September 16, 2009 Works by Political Cartoonist Herblock Featured in New Retrospective Volume

Book and Exhibition Mark Herblock Centennial

Press Contact: Audrey Fischer, Library of Congress (202) 707-0022; Grace McQuade, W.W. Norton & Co. (212) 446-5101

To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of political cartoonist Herbert Block (Herblock), the Library of Congress and the Herb Block Foundation, in association with W. W. Norton & Company, have published “HERBLOCK: The Life and Works of the Great Political Cartoonist.” Written by Haynes Johnson and Harry L. Katz, this richly illustrated volume will delight Herblock fans as well as a new generation of cartoon enthusiasts.

“No American cartoonist has influenced so many in their profession, their government, their nation as Herblock,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “It is my great pleasure, as his friend and admirer, to present this magnificent retrospective volume, covering 70 years of world history and revealing the astonishing breadth of his distinguished career.”

Born in Chicago on Oct. 13, 1909, Herbert Lawrence Block was a groundbreaking, four-time Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist whose career spanned nearly three quarters of a century and 13 American presidencies. Block began his career as a professional cartoonist in 1929, working for the Chicago Daily News and the Newspaper Enterprise Association Service. In 1946, he joined The Washington Post, where he remained for 55 years, until his death in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 7, 2001. Syndicated throughout the country, his spare, folksy cartoons focused on important events of the time— from the stock-market crash in 1929 through the new millennium beginning in the year 2000—making complex issues seem simple and moral choices clear.

Arranged chronologically, the book illustrates the influence of history on Herblock’s work as well as his influence on historical events as they unfolded.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, best-selling author and television commentator Haynes Johnson provides an insightful biography of Herblock along with commentary on his work. In a series of essays, Harry Katz, curator of the Herb Block Foundation Collection and author of “Cartoon America: Comic Art at the Library of Congress,” places Herblock and his work in context. As a bonus, the book is packaged with a DVD that contains more than 18,000 cartoons—the bulk of Herblock’s professional works.

The authors will discuss the book from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 15, in Dining Room C, located on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The book accompanies a Library of Congress exhibition titled “Herblock!” featuring 82 original Herblock drawings that have never before been displayed. These works were selected from the Herb Block Foundation’s 2002 gift of the cartoonist’s entire personal and professional archives comprising more than 14,000 finished cartoons, in addition to preliminary sketches, files and manuscripts. The exhibit also includes three seminal cartoons on loan from The Washington Post collection.

The exhibition is free and open to the public, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, Oct. 13, 2009, through May 1, 2010, in the second-floor South Gallery of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building at 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition may also be viewed online at

“HERBLOCK: The Life and Works of the Great Political Cartoonist,” a 304-page hardcover book with more than 250 classic cartoons, is available with the DVD for $35 in bookstores nationwide and the Library of Congress shop, Washington, DC 20540-4985. Credit card orders are taken at (888) 682-3557. Online orders can be placed at

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized website at


PR 09-170
ISSN 0731-3527