The offices of The Little Corporal
were completely destroyed in
Chicago Fire of 1871; nevertheless, in November, the magazine editors
managed to send out an abbreviated issue to subscribers, assuring them that
the Corporal was still in business. Thomas Nast's tribute to such
determination appeared in December 1871; it features subscribers cheering the
stalwart Corporal in the smoking ashes and rubble of Chicago. Nast worked
primarily for Harper's; his jovial, rotund, toy-bearing Santa Claus
had a major influence on the Americanization of that figure. (He did
illustrate for at least one other children's magazine, the short-lived
Monthly.) The imaginary "army
of friends" mentioned in the piece included "Prudy," the figure at the head
of the letters column, and "Private Queer," whose "knapsack" contained the
puzzles and enigmas the Corporal's readers loved.
OUR FRONTISPIECE (from The Little Corporal
, December 1871, p. 192)
THE LITTLE CORPORAL OFFICE IN RUINS.
"The Little Corporal will like 'Phnix rise
from its ashes to immortality,'
and continue to fight for the good, the true, and the beautiful."
[Frontispiece for December 1871 issue]
A few days after the great fire we
received a letter from Thomas Nast, the great artist, whose inimitable
sketches in Harper's Weekly are familiar to all, stating that he had
sent us a drawing, the subject of which would be timely and apropos for the
first number after the fire. He desired us to accept this as his donation
to aid in restoring the Corporal. The
Corporal, Prudy, Private Queer, and all others
of the Corporal's army of friends, hereby express
their thanks to Thomas Nast for his generous and timely gift.