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Edmund  Duffy, artist.  Seventy years a'growing
Edmund Duffy, artist. Seventy years a'growing
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Resources for the Study of Caricature and Cartoons


Major collections | Searching in P&P | Resources Outside the Library of Congress | Bibliography

The Prints and Photographs Division holds thousands of cartoon drawings and prints in its organized collections. Descriptions of major collections, tips for searching, and suggestions of further resources for the study of caricature and cartoon are given below.

Major Collections in the Prints and Photographs Division

Selections, or in some cases, the entire holdings in the following categories are available through the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC):

  • American Cartoon Prints (APP)
    About 800 prints, circa 1766-1876.
    Available through the PPOC; See collections listing for Cartoon Prints, American
    [More information about Cartoon Prints, American]

  • British Cartoons Collection (PC 1,2,3)
    About 10,000 political and social satires and caricatures, 1650-1832.
    [Change to: Brief Records, based on the British Museum Catalogs] Selection available through the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. See collections listing for Cartoon Prints, British
    [More information about Cartoon Prints, British]

  • Cabinet of American Illustration (CAI)
    About 4,000 drawings and prints, 1850-1930. Books and magazine illustrations and some graphic designs.
    Available through Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. See collections listing for: Cabinet of American Illustration
    [More information about Cabinet of American Illustration]

  • Cartoon Drawings Collection (CD1)
    About 6,800 drawings, 1840-1986. Political, editorial, and humorous cartoons and caricatures by about 500 artists.
    Available through Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. See collections listing for: Cartoon Drawings.
    [More information about Cartoon Drawings Collection]

  • French Political Cartoons (PC5)
    About 375 cartoons, 1706-1871.
    Selection available through Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Search call number: PC 5

  • Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature
    About 36,000 cartoons, 1800-2000, bulk 1941 and after.
    Small selection available through Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Search text: Art Wood Collection Caricature Cartoon
  • Herbert L. Block Collection
    About 64,000 items, including more than 14,000 original cartoon drawings for the Chicago Daily News, Newspaper Enterprise Association, and The Washington Post, 1929-2001, bulk 1937-2001. Includes more than 50,000 rough sketches.
    Small selection available through Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. Search text: Herbert L. Block Collection
  • Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon
    About 2,090 drawings, prints, and paintings that span the years 1780 to 1977, primarily cartoons, comic strips, and periodical illustrations drawn by American artists between 1890 and 1970.
    Search records and view selected items through the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, Cartoons - Swann Collection of Caricature & Cartoon

Searching for Cartoons and Related Formats in the Prints and Photographs Division

In addition to the collections described above, individual cartoon prints and drawings are found in various Prints & Photographs Division collections.

  • Descriptions and, sometimes, digital images of many cartoons can be found in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC). Thousands of items (including items from the collections mentioned above) can be retrieved using the general index term "Cartoons (Commentary)." To view these records and associated images comprehensively:
    • In the "all collections" (default) search blank, enter: Cartoons (Commentary)
    • Where it says, "Display up to [ ] records," change the number to 20,000
  • The "Cartoons (Commentary" search can be combined with names of artists, subjects, or characteristics of the item that might appear in a note:

    • In the "all collections" (default) search blank, enter: Cartoons (Commentary) and additional search words
      Example: Cartoons (Commentary) bear
    • Select to "Match all of these words"
  • The collections include many types of caricature and cartoon. Select from terms for types of cartoons and related terms in the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials entry for "Cartoons (Commentary)" [view thesaurus entry].

  • Tools available to on-site researchers in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room may help locate cartoons for which no online record yet exists:

    • Graphics File - Nonphotographic images, such as prints and drawings, arranged by topic groups, such as “Women's movements” or “Daily life.” Includes categories for cartoons.
    • Specific Subject Card Index - Lists images by topic, generally those for which copy photographs were requested.
    • "Cartoons: Seach Strategy Checklist" - A handout listing Reading Room tools and files to check for exhaustive on-site searches.
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Resources Outside the Library of Congress

(Links to external Internet sites on Library of Congress Web pages do not constitute the Library's endorsement of the content of their Web sites or of their policies or products. Please read our Standard Disclaimer. ) Top of Page Top of Page

Online Resources for Caricature and Cartoon

(Note: If you are a cartoon repository or a content provider and wish to be included on this list, please send an e-mail to: [email protected])

Selected Bibliography

Amon Carter Museum of Western Art. The Image of America in Caricature & Cartoon. Fort Worth, Texas: Amon Carter Museum of Western Art, c1976. Call number: E183.A57 1976 [P & P]

Goulart, Ron, ed. The Encyclopedia of American comics. New York: Facts on File, 1990. Call number: PN6725.E64 1990 [P&P]

------“The Art of the Cartoon: Exploring the Collections of the Library of Congress,”  ComicsForum.com, August 13, 2012, http://comicsforum.org/2012/08/13/the-art-of-the-cartoon-exploring-the-collections-of-the-library-of-congress-by-sara-w-duke/.

Harvey, Robert C. Children of the Yellow Kid: the evolution of the American comic strip. Seattle: Frye Art Museum in association with the University of Washington Press, 1998. Call number: PN6725.H38 1998 [P&P]

Katz, Harry L. and Sara W. Duke. "Cartoon-related Research at the Library of Congress." Inks: Cartoon and Comic Art Studies. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, Vol. 1, no. 1, November 1994, pp30-36. Call number: NC1320.I55 [P & P] (Note: A version of this article is available online at: http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/swann/cartoon_research.html)

Katz, Harry L. and Sara W. Duke. Featuring the Funnies: One Hundred Years of the Comic Strip. Exhibition catalog, 24pp. [Washington, D.C., Library of Congress, 1998] Call number: PN6705.U5F43 1998 Fol. [P&P]

Katz, Harry L. and Sara W. Duke. "The Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon at the Library of Congress." Inks: Cartoon and Comic Art Studies. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, Vol. 1, no. 2, May 1994, pp31-33. Call number: NC1320.I55 [P & P]

Lent, John A. Animation, Caricature, and Gag and Political Cartoons in the United States and Canada: an International Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1994. Call number: Z5956.C3L45 1994 [P & P]

Lent, John A. Comic Books and Comic Strips in the United States: an International Bibliography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1994. Call number: Z5956.C6L46 1994 [P & P]

Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division. Drawing the Iron Curtain: Cold War Cartoons, 1946-1960: a Caroline and Erwin Swann Memorial Exhibition, May 23-August 16, 1996. [Washington, DC]: The Library, [1996]. Call number: D844.L534 1996 [P & P]

O'Sullivan, Judith. The Art of the Comic Strip. [College Park]: University of Maryland. Department of Art, [1971]. Call number: NC1427.C6308 [P & P]

O'Sullivan, Judith. The Great American Comic Strip: One Hundred Years of Cartoon Art. Boston: Little, Brown, c1990. Call number: PN6725.O75 1990 [P & P]

Scott, Randall W. Comic Books and Strips: an Information Sourcebook. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1988. Call number: Z5956.C6S37 1988 [P & P]

Walker, Brain. The Comics Since 1945. New York: Abrams, 2002. Call number: PN6725.W25 2002

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  September 28, 2015
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