December 27, 2000 Cold War Cartoons To Be Discussed June 15

Press Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
Public Contact: (202) 707-9115

The Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon will hold its first public lecture, by 1999-2000 fellow Stephen Kercher. Mr. Kercher will present an illustrated lecture, "Positive Uses of Anger: The Art and Politics of the American Postwar Satiric Cartooning," on Thursday, June 15, at 2:30 p.m., in the West Dining Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Based on research he has conducted at the Library of Congress's Manuscript and Prints and Photographs divisions and other archives, Mr. Kercher's presentation will focus on the political cartoons, illustrations and comic strips created by Bill Mauldin, Robert Osborn and Jules Feiffer. Mr. Kercher will demonstrate how through their divergent approaches, these three cartoonists provided powerful, urgent critiques of American Cold War politics and society. By commenting boldly on McCarthyism, the bomb and American race relations, among other matters, Mauldin, Osborn and Feiffer did much to revive the art of satiric cartooning during the 1950s and early 1960s.

Stephen Kercher is a doctoral candidate in U.S. history and American studies at Indiana University. This fall he will begin teaching 20th century U.S. history at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. He is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation, The Limits of Irreverence: Irony and Satire in American Culture, 1950-1964, a history of American satire. Mr. Kercher has recently signed a contract with the University of Chicago Press for the publication of this study.

New York advertising executive Erwin Swann (1906-1973) established the Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon in 1967. An avid collector, Swann assembled a large group of original drawings by 400 artists, spanning two centuries, which his estate bequeathed to the Library of Congress in the 1970s. Mr. Swann's original purpose was to compile a collection of original drawings by significant humorous and satiric artists, and to encourage the study of original cartoon and caricature drawings as works of art.

The foundation's support of research and academic publication is carried out in part through a program of fellowships. The Swann Foundation awards one fellowship annually (with a stipend of $15,000) to assist ongoing scholarly research and writing projects in the field of caricature and cartoon. The Caroline and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon is guided by an advisory board of scholars, collectors, cartoonists, and Library of Congress staff members. Its activities support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world. Applications for the academic year 2001-2002 are due on February 15, 2001.

For more information about Stephen Kercher's lecture or other caricature and cartoon- related activities, see the Swann Foundation's Web site:, by e-mail:, or call Sara Duke at (202) 707-9115.


PR 00-089
ISSN 0731-3527