Samuel Erhart Drawing, Santa Claus, 1913

Updated Dec 13, 2017
Kathy Pinna
Kathy Pinna shared a photo
on Dec 17, 2011 2:28 PM
A drawing by Samuel Erhart of Santa Claus on Wall Street, for Puck Magazine,1913.

The caption says "Chorus of Bankers and Brokers: Just say Christmas to us this year, that's all! We dare you!" The drawing shows a mob of bankers, brokers, and financiers yelling at Santa Claus. Santa is hanging off of a statue of George Washington which is standing outside of Federal Hall in Manhattan, New York.

Here we are, 100 years later, and this satirical drawing could have been done today.

Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Samuel D. Erhart, artist.

A little history: In the Spring of 1913, the 16th Amendment had been passed, establishing a permanent Federal Income Tax. In the Fall, the push for a Federal Reserve began in earnest. Wall Street and banks said that a Federal Reserve would be bad, but several Congress members pointed out that this was a position that was publicly taken to get the Reserve established: "You allowed the special interests by pretended dissatisfaction with the measure to bring about a sham battle, and the sham battle was for the purpose of diverting you people from the real remedy, and they diverted you. The Wall Street bluff has worked."

Here is how Puck - a political magazine of the time - showed the battle. Wall Street won and the Reserve became law after the President signed a bill from Congress on December 23rd, 1913. Wall Street and bankers got their Christmas gift from Santa.
Date & Place: at Puck Magazine in Manhattan, New York County, New York USA


AncientFaces commented on Dec 13, 2017
Talk about the circle of life: In December 1913, Congress passed the Federal Reserve Act. President Wilson signed it on December 23rd. Earlier in the same year, the 16th Amendment - legalizing federal income tax - was passed. This Puck cover from December 1913 shows Wall Street and bankers pleading for Santa to bring them the Federal Reserve for Christmas.
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