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Jimmy Murphy

John Barleycorn and whisky

Jimmy Murphy (1891-1965)
John Barleycorn and Whisky
Published in 1918 in the New York Journal

In the English folk song "John Barleycorn," the character of John Barleycorn personifies the barley industry and the accompanying production of both cereal and alcohol.

By 1918, the year this cartoon was published in the New York Journal, the efforts of Wayne Wheeler and the Anti-saloon League were pressing for passage of the Volstead Act and the 18th Amendment of the Constitution that would institute Prohibition in the United States. That amendment was passed in October 1919 and instituted in 1920.

Murphy suggests that the “wets,” those who support the right of adults to drink, had been fighting a losing battle and that, by the time of this cartoon’s publication, they were exhausted and at the end of the trail.