant to the magazine industry for years now.

  • Looks like very Weisse Reiter, what would be the US equivalent of Blaue Reiter

  • Barry Freed

    It’s just resting.

    • It’s pining for the fjords.

      • efgoldman

        Neighin’ in the bleedin’ paddock invisible!

  • Thlayli


    • Barry Freed

      He’s stunned!

  • Ken

    The caption is interesting: “Another illustration of the great danger from overhead wires in a city”. Sounds like someone at Harper’s was opposed to electrification?

    • Yeah, I suspect the objection was to poorly placed wires that were causing a lot of problems–after all, if horses are running into them, they must have been pretty close to the ground. But I don’t know anything about this issue at the time. I imagine others might.

      • Horses were running into the poles, not the wires.

        • infovore

          I think the picture shows a broken wire that fell on the horse. The mass of overhead wires shown does look unsafe.

          • rea

            Yeah, downed power lines due to blizzard. The guy walking toward the dead horse is in for a shocking surprise . . .

    • Lee Rudolph

      Or believed that underground conduits were the way to go?

      • That was old news by 1898. The 1888 blizzard in NYC was the beginning of wires being put underground to prevent weather-related failures.

        • Lee Rudolph

          Worked pretty well, too, until those salt-water floods…

  • Lee Rudolph

    Okay, so is it just a coincidence that this post’s accompanying T-shirt ad features a shirt with “Naysayers gonna NAY” over a line drawing of a horse?

    At least it’s not the “Bad Ideas” T-shirt ad where the text is, as best I can remember, “DADD Dads Against Daughter Dating / Shoot to kill, it [discourages the others? something like that but snappier]”. The (female) model is making a bang-bang-you’re-dead hand-pistol gesture towards the camera. It’s vile.

    • You’re not supposed to read the shirt. You’re supposed to stare at her breasts.


    • weirdnoise

      Not nearly as vile as the ad I got this time. It’s for a product called EZ Armor and shows a black guy in a hoodie kicking in a door with the text:

      "10 Seconds!    He’s in your home    Will you have time to reach your gun?"

      I’m not clicking on it to see just what the product is! Probably served by the same ad broker that keeps putting up various “Join The NRA” pitches here on LGM.

      • witlesschum

        I sorta almost admire the cynicism of marketing to the fears of gun nuts in terms designed to make them nervous that their guns aren’t enough to protect them from the quote unquote urban hordes. Yes, it’s preying on people’s fears when people being scared and angry is a big problem in this country, but the people who are getting rolled are really unpleasant. It seems along the lines of Omar robbing a crack dealer.

  • RAM

    In 1912, the city removed 10,000 dead horses from the streets of Chicago. Dead horses and the manure live horses produced were reasons why automobiles were considered to be healthful improvements.

  • Joe Bob the III

    I’m the one who sent that in. Glad you found it interesting. It was a completely random find on my part.

  • njorl

    Or you can buy it and give to me as a gift.Or you can buy it and give to me as a gift.

    And you can send me dead horses every morning
    Send me dead horses by the mail
    Send me dead horses to my wedding
    And I won’t forget to put your head upon a pike
    No, I won’t forget to put your head upon a pike.

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