About this Collection
Contains 2,085 drawings, prints, and paintings related to the art of caricature, cartoon, and illustration, spanning the years 1780 to 1977 and includes works by 521 American and foreign artists and illustrators. Most of the images are cartoons, comic strips, and periodical illustrations drawn by American artists between 1890 and 1970.
The Swann Collection features a rich diversity of twentieth-century American and European cartoon drawings and includes images that reflect such aspects of society as political and economic conditions, social mores, employment, domestic life, families and children, relations between the sexes, and superheroes.
In the early 1960s, Erwin Swann, a New York advertising executive started collecting original cartoon drawings of artistic and humorous interest. The Swann Collection came to the Library of Congress in two installments, in 1974 and in 1977, with a fund to maintain, preserve, and develop the collection, and under an agreement whereby a space would be provided for the permanent exhibition of works from the collection and related library holdings. The Swann Gallery of Caricature & Cartoon is located opposite the Coolidge Auditorium in the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building.
The Swann Foundation, which Erwin Swann created in 1968 to promote preservation, exhibition, scholarship and publication of caricature and cartoon, was transferred from New York to the Library of Congress in 1995. The Foundation, now known as the Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon, offers a fellowship to graduate students and those within three years of receiving a graduate degree, working in any field, on a topic related to caricature and cartoon. The Swann Foundation Home Page provides information on the Foundation and on the Library's activities relating to caricature and cartoon.