By ERIN ALLEN
The Library of Congress celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Herbert L. Block (widely known as Herblock) on Oct. 13, with the opening of a new exhibition and the publication of a companion volume. (See stories on pages 163–166.)
“You stroll among these freshly mounted, never-before-displayed original drawings at the Library of Congress and you are struck anew by the sheer span of Herb Block’s career,” wrote Michael Cavna of The Washington Post. “Then you peer closer at these 82 works that make up this new ‘Herblock!’ exhibit and realize anew how much the man who coined the term ‘McCarthyism,’ and who visually linked Watergate to the Nixon White House within mere weeks of the burglary, was himself, pen in hand, a part of history.”
In his article, Cavna had some of his colleagues offer their remembrances of the legendary cartoonist, including Jen Sorensen, Mike Peters, Steve Breen, Matt Davies, Scott Stantis, Mike Luckovich, Matt Wuerker and Jimmy Margulies.
ABC News reporter Lindsey Ellerson spoke with Herblock Foundation member Frank Swoboda, among others. “He [Herblock] was absolutely fearless, and you wouldn’t know that, to know the man who was outwardly a very gentle soul and tough as nails. He has left an indelible mark on the 20th century of the United States—because of his perception and his tenacity in being a champion of the people against the power structure.” Ellerson’s story was featured online with an extensive slideshow of Herblock’s cartoons.
Tom Sherwood of the Washington, D.C., news station NBC-4 also ran a segment that noted, “Many Herblock cartoons remain relevant today as issues like oil crises, gun violence, gender-based wage discrimination and corporate greed repeatedly surface.”
Other media outlets running stories on the exhibition were The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Roll Call and NZZ Online, a German news website.
Focusing on the companion book was Publishers Weekly, which wrote, “This retrospective of the later cartoonist’s work defiantly documents the extraordinary career of a daily visual commentator on American political life.”
Also running stories on the book were the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Dallas Morning News, WPFW-FM, WTTG-TV, WAMC-Northeast Public Radio, The Hill Rag, Public Radio International, The Buffalo News, the Mimi Geerges Show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, “Capital Conversations” with Wings Radio Productions and “Culture Shocks Radio” with Syndicated Solutions.
While political cartoons often present a story of governmental bureaucracy and unrest, the Library’s StoryCorps project highlights the life stories of real, everyday people. In September, the project launched a new initiative, Historias, in an effort to gather the oral histories of the nation’s Latinos. (See story on page 179.) As with all StoryCorps recordings, the interviews will be collected and preserved by the Library’s American Folklife Center. The initiative was launched near the U.S. Capitol, and several members of Congress turned out, including Rep. Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.) with his brother, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
CNN’s Eric Marrapodi wrote, “StoryCorps—and now ‘Historias’—collects the kinds of real-life experiences that say much not only about time and place, but about the people who lived in those times and those places.”
Lesley Clark of McClatchy Newspapers spoke with Dave Isay, StoryCorps founder, who said, “These stories show us how much more we share in common as a nation than divides us, a truth that’s particularly important to recognize now, when we seem to be spending so much time shouting at each other and so little time listening.”
Other outlets running stories were the Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Canadian Press, Conexión and Houston Chronicle blog Texas on the Potomac.
Erin Allen is a writer-editor in the Library’s Public Affairs Office.