Harper’s Weekly – September 2, 1871
The majority of Harper’s normal circulation of about 135,000 went to middle and upper-middle income readers. To overthrow Tammany, Nast knew he had to attract and convince lower-class voters whose time, finances and literacy were limited. He appealed to them with three lifestyle-contrasting cartoons, which were ultimately made into campaign broadsheets and distributed in the relevant neighborhoods the week before election.
The Rich Growing Richer, the Poor Growing Poorer was in circulation the last week of August. It accompanied a double-page illustration of Tweed’s mansion in Greenwich, Connecticut, and his bagmen’s “summer palaces” in two-towns-away South Norwalk, along with the amounts their owners received during the previous two years.
Separately, Nast depicted the Ring at Tweed’s luxurious Americus Club on Long Island Sound in Greenwich, toasting their constituents: “May they live long, so that we may prosper.” Connolly reclined on a bed of roses.
Below, a stern landlord handed a bill for “exorbitant” rent to an imploring housewife (modeled by Sallie Nast), whose daughter lay on a contrasting bed of thorns. Her despairing husband sat at a table with a pile of unpaid bills and a baby’s coffin, while an empty market basket lay underneath.