Elected Mayor of Philadelphia in 1911, Rudolph Blankenburg (1843-1918) sought to reform the city's government and eliminate the widely acknowledged corruption it contained. Having been elected as the Keystone Party's candidate with Democratic support, Blackenberg's reforms were constantly met with resistance from the Republican held city councils and the entrenched political machine. This cartoon references the many points of resistance to Mayor Blankenburg's reforms and his struggles with gaining the cooperation of the city's councils.
Disbrow, D. W. (1960). Reform in Philadelphia under Mayor Blankenburg, 1912-1916. Pennsylvania History, 27(4), 379-396.
Drawn at the end of 1913, this cartoon presents a number of developments that the cartoonist hoped the new year would bring.
The top-left and right cartoons reference the Federal Reserve Act (also known as the Glass-Owen Currency Act) that was enacted on December 23, 1913 and called for the creation of a central banking system in the United States. The new system created a number of private regional Federal Reserve banks and a publicly appointed Federal Reserve Board to oversee them.  Critics of the legislation voiced concern over the power the new system put into the hands of private banking interests. The cartoonist also calls attention to the fact that Philadelphia was not initially chosen to be a home of a regional Federal Reserve bank, though through lobbying efforts the Third District Federal Reserve Bank would eventually be located there.
The bottom-left image refers to the widespread dislike of the piggeries that were located in the southern sections of Philadelphia. The Municipal Journal of 1913 described legal actions taking place to ensure their removal and argued that their presence "retarded the growth of the southern section of the city and are now obstructing gigantic plans for development of the Philadelphia shipyard."
The bottom-center image references the widely acknowledged corruption that existed within Philadelphia's government, especially regarding the administering of city contracts. The cartoonist expresses here a wish that all parties would pledge to end the unethical administration of the city.
Finally, the bottom-right image refers to the status of the Philadelphia Navy Yard on League Island. It was not considered a first-class naval base at the time and contained no ship-building facilities. The cartoonist hoped the newly appointed Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels (1862-1948) would reconsider the significance of the base and allocate additional funds for its development. 
 Federal Reserve Board. (2003). The Structure of the Federal Reserve System. Retrieved from:<http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/frseries/frseri.htm >
 "War Against Philadelphia's Piggeries." (1913). Municipal Journal Vol. XXXV. New York, NY: Municipal Journal & Engineer. Retrieved from: http://books.google.com/books?id=TJwfAQAAMAAJ&lpg=PA474&ots=q5hSBZeYCS&dq=south%20philadelphia%20and%20piggeries&pg=PA474#v=onepage&q=south%20philadelphia%20and%20piggeries&f=false
 Disbrow, D. W. (1960). Reform in Philadelphia under Mayor Blankenburg, 1912-1916. Pennsylvania History, 27(4), 379-396.
 Dorwart, J., & Wolf, J. (2001). The Philadelphia Navy Yard: From the Birth of the U.S. Navy to the Nuclear Age. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania. (pg. 118-120).
This cartoon is referencing the various controversies surrounding the administration of Philadelphia's sinking funds. Sinking funds are "a means of repaying funds that were borrowed through a bond issue. The issuer makes periodic payments to a trustee who retires part of the issue by purchasing the bonds in the open market".
In November of 1916 the Finance Committee of Councils sought to review and improve the way the sinking funds were administered. This effort revealed a number of concerns regarding surpluses and the proper appropriation of funds. The Committee's initial request for information on the matter was disregarded by the sinking funds commissioners. This level of secrecy was criticised and questioned by the public and the Finance Committee of Councils.
The November 19, 1920 Night Extra issue of the Evening Public Ledger expressed this sentiment:
"There is no defensible reason for concealing the facts. The sinking fund commissioners are public officials. The money they handle is public money. the business they do is the business of the public. Their accounts should be open to the public. No good can be served by secrecy. Secrecy can engender suspicion and lack of confidence, a result against which every effort should be directed."
 Sinking Fund. (2012). In Investopedia.com. Retrieved from: < http://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/sinkingfund.asp#axzz21ppyV4eP >
 Woodruff, C. R. (ed.). (1918). National municipal review 1918: Volume 7. Concord, N.H.: Rumford Press. P. 326-327. Retrieved from: < http://books.google.com/books?id=c9IQAAAAYAAJ&lpg=PA326&ots=GKTMswDTYF&dq=sinking%20funds%20controversy%20philadelphia&pg=PA326#v=onepage&q=sinking%20funds%20controversy%20philadelphia&f=false>
 The Mayor with a word rends the veil of secrecy. (1920, November 19). The Evening Public Ledger. Library of Congress - Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Retrieved from: < http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045211/1920-11-19/ed-1/seq-8/ >
In 1921, Pennsylvania State Senator Max Aron (1885-? ) presented a bill to Pennsylvania's legislature that would make a small, yet significant alteration to the wording of Philadelphia's city charter. Widely seen as a "plot by contractors to force the city back to cleaning its streets by contract..," the Aron Bill would have revised the city's charter to make contracted street cleaning a requirement rather than an option. Though quickly passed in the Senate, the bill was ultimately stopped in the House of Representatives and failed to become law.
In this cartoon the artist likened the Aron Bill to an ax that contractors and political bosses would use to bypass Philadelphia's charter and plunder its treasury.
 "Aron Bill Dies if it Sneaks by to Gov. Sproul." (1921, April 22). Evening Public Ledger, p. 1. Retrieved from: Library of Congress - Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers < http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045211/1921-04-22/ed-1/seq-1/ >
Depicting them as football players lining up for a kick, this cartoon refers to the poor treatment of everyday Philadelphians by the City Council and outside financial interests. Widespread mishandling of city funds and backroom financial dealings led to accusations of corruption in Philadelphia's municipal government. The City Controller at the time, Will B. Hadley is shown as a small boy standing idly by. As a supposedly independent and elected position, the City Controller's role was to audit the financial activities of the Mayor and City Council. Many saw Hadley as an ineffectual, if not corrupt City Controller.
The Evening Public Ledger of September 9, 1921: "Immediately following his induction into office Controller Hadley inaugurated a policy of secrecy and obstruction with regard to the affairs of his office. He surrendered his official independence and prerogatives to the blandishments of the old Combine. He joined hands with the enemies of Mayor Moore." 
 McCain, >George Nox. (1921, September 9). Next Controller Must be Uncontrolled! Evening Public Ledger, p. 8. Library of Congress - Chronicling America: Historic Newspapers. Retrieved from: <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045211/1921-09-09/ed-1/seq-8/>
Between 1933 and 1939 the PWA (public work administration) funded several large projects; Philadelphia’s Family Court Building was one of them, dubbed the “Palace of Justice” at the time of its construction from 1938 to 1941. Although the project provided jobs it was built while the city was in financial crisis.
The cartoon was created for Franklin H. Price, director of the Free Library of Philadelphia from 1934-1951.
When the stock market crashed in 1929 it devastated Philadelphia, as it did most other cities. Philadelphia lost 50 banks and 19,000 properties went into foreclosure by 1932. The mayor blamed the financial crisis on laziness and wastefulness, firing 3,500 city workers, instituting pay cuts, and forcing unpaid vacations. The effects of these cuts lingered.
Source: Weigley, RF and et al. Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, (1982), ISBN 0-393-01610-2
Here the cartoonist criticizes the lack of funding for the Free Library of Philadelphia in the city's 1945 budget. The cartoon implies that this is not from a lack of funds but is instead a result of bias and disdain on the part of those drafting the budget. A stereotypical "fat cat" exclaims that "drones don't need books" as a young man looks onto nearly empty and cobwebbed library shelves.
This is the most thoughtful and intensive analysis of the emergence of a political machine of any written in recent years. McCaffery has mastered the theory and historiography of the political machine in general and applied this to a wealth of sources in Philadelphia. His questions are rigorously formulated, exhaustively researched, and convincingly stated.- back cover, Terrence J. McDonald, University of Michigan