Lilian Lancaster (1852–1939) was a well-known English actress, singer and stage performer with a notable talent for drawing cartoons and caricatures, often of a cartographic nature. In 1880, such was her success that she embarked on a tour of the United States, and found herself there during the final stages of the Presidential election. That proved an inspiration for two cartoon maps depicting the election.
The two caricatures, part of a group of cartographic cartoon drawings by Lancaster, were acquired relatively recently by the British Library. It is assumed that the caricatures were drawn for publication, as there is a copyright declaration on both images, but no printed versions are known.
On the present map, there is evidence of an erased title at bottom left, but it is only partially legible; the words ‘between Hancock and Garfield’ are all that can be made out. Imposed on the familiar outline of the United States, this cartoon depicts the course of the Presidential election of 1880, incorporating comic portraits of James A. Garfield (the Republican challenger) and his opponent Winfield Scott Hancock (the Democratic candidate). The two candidates are depicted as squabbling children, both clad in dresses. Hancock is pulling firmly on Garfield’s foot, while Garfield appears to be either rubbing tears from his eyes or adopting a defensive boxing stance. Uncle Sam has turned his back on the mayhem; his body forms the eastern seaboard of the United States, with the ruff of his shirt representing the Virginia and Carolina coast, his right leg forming the Florida peninsula, and his left leg extended to form the Texas coast. Behind the fighting figures, the United States flag forms the northern, Midwest and Great Lakes States.