An Acquisition Adventure: "Loco Foco Witches Laying a Spell Over the Country"
Library of Congress' Picture This blog April 29, 2021 by Sara W. Duke,
"Exceptionally rare and believed to be previously unknown," in the seller's letter intrigued me. On offer, an 1836 anti-Martin Van Buren woodcut print, depicting Van Buren as a witch and riding the coattails of President Andrew Jackson. As a curator who acquires cartoon art for the Library, when offered a work of art that no other institution in America has recorded, I am concerned about authenticity, and set to research the contents and background of the print. The cartoon, entitled "Loco Foco witches laying a spell over the country" depicts five witches in black dresses flying on a single broom over a farm; their faces are masculine. The first witch, President Andrew Jackson, smokes a pipe from which the smoke spells the word "Veto." The last witch on the broom is incumbent vice president Martin Van Buren, called The Red Fox of Kinderhook, and he sports a bushy foxtail.
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