These annual collections began appearing in 1927 (1930 being the Fourth Series), and chart the political and social events of each year with a humorous eye.
Sidney Strube (1891–1956) was a British cartoonist, born in Bishopsgate, London. His career began as a junior draughtsman with a furnishing company and as a drawer of electrical equipment and lettering for a small advertising agency. He then entered John Hassall's art school. Hassall admired his caricatures and sent some drawings to the "Conservative and Unionist" (later "Our Flag"). The editor printed four of Strube's caricatures during the January 1910 UK general election, after which he worked as a freelance cartoonist, including drawing for the "Bystander" and the "Evening Times". In 1912 he joined the Daily Express, and stayed until 1948. The main character in his cartoons is the Little Man, the personification of the "man in the street", who wore a bowler hat, carried an umbrella and represented the hard-pressed taxpayer suffering under politicians and vested interests. He also presented a contrasting portrait of 'Englishness', as opposed to the more traditional John Bull figure.
Our books are in remarkably good condition considering their age: the 1929 volume is the better of the two, retaining its orange card cover, somewhat battered around the edges, torn at the foot of the spine, badly faded externally, but firmly attached to the body of the book. Inside, the soft paper pages are all clean, apart from just one or two isolated spots of foxing. The 1930 collection, slightly larger, has a green cover which is detached from the body of the book, but rather less damaged than the 1929 one. Inside the front cover is an advertisement for 'The Strube Red Book', a combined publication of the years 1927-28-29. Again, the pages in the book itself are clean and bright, if a little worn around the edges. There are some signs of foxing on the leading edge and bottom, but no evidence of same inside.