The Public Paperfolding History Project

Main Index Page


Paperfolding as Political Propaganda
This page attempts to record what is known about the origin and history of Paperfolding as Political Propaganda. Please contact me if you know any of this information is incorrect or if you have any other information that should be added. Thank you.

Paperfolding has been used as political propaganda in several ways:

By the use of images of well known paperfolds in satirical cartoons, specifically the Cocotte / Pajarita and the Newspaper Hat . Many examples of this can be found in the pages devoted to these paperfolds.

In the use of Newspaper Hats as election campaign promotional items. An example of this dating from 1896 can be found here.

By the production of novelty paperfolds which convey a propaganda message.


16th Century Dutch Patriotic Pamphlets - 1780 to 1787


This French fold-in, which dates to around 1814, is propaganda on behalf of Louis XVIII of France. (Information from Juan Gimeno)


The Fifth Pig and similar Fold-Ins - 1878 onwards



This German fold-in from 1814 headed 'We Will Be Victorious' shows the leaders of France, England, Belgium, Japan, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro and collapses to portraits of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austro-Hungary and William 2 of Germany.


c1939 to 1945

The images below are of both sides of a puzzle postcard, produced as propaganda but also advertising a hotel, dating from the Second World War. The object of the puzzle is to imprison two of the three 'Public Enemies' pictured on the puzzle by folding it into a square.


Mad magazine Fold-Ins - 1964 onwards

In issue 86, published in 1964, Mad magazine featured an innovative inside back cover illustration by Al Jaffee which was designed so that the picture folded inwards in a zigzag fashion to reveal another picture, with a satirical connection between the two. These 'Fold-ins' became a regular feature of the magazine. Some of these fold-ins, such as the one shown below, which is from April 1965, were overtly political in nature.