Writers’ Wednesdays: How a newspaper cartoon changed the world
RENO, Nevada – While many know the Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries heavyweight championship fight – often called “The Fight of the Century” – was held in Reno on July 4, 1910, few know that an animated miner’s jackass played a critical role the fight being held in Nevada.
On Feb. 8 at 5:30 p.m., Nevada history buff and author Guy Clifton will share the story of Reno newspaper cartoonist Art Buel and how one Buel cartoon in particular prompted Ely saloon owner Tex Rickard to bid to become the fight’s promoter. The presentation is part of the Nevada Historical Society’s “Writers’ Wednesdays” series.
While researching the 2010 book, “Johnson-Jeffries: Dateline Reno,” which he co-authored with longtime Reno newspaperman Ray Hagar, Clifton discovered Buel’s connection to Rickard and to the fight. His involvement – and that of the Reno Evening Gazette, where Buel worked from 1908 to late 1910 – was almost lost to history. For more than 80 years, other papers were credited with producing the cartoon.
The Johnson-Jeffries fight brought Reno worldwide attention and more than 20,000 boxing fans packed the town to watch the bout. Art Buel’s newspaper cartoons on the fight had never been printed in a collection until they appeared in Clifton and Hagar’s book.
The presentation is preceded by a book signing beginning at 5 p.m.
Writers’ Wednesday is held the second Wednesday of each month at the Nevada Historical Society, 1650 N. Virginia St. The presentation is free to society members and $5 for non-members. Admission is free for children 17 and younger. For details, call (775) 688-1190.