Historical Society of Pennsylvania cartoons and caricatures collection
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania's collection of cartoons and caricatures spans from the mid 1700s to the 1970s, with most of them dating from the 1860s to the 1880s, and is housed in twelve boxes and two flat files. The early cartoons from 1700s are mostly represented by photographic re...
|Collection:||Historical Society of Pennsylvania Cartoons and Caricatures Collection|
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Processing Information: As of 1/25/11, one item from the collection could not be located: "The Game of Seccession or Sketches of the Rebellion" (1862).
3.6 Linear feet ; 12 boxes, 2 flat files
All cartoons and original drawings in the collection that were published after 1923 are subject to current copyright rules and regulations. Permission to publish these items must be acquired from the artist(s), their heirs, or the publications(s) in which they first appeared. Unpublished cartoons created by artists who died after 1941 are under copyright for 70 years after the artist's death.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania's collection of cartoons and caricatures spans from the mid 1700s to the 1970s, with most of them dating from the 1860s to the 1880s, and is housed in twelve boxes and two flat files. The early cartoons from 1700s are mostly represented by photographic reproductions or Photostats--notes on this have been included in the collection's inventory. While some of the nineteenth and early twentieth century cartoons are original prints, the vast majority of them were clipped from local newspapers or magazines such as Harper's Weekly or Puck. Please note that some of these cartoons may be subject to current copyright rules and regulations. Please see the access note under the Administrative Information section of this guide for more information.
The collection is primarily arranged by size and then chronologically within each size group. Items in Boxes 1 and 2 have been placed into folders; items throughout the rest of the collection are either in folders or have been matted (each matte retains a "folder" number). Exceptions to this arrangement are Box 11, which contains primarily original drawings that are arranged alphabetically by artist, and Box 12, which contains items of different sizes arranged in chronological order.
The collection is particularly strong in Civil War-era cartoons, especially those from 1864 that highlight that year's presidential election. Other fairly strong groups include cartoons from the 1868 presidential election; the late 1860s and early 1870s, some of which discuss Reconstruction; cartoons from the World War I era; and cartoons and original drawings of cartoons from the 1930s that deal with New Deal politics. Despite the collection's almost 200-year date span, there are significant gaps. There are only a few reproductions of items from the mid to late 1700s, and there are scant cartoons from the early 1800s, the 1890s, the 1920s, and 1940s. There are no items from the 1840s or from 1863.
For the most part, these cartoons were individually cataloged before processing began. Individual cartoons are listed in the inventory and loose groups of cartoons were either grouped by subject (e.g. John Weaver and John Wanamaker cartoons, Box 2, Folder 7) or placed into miscellaneous folders. Many of the images deal specifically with national issues and presidential elections, though most of the cartoons from the 1880s onward highlight local politics, issues, and people. Though humorous and exaggerated, these political cartoons demonstrate how drastically American political and social concerns changed -- from abolition and black rights, to the crisis during World War I, through the Depression and the New Deal, to post-war international security.
Box 11 contains cartoons from the 1930s that were published in a variety of local and national newspapers, such as the Philadelphia Record, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There are original drawings by Dorman H. Smith, Bruce Russell, Herbert Johnson, Jerry Doyle, Johnny Anderson, and others. Many of these cartoons are critical of Franklin Roosevelt, the New Deal, and the Democratic Party.
The last box (Box 12) contains cartoons, clippings, and magazines that were collected by the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies. Most contain depictions of ethnic stereotypes, including African American, Irish, Chinese, and Jewish. And most of the cartoons are prints from magazines Puck and The Wasp, though a few other publications, such as Harper’s Weekly and Thistleton’s Illustrated Loyal Citizen, are represented There are also a handful of cartoons that are not prints but original, hand-drawn works in ink. Additionally, this series contains a mix of single cartoons and cartoons within full and partial magazine issues.
A small number of the cartoons from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are in French, though the vast majority of items are in English.
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania's cartoons and caricatures collection spans almost two hundred years of imagery mostly lampooning local, national, and international political issues. Comprising the collection are reproductions of eighteenth century cartoons, prints and clippings of nineteenth and twentieth century cartoons, and a number of original drawings of cartoons that appears in newspapers during the mid 1930s. The collection is particularly strong in Civil War cartoons from 1861 to 1862 and 1864 and cartoons from the 1868 presidential campaign.