His Life and Times (1891-1964)
Page 5
"Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison - 1788


In 1928 Percy Crosby met Agnes Dale Locke, secretary to G. P. Putnam, publisher of the Skippy novel and husband of Amelia Earhart. They were married in April, 1929 and were given a free honeymoon cruise on the luxury liner, Ile de France,to France, where they rented a villa in Normandy, which Crosby described in his book, A Cartoonist's Philosopy (1931). Some of Crosby's finest art work was done during this period, a collection of "French scenes and sketches" he did of the Cliff Dwellers in Normandy, whose homes were destroyed during the Normandy Beach invasion of World War II. The Crosbys returned to America just before the stock market crash in October, 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression, and moved to McLean, Virginia. They had four children, Percy, Jr.("Skippy"), Barbara, Joan and Carol. Crosby also took on the support of sick and crippled children and several veterans as his dependents, increased his donations to the New York Times "100 Neediest Cases", the Salvation Army, the childrens' "Fresh Air Fund", Father Flanagan's Boys Town, Children's Hospital of Washington, and the McLean Virginia volunteer fire department. He was furious that Prohibition bootleggers grew rich selling "rotgut" liquor, which was destroying families, and making a fortune for racketeers like Capone, who terrorized citizens and small businessmen with extortion demands to "protect" them. He drew a series of cartoons entitled, "We Nominate For The Hall of Shame", and his political cartoons, like those of Thomas Nast in the 19th century, were directed to the corruption on Wall Street. One cartoon showed a fat woman labelled "gangdom" sitting atop the crushed U.S. Treasury playing a lyre, which was captioned "Song of the Liar".

Cartoon by Percy Crosby
"Song of the Lyre"
©1932, 1999 Percy Crosby Estate

The Roaring Twenties and economic confidence had come to a halt and millions of men were out of work, forced to sell apples on street corners and to stand in bread lines to feed their families. Banks had stopped lending money, and bootleggers grew fat from illicit sales of liquor and other rackets. By the time Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the National Crime Syndicate ("La Cosa Nostra")had creamed eleven billion dollars from the U.S. economy and invested the money in "legitimate businesses". The golden wheat and corn fields of the midwest had become a giant "dust bowl" in the early 1930's, causing devastation to crops, farm foreclosures, and catastrophic consequences to farmers and their families. Shantytowns and city slums became the homes of displaced and impoverished Americans. A dark cloud descended on America the beautiful "from sea to shining sea", and many lost faith in democratic government.

Roosevelt became president in 1932, with his" New Deal" program that was the beginning of big government. Crosby voted for FDR in 1932, but soon became one of his most vocal critics after FDR's attempt to "pack the Supreme Court", when the Court ruled in 1935 that the NRA (National Industrial Recovery Act) was unconstitutional. The Court's landmark decision, A.L.A.

    Schechter Poultry Co. v. United States
, (aka the "Sick Chicken" case) found that the NRA codes of fair competition allowing large trade associations to write and enforce their own laws was unprecedented. Percy Crosby referred to the NRA as Roosevelt's "New Russian Administration", unaware that it was by means of the NRA peanut butter code that a bankrupt California food packer (Rosefield) would steal Skippy and make a fortune.

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