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Turn of the Century humor

Updated on September 5, 2016

1900 HUMOR

Humor has changed somewhat through the years but funny is still funny. I have been collecting some old jokes from about 1900 and I thought I would share a few. I have only included ones that are actually funny and I understood, politics and popular culture has changed quite a bit so some old jokes just went right over my head.

These jokes and cartoons are all from contemporary newspapers. When a column didn't reach all to the bottom, it was common to put in humorous fillers to fill the space and there were also humor columns in many papers.

Jealous Husband

Friend (after tea)—Your little wife is a brilliantly handsome woman. I should think you’d be jealous of her.

Host (confidentially)—To tell the truth, Simpkins, I am. I never invite anybody here than any sane woman would take a fancy to.

from New York Weekly

Perfect Husband

Mrs. Hix—Is your daughter happily married?

Mrs. Dix—Indeed, she is. Her husband shakes in his boots every times he speaks.

from Chicago News

Texas Wildlife

Jaggs—Texas is a great place for snakes. I once saw a green and yellow snake down there 70 feet long, and as big round as a whiskey barrel.

Waggs—Well, I don’t doubt it—but I’ll bet you saw the whiskey barrel before you saw the snake.

from Baltimore American

Lieutenant—I am going to the front, after all.

She—Oh, I am so glad. It’s so much more interesting reading the lists of killed and wounded when you know someone at the front.


from Milwaukee Journal

Conceited author

Timmons--I don't want to be vain, but my writings often remind me of Tennyson.

Simmons--Me too, Tennyson is also dead.

Indianapolis Press

Of Course Not

Benjamin--Would you want to live in New York?

William--Well, I certainly wouldn't want to be found dead there.

Philadelphia Bulletin 1901

Out Both Ways

In an interval in the drilling one of the volunteers belonging to a crack regiment stepped out from the ranks to light a cigar from that of his officer. The latter took this evidence of the democratic spirit of freedom in good part, but said, by way of a hint, "In the regular army you couldn't have done this to an officer, Brown."

"Right you are, " responded the private, "but in the regular army you could not be an officer. "

Collier's Weekly 1900


Self Made Man

Millionaire, uncultivated but proud of his wealth---I tell you I'm a self-made man.


Stranger--I'm glad to hear it, so there's nobody else you can blame?


Milwaukee Journal

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