The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 187
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Colonel Bill Snort
J. Armoy Knox he started Texas Siftings. This was an eight-page
humorous newspaper that relied upon clippings from exchange
newspapers for much of its material. The newspaper achieved a
great popularity; so great that the owners decided to expand and
in 1884 moved it from Austin, where it was first published, to
New York. In 1886 the publication's format was changed to that
of an illustrated humor magazine of the Puck, Judge, and Life
class. The pages were folded in half to quarto, and a great many
black and white drawings were used. A. Miner Griswold, known
as "the Fat Contributor," because of his voluminous contributions,
joined Sweet as editor, and Knox was made business manager.
From 1886 to 1891 Texas Siftings was the most popular of all
the American illustrated comics. Its circulation built up to 150,-
ooo, half again as large as Puck, and for a few years an English
edition was printed at London. Besides Sweet and Griswold, such
humorists as Henry Clay, Lukens, Opie Read, and Bill Nye ap-
peared. The magazine printed the poetry of Joaquin Miller and
James Whitcomb Riley, and Citizen George Francis Train wrote
a column in verse about current events. Thomas Worth, well
known for his caricatures of Negro life, was the magazine's chief
cartoonist; he was assisted mainly by D. M. McCarthy and, in
time, Alex E. Sweet, Jr. Another son, Lewis, conducted a column
on the theater. Much of Texas Siftings' humor was typical of the
time: blunt, rough satire on racial and religious minorities. The
editors also seem to have been overly fond of puns. But at its best,
Siftings was a witty, perceptive, and cosmopolitan publication.
The Snort Letters, which were a feature of the magazine's
greatest years, apparently were not begun as a deliberate political
satire but were an outgrowth of humorous characters and tech-
niques previously used by Sweet. Colonel Snort was only one of
the comic figures familiar to any regular reader of Texas Siftings.
Sweet had also invented the "Rev. Whangdoodle Baxter," pastor
of the Austin Blue Light Tabernacle, to represent the Negro
preacher; and "Mose Schaumburg," a stereotype of the Jewish
merchant. The sketches that Snort first appeared in were satires
on rural journalism. He was portrayed as the editor of the Crosby
County Clarion and Farmer's Vindicator, with a "sworn circu-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961, periodical, 1961; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/m1/217/: accessed January 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.