From the stock market crash in 1929 through the new millennium in 2000, editorial cartoonist Herbert Block has chronicled the nation's political history, depicting the eras of American presidents from Herbert Hoover to Bill Clinton. He has received three Pulitzer Prizes for editorial cartooning and a fourth with Washington Post colleagues for public service during the Watergate investigation. In 1994 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 1999 he received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Harvard University. In 2000, the Library of Congress named Herb Block a "Living Legend" in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the nation.
In tens of thousands of drawings published in newspapers over the years, Herb Block has offered trenchant graphic commentary on virtually every notable figure from the Depression forward. He has portrayed American history from his usually prescient, sometimes tragic, often funny, and always intelligent perspective. He effectively challenged the excesses of the anti-subversive campaigns of the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s. He coined the word "McCarthyism." He followed Richard Nixon's political path from his time in Congress in the 1940s to his resignation as president of the United States in 1974. He documented the Cold War from its inception after World War II to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1994. Furthermore, his numerous powerful cartoons on poverty, race relations, and education not only express his personal commitment to civil rights but measure over time the nation's response to such issues. His drawings are his legacy, a monumental contribution to the profession of journalism and to future understanding of the times in which we live.
Herblock's History celebrates his gift to the Library of Congress of one hundred and nineteen original drawings, spanning more than seventy years of world history and the astonishing breadth of his distinguished career. These political cartoons represent the freedom of expression inherent in American democracy, echoing the Library of Congress' Bicentennial theme of "Libraries, Creativity, and Liberty." In the new millennium, Herb Block's drawings forcefully bring back the principal issues and events that shaped our world during the past century. The Library of Congress takes great pride in preserving them for posterity on behalf of the American people.