Harper’s Weekly – November 16, 1872

Nast portrayed Horace Greeley’s Vice-Presidential candidate, Gratz Brown, as a tag or animal tail about ten times as often as he depicted him as a man.

At a Yale commencement dinner earlier that summer, Brown reportedly got so drunk that he buttered his watermelon. In a post-election cartoon with 25 recognizable characters in it, Nast prominently displayed Brown as Bacchus, the God of Wine, astride a watermelon with a large lump of butter at his side and a wreath of crabs around his head.

Being debased 41 times as a small tag on a mockable candidate’s coat was one of the more scornful campaign treatments any politician ever endured; even as a drunk, Gratz at least was a real person.

Three years later, Nast finally cut the Gratz Brown tag from the late publisher’s coat. Current Tribune publisher Whitelaw Reid wielded the proverbial scissors by accusing Brown of “profound and phenomenal ignorance” for his pro-inflation stance.