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Prints and Photographs Division



Graphic Journalism and Illustration
British Cartoons
Civil War Drawings
Cabinet of American Illustration
arrow graphicCartoon Collections
Illustrated Weeklies
Photojournalism Collections
Documentary Surveys
Advertising and Propaganda
Pictures: Business and Art
Design Collections
Organizations' Records
Personal Papers



Cartoon Collections
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The only solution of the Mormon problem. Hal Coffin. 1871. Prints and Photographs Division.
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The Prints and Photographs Division has maintained a strong focus on political satire and comic art, in the forms of editorial cartoon and comic strip drawings. Two collections, the Cartoon Drawings (9,200 drawings, 1794-1994) and the Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon (2,000 drawings, 1780-1975) provide entrée to examining the ways in which cartoon artists used images of women metaphorically to comment on political events of the day. The materials also invite exploration of the humorous, sometimes biting ways in which cartoonists dealt with issues that touched on the rights and status of women, such as suffrage, health issues, participation in sports, and paid (and unpaid) labor.

The more than one hundred recently acquired drawings for the comic strip “Blondie,” for instance, offer evidence of changes—and surprising continuities—in the equality-minded title character's approach to marriage and domestic life between the 1930s and the 1960s.

As another example, a number of cartoons by African American artist Oliver Harrington portray black women putting black men in their place, guiding and chiding their children, and serving as symbols in the struggle for racial justice. The drawings thus offer commentary on relationships between the sexes and the generations within the urban African American community, as well as on race relations in general.

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“The government has my whole family working on scientific progress.” Bill Mauldin. Copyright c1948 by Bill Mauldin. Reprinted by permission. Prints and Photographs Division.

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As with many of the division's drawings collections, the images and the associated documentation could be used in conjunction with materials available in the Serial and Government Publications Division or in the General Collections to study the editorial and technical practices that newspaper and magazine staffs have employed in reproducing such drawings in their publications.

Searching the Collections

Both the Cartoon Drawings and the Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon can be searched in the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog, where each has its own separate category. Digitized images accompany many of the online records.

Go to the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC)

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