Modern American political cartoons have been around since the nineteenth century. The increase in newspaper and magazine circulation in the 1800’s provided a rich environment for the rise and use of political cartoons. Symbols, caricature, drawings, and exaggerations drawn by the cartoonist, point out the themes and problems of a historical era. There are many sources that you can use to find historical political cartoons. Check out the resources below to get started.
Political Cartoons in Books
Below are some examples of searches that you can do in the Library Catalog to locate books that contain political cartoons.
Keyword: cartoons and caricatures and politic* (the * serves as a truncation symbol and therefore will pick up politics as well as political)
Keyword: cartoons and caricatures and Bush (here you can replace Bush with an event or another individual’s name to determine if there is book material on your topic)
Political Cartoons in Newspapers
Locating political cartoons in newspapers will often require consulting the print or microfilm version of the newspaper. While many article databases contain the full-text of newspapers, the full-text is often in an HTML format and images, including political cartoons, are not included.
If you have a date/approximate date of an event, you can look through newspapers that were published several days before or several days after the event.
We also have a number of online historical newspaper databases. For example, the New York Times (ProQuest Historical Newspapers) – with Index has a search option to limit to Document Type: Editorial Cartoons. You can get to this search option by clicking on More Search Options link. This type of search can be difficult though because many of the cartoons do not have captions or titles.
To see the complete list of online historical newspapers, look under Databases on the library’s homepage and choose the category Newspapers, Historical.
Digital Collections of Political Cartoons
Created by the Library of Congress, this collection highlights editorial cartoons created by Herb Block. His cartoons have been featured in the Chicago News, the Washington Post, and other publications.
- Baldy Editorial Cartoons, 1946-1982, 1997: The Clifford H. Baldowski Collection at the Richard B. Russell Library
Clifford H. Baldowski created editorial cartoons for the Augusta Chronicle, Miami Herald, and Atlanta Constitution. This collection is provided by the Richard B. Russell Library for Political and Research Studies at the University of Georgia.
Over 50 cartoonists are represented with most cartoons created in the 1960s and 1970s. This collection is created and maintained by the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries.