Immigration and Caricature:
Ethnic Images from the Appel Collection
Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 through Dec. 10, 2017
This exhibition explores the role of caricature and stereotype in forming American values and attitudes about the multicultural development of the United States. It utilizes a collection of immigrant and ethnic caricatures from popular graphics dating primarily from the Civil War to World War I, a period of massive migration to the United States. To modern Americans, the contents are sometimes humorous, sometimes very disturbing. Nevertheless, the collection offers great insight into American cultural attitudes and is a remarkable resource for the study of American cultural history. The items used in this exhibition consist of a variety of print media such as cartoons, postcards, trade cards, and prints and lithographs, all of which come from over 4,000 pieces donated to the MSU Museum by Dr. John and Selma Appel. Materials from their collection have been loaned to numerous exhibitions on ethnic images and immigration throughout the United States and the Appels have written many publications on the subject.
“Interesting display depicting both realities and conceived realities of the attitudes faced by immigrants—provoking.”
“Very telling of the social un-consciousness of the time. Very revealing, unsettling and truthful.” —Visitor comments, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo, MI