James Gillray (1757-1815) was among the most popular, prolific, revered, and reviled print satirists of the golden age of English caricature, the late eighteenth century. He took special delight in attacking the excesses of the royal family. Here, he caustically depicts King George III, Queen Charlotte, and the Prince of Wales (later George IV) gorging themselves on the national treasury, labelled "John Bull's Blood." The title, "Monstrous Craws," refers to the rapidly expanding gullets dangling from the royal necks, probably inspired by the recent public display in London of three "wild-born human beings," who apparently exhibited such features. The Library acquired this print with almost 10,000 other English satires from the Royal Library at Windsor Castle in 1921.
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Illustrator Charles Dana Gibson's (1867-1944) glamorous, winsome "Gibson girls" set the standard for female beauty in turn-of-the-century America. Here, however, Gibson parodies his own creations, portraying his traditionally passive paradigms of womanhood as playfully assertive giants toying with a minuscule man.
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Mexican caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias (1904-1957) created this derisive group portrait of the three most powerful European dictators and Huey Long, United States senator from Louisiana, in 1933 for his celebrated series of "Impossible Interviews" published in Vanity Fair. Born in Mexico City, Covarrubias showed early artistic talent and in 1923, on a scholarship from the Mexican government, left for New York City, where he quickly gained a reputation as an accomplished caricaturist. By 1925, he had become one of Vanity Fair's principal contributors and as renowned as the men and women he drew. In his introduction to Covarrubias's first book, The Prince of Wales and Other Famous Americans (1925), performing arts critic Carl Van Vechten wrote, "At the present moment, Miguel Covarrubias is about as well known in New York as it would be possible for anyone to be."
Miguel Covarrubias, Impossible interviews - no. 18: Herr Adolf Hitler and Huey S. "Hooey" Long versus Josef Stalin and Benito Mussolini, gouache on board, 1933 Published in Vanity Fair, June 1933 Miguel Covarrubias / Vanity Fair © Conde Nast Publications, Inc. Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (2)
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For more than twenty-five years Doonesbury creator Garry B. Trudeau (b. 1948) has developed an evolving and engaging cast of characters into an effective vehicle for some of the most trenchant social and political satire in American newspaper publishing. His persistent and provocative commentaries on prominent politicians and controversial social issues have prompted some newspapers to print them on the editorial page rather than in the comics section.
Garry Trudeau, "I really didn't want you anyway, you stupid mourning cloak," ink, white out, pencil and tonal film overlay on paper, 1971 Copyright 1971 Universal Press Syndicate and G. B. Trudeau DOONESBURY © G. B. Trudeau Gift of Garry B. Trudeau, 1988 Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (3)
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During the 1960s, extensive news coverage of the Vietnam War contributed to growing antiwar sentiment in the United States. The strength of that sentiment divided the nation and the Democratic Party and convinced President Lyndon Baines Johnson to withdraw from the 1968 election campaign. The tensions of the period are reflected in two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Szep's unforgettable image of LBJ haunted by the ghosts of dead American soldiers. To create the drawing Szep used the scratchboard technique, in which the artist scrapes away black ink from a white surface, simulating the strong contrasts of a wood engraving with a fraction of the time, effort, and expense.
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Contemporary cartoonists who know the history of their profession sometimes seek inspiration in the works of past masters. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, Edward Sorel (b. 1929) portrayed President Richard Nixon as a tyrannical monarch. The motif was first used in America by the British-born cartoonist William Charles (1776-1820), who immigrated to the United States in 1806. During the War of 1812 Charles, who quickly took up the cause of his adopted land, produced this austere and amusing parody of Senator Josiah Quincy of Massachusetts, "Grand Master of the noble order of the Two Cod Fishes." Quincy was highly criticized at the time for arguing against war with England and soon resigned from Congress in the face of such vehement attacks.
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Edward Sorel, Milhous I: Lord of San Clemente, Duke of Key Biscayne, Captain of Watergate., India ink and watercolor on paper and board, 1974 Published in Rolling Stone, March 14, 1974 Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (5)
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Arthur Burdett Frost (1851-1928) is remembered as one of the great comic draughtsmen in the history of American illustration. Best known for affectionate, humorous portraits of rural characters, both human and animal, he published work in such popular periodicals as Harper's Monthly, Life, Collier's, Puck, Scribner's, and Harper's Weekly. He also illustrated more than ninety books by such authors as Lewis Carroll, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Theodore Roosevelt. Frost achieved widespread critical and popular success with his masterful, inventive illustrations for Joel Chandler Harris's classic series of "Uncle Remus" books, beginning with Uncle Remus and His Friends (1892). Early in Frost's career, author F. Hopkinson Smith wrote of his drawings, "Only a dot and a line, and yet there is a whole volume of anxiety, alarm, misery, and fright expressed in this same dot and line--one no larger than the head of a pin, and the other no longer than its point. That is what I call a genius."
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Puck and Judge were the leading satirical weeklies in the last decades of the nineteenth century, and by the 1890s their editors agreed on most things: that William Jenning Bryan's silver party was dangerous and William McKinley should be president; that monopolies were bad, but business was good: and that American workingmen should be content with their lot. A smaller, rival journal called The Verdict disagreed, however, and became an early forum for cartoons that portrayed labor as the victim of capital, and capitalists as arrogant, greedy monsters preying on the common people. Here, George B. Luks (1867-1933), who would soon gain fame as a member of the Ashcan School of American art, plays on Henry Clay's old adage that "it is better to be right than president" (through several unsuccessful election campaigns, Clay may have been right, but he was never president). Luks portrays the infamous Republican Party boss "Dollar" Mark Hanna sneering to McKinley, "That Man Clay Was an Ass. It's Better to be President than to be Right!"
George Luks, "That man Clay was an ass. It's better to be President than to be right!", lithograph, 1899 Published in The Verdict, March 13, 1899 Copyright registration deposit Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (15)
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Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was the dominant political cartoonist in America during the second half of the nineteenth century. His Civil War and Reconstruction drawings for Harper's Weekly earned him a national reputation, and the series of cartoons he drew between 1869 and 1872 exposing the corrupt "Tweed Ring" of New York City's Tammany Hall contributed to the group's ultimate indictment and became a landmark in the history of journalistic crusades against corruption in government. The Library of Congress collections include several original woodblocks engraved by Nast for the Tweed series including this one, considered among his most masterful works.
Thomas Nast, A group of vultures waiting for the storm to "blow over."-- "Let us Prey.", wood engraving, 1871 Published in Harper's Weekly, September 23, 1871 Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (17)
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Al Hirschfeld (b. 1903), America's foremost performing arts caricaturist and illustrator, has covered the New York theater scene for more than sixty years. His drawing of the Stage Door Canteen is at once a fine example of the artist's high style and an exuberant evocation of night life in New York city during World War II. The Stage Door Canteen was established by the American Theatre Wing and the USO during the war to entertain soldiers free of charge. The image complements the Library's extensive holdings of graphic materials related to the home front and related works by such fellow caricaturists as Miguel Covarrubias, Al Frueh, and Kenneth Chamberlain, among others. The bearded sailor at the right with his back to the viewer is Hirschfeld's self-portrait.
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The jaunty spirit of the Jazz Age came to life in the work of influential illustrator John Held, Jr. (1889-1958). During the 1920s, his colorful portrayals of flippant "flapper" girls and jaunty "Joe College" boys appeared in such magazines as Judge, The New Yorker, College Humor, Harper's Bazaar. His designs, such as this magazine cover depicting a coolly coquettish girl and a gawky, grinning guy, helped delineate a carefree, confident image of American society. Held also wrote and illustrated numerous books, designed costumes and sets for musical reviews, and created comic strips including Oh! Margy (later Merely Margy), Joe Prep, and Rah Rah Rosalie. Examples of his graphic work form part of the Library's Cabinet of American Illustration, a national collection of original drawings by generations of leading artists, illustrators, and cartoonists.
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Peggy Bacon (1895-1987), earned her place as a preeminent American caricaturist with the 1934 publication Off With Their Heads!, the result of a Guggenheim Fellowship. In that same year she began another series of caricatures for the publication New Republic, in which she portrayed prominent Washington, D.C. individuals. In The Quest of Beauty, Bacon's delicate ink and crayon work belies her sardonic message.
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Oliver Harrington (1912-1995) was among the first African Americans to receive international recognition as a cartoonist. Because of his controversial political beliefs and extended self-imposed exile abroad, however, his work has only recently begun to receive critical attention. Harrington received a bachelor's degree from Yale University, studied drawing at the National Academy of Design, and soon found work as a cartoonist for The Amsterdam News, a Harlem newspaper. There, in 1935, he created his best-known character, "Bootsie," for a cartoon panel entitled Dark Laughter, which became a forum for his insightful and humorous observations on relationships between blacks and whites, and life within an urban African-American community. In 1951, he moved to Paris, following apparent legal difficulties stemming from his outspokenness on race issues. Ten years later he relocated again to East Berlin, where he remained for the rest of his life. Throughout this period Harrington continued to contribute cartoons to the African-American newspaper The Pittsburgh Courier and the socialist The Daily World, as well as the East German satirical publication Eulenspiegel.
Oliver W. Harrington, Dark Laughter: "The teacher says that everyone can git to be president. Then how come the whole class falls out laughin' when I tell 'em that's my dream?" Crayon, ink, blue pencil, white out and pencil on paper, 1960 Caroline and Erwin Swann Memorial Fund purchase, 1995 Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (13)
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Rose Cecil O'Neill (1874-1944) was one of the few women to achieve extraordinary financial success and professional independence in early twentieth-century American cartooning. This drawing, which makes gently wicked fun of the largely male readership of Puck magazine, is representative of her distinctively bold, yet fluid, Art Nouveau-inspired style. Celebrated illustrator, author, and creator of the Kewpie doll, O'Neill began her career at the age of fifteen and by 1895 had sold drawings to the top humorous publications of the day, including Puck, Judge, Life, and Harper's. In 1909, she introduced readers of The Ladies'Home Journal to "The Kewpies," cherubic cartoon characters that soon became a national craze that spun off lucrative contracts for dolls and other merchandise, as well as a popular syndicated Sunday comic strip. Such wealth enabled O'Neill, with her sister, Callista, to hold salons in her Greenwich Village studio and create experimental drawings unlike the work for which she is usually known. Critics praised her one-woman exhibition of these drawings, held in Paris in 1921.
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