There is an interesting cartoon in the book

Lillian Hoddeson, Ernst Braun, Jurgen Teichmann, Spencer Weart (Eds.) Out of the Crystal Maze: Chapters from The History of Solid State Physics. Oxford Univesity Press, 1992 (online here)

The cartoon (see below) appears on page 15 and depicts recognizably professorial types exchanging books for cartoonish bags of coins brought by recognizably capitalist types. Hovering over the scene are a sun-like Felix Klein and an angelic-looking Friedrich Althoff, depicted as bestowing blessings upon the congregants. The book says that the cartoon dates from 1908 but does not provide any additional details.

Question 1. Where did the cartoon first appear in 1908?

Question 2. Who created the cartoon?

Question 3. Althoff died on 20 october 1908. Did the cartoon appear before or after his death in 1908?

Question 4. There are several books that have reprinted this cartoon and they all seem to agree that the cartoon originates from 1908. Where did they get this information from?

Question 5. Armin Hermann writes in his 1991 book that the cartoon was distributed with the invitations to a february 1908 meeting at Goettingen, as pointed out in this answer. Where does Hermann's information come from?

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ I clicked on that link to the book. The caption on the image says: "From A. Hermann, Weltreich der Physik [Esslingen: Bechtle, 1980], 193)". Perhaps that reference has more detail about the original 1908 source? I will also edit your post to include the image, so others do not need to click the link. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2018 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, Brendan. Indeed I am interested in its original appearance in 1908. $\endgroup$ Jan 31, 2018 at 16:24
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    $\begingroup$ There is quite a fun caricature of Alhoff , "the Academic Owl", on the page numbered 793 (PDF page 13) of academia.edu/31882285/… $\endgroup$
    – nwr
    Jan 31, 2018 at 18:08
  • $\begingroup$ @NickR, are you referring to the "Baltimore teachers" piece? They wouldn't let me get the pdf without registering. Would you be so kind as to send me a pdf? $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ I wonder whether Google's image-matching search engine would be of any help. $\endgroup$ Feb 1, 2018 at 12:46

1 Answer 1


Armin Hermann states in his book on page 355 that this caricature was enclosed in the invitation letters. Since the anniversary meeting was held in February 1908, it appeared before Althoff's death. Here the conference proceedings can be downloaded: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-663-15735-9

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    $\begingroup$ Is there any way of finding out where Armin Hermann got his information from? $\endgroup$ Feb 4, 2018 at 12:05

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