James Akin

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For the state politician from Tennessee, see James H. Akin.

James Akin
South Carolina, U.S.

James Akin (c. 1773–1846) was an American political cartoonist and engraver from South Carolina. He worked in Philadelphia and Newburyport, Massachusetts. Associates included former President William Henry Harrison and Jacob Perkins.[1] Examples of Akin's work are in the American Antiquarian Society, Library of Congress, U.S. National Portrait Gallery, and Winterthur Museum.[2]

1835 cartoon shows President Jackson challenging French King Louis Philippe, whose crown is falling off; Jackson is advised by king Neptune, and backed up by an American warship. On the left are French politicians, depicted as little frogs, complaining about the Americans.

Skillet incident[edit]

In the early 1800s, Akin worked as an engraver for Edmund March Blunt in Newburyport. "In late October 1804 the two men argued publicly, and in the course of the disagreement Blunt threw an iron skillet at Akin, hitting an unfortunate passerby. Akin, uninjured, retaliated with a deragotory print of Blunt entitled 'Infuriated Despondency' and a verse he called 'A Skillet Song.'"[3] The caricature was later featured in the Newburyport Herald in 1805 and in pottery throughout London and Liverpool in 2006, heaping scorn upon Blunt and his descendants. A few examples still exist.[4]


Examples of Akin's work:

Further reading[edit]

  • Nina Fletcher Little. "The Cartoons of James Akin upon Liverpool Ware." Old-Time New England, (January 1938)
  • Lewis C. Rubenstein. "James Akin in Newburyport." Essex Institute Historical Collections (1966)
  • Allison Stagg (January 2010). "Object Lessons: "All in my eye!" James Akin and his Newburyport social caricatures". Common-Place.


  1. ^ F.B. Sanborn (1898). "Thomas Leavitt and his Artist Friend James Akin". The Granite Monthly: A New Hampshire Magazine. Concord, N.H. 25.
  2. ^ Maureen O'Brien Quimby. The Political Art of James Akin. Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 7 (1972), pp. 59–112 JSTOR 1180534
  3. ^ Christina H. Nelson. Transfer-Printed Creamware and Pearlware for the American Market. Winterthur Portfolio, Vol. 15, No. 2 (Summer, 1980), pp. 93–115 JSTOR 1180534
  4. ^ Stagg, Allison (January 2010). "All in my eye!". Common-place. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  5. ^ Akin (1824). "Caucus curs in full yell, or a war whoop, to saddle on the people, a pappoose president / J[ames] Akin, Aquafortis". Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Retrieved 24 April 2012.
  6. ^ Richard R. John. Taking Sabbatarianism Seriously: The Postal System, the Sabbath, and the Transformation of American Political Culture. Journal of the Early Republic, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Winter, 1990) JSTOR 3123626

External links[edit]