Photo, Print, Drawing Self-inflating pillow
About this Item
- Self-inflating pillow
- American general Gideon J. Pillow's self-promoting attempts to discredit Mexican War commander Gen. Winfield Scott are ridiculed in this portrayal of Scott puncturing "Polk's Patent" pillow. Pillow's efforts were widely viewed as part of a campaign by the Polk administration to damage Scott's growing prestige at home. An anonymous letter--actually written by Pillow--published in the "New Orleans Delta" on September 10, 1847, and signed "Leonidas," wrongfully credited Pillow for recent American victories at Churubusco and Contreras. The battles were actually won by Scott. When Pillow's intrigue was exposed, he was arrested by Scott and held for a court-martial. Polk, defensive of Pillow, recalled Scott to Washington. During the trial that ensued, "Delta" correspondent James L. Freaner testified in Scott's favor. At Pillow's behest Maj. Archibald W. Burns, a paymaster, claimed authorship of the "Leonidas" letter. Currier's cartoon was probably published during or shortly after Pillow's trial, which began in March 1848. With the sword of "Truth," Scott (right) punctures a pillow held by Burns (left) and which is being inflated by Pillow (kneeling, center). Scott holds Freaner's testimony in his hand and treads on the Leonidas letter. He exclaims at the air released, "Heavens what a smell!" At left, behind Burns is a strong box on which rests a sack of coins, marked "From Genl. Pillow for fathering the Leonidas Letter."
- Currier, Nathaniel, 1813-1888.
Created / Published
- - Burns, Archibald W
- - Freaner, James
- - Pillow, Gideon Johnson,--1806-1878
- - Scott, Winfield,--1786-1866
- - Presidential elections--United States--1840-1850
- Political cartoons--1840-1850.
- - Entered . . . 1848 by Peter Smith [i.e., Nathaniel Currier] . . . N.Y.
- - The Library's impression was deposited for copyright on June 23, 1848, two days after the end of testimony in the trial. On July 1, the court decided to clear Pillow of most of the charges brought against him.
- - Title appears as it is written on the item.
- - Weitenkampf, p. 91.
- - Forms part of: American cartoon print filing series (Library of Congress)
- - Published in: American political prints, 1766-1876 / Bernard F. Reilly. Boston : G.K. Hall, 1991, entry 1848-2.
- 1 print : lithograph on wove paper ; 28.8 x 44.8 cm. (image)
Call Number/Physical Location
- PC/US - 1848.S656, no. 2 (B size) [P&P]
- American cartoon print filing series (Library of Congress)
- Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
- cph 3a13799 //hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3a13799
Library of Congress Control Number
- LC-USZ62-11404 (b&w film copy neg.)
- No known restrictions on publication.
Additional Metadata Formats
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- Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-11404 (b&w film copy neg.)
- Call Number: PC/US - 1848.S656, no. 2 (B size) [P&P]
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Cite This Item
Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.
Chicago citation style:
Currier, Nathaniel. Self-Inflating Pillow. United States, 1848. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2008661477/.
APA citation style:
Currier, N. (1848) Self-Inflating Pillow. United States, 1848. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2008661477/.
MLA citation style:
Currier, Nathaniel. Self-Inflating Pillow. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/2008661477/>.