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Stars of Political Cartooning – Edmund Duffy

Each day this month I will be profiling a notable political cartoonist. Since the choices are vast, I’ve decided to slim the numbers down a bit and eliminate living cartoonists. Perhaps I will do a current political cartoon stars in the future.

Here‘s an archive of the artists mentioned already.

Today we look at another three-time winner of the Editorial Cartoon Pulitzer Prize!


Edmund Duffy was born in 1899. He began working as a professional cartoonist in 1924, for the Baltimore Sun. At the Sun, he worked with the famous observational writer/critic, H.L. Mencken, for over twenty years.

Over those twenty plus years, Duffy won THREE Pulitizer Prizes for Editorial Cartoons, in 1931, 1934 and 1940 (if anyone has copies of those winning cartoons, I’d love to see them – sadly, most of Duffy’s work is strangely not up for public viewing).

For the most part, like Mencken, Duffy was primarily a cartoonist/reporter, and most of his cartoons delivered the news in a straightforward, easy to understand, manner. Mencken was known to have said, regarding Duffy “Give me a good cartoonist and I can throw out half the editorial staff.”

While his work was quite simple, it also had a real strength to it.

Here, Duffy depicts the uneasy state of peace that existed in the World during the 1920s…

This following piece, depicting Duffy’s view on the righteousness of one of FDR’s policies, is a fairly rare example of Duffy editorializing…

Here, Duffy is discussing the news that the United States and England would be ending the boycott of Mexican oil…

Duffy depicts the carpet bombings of Germany during World War II beautifully here…

Here, Duffy shows how the world viewed the signs of the US, England, USSR and China getting together during World War II….

This questioning of what the deal was with the supposed exile, Rudolf Hess, whose reasons for leaving Germany during the War (leading to a life sentence as a Prisoner of War) were never made clear, makes up the following cartoon…

Here, Duffy shows the burgeoning Cold War, in post-WWII Europe…

One area where Duffy went beyond simple reporting was with civil rights. Here, he was downright aggressive, and did some brilliant work on the subject.

Here is a stunning anti-lynching piece he did…

I wish I had some more of his civil rights work to show you – it’s great stuff.

After retiring from the Baltimore Sun in 1948, Duffy spent the rest of his cartooning career contributing to the Saturday Evening Post.

Duffy died in 1962.


OUtstanding stuff, Brian, is there any way you can extend this series into November? Perhaps you can dedicate a month to the greatest cartoon strips. I am learning a lot from your reviews.

Thanks, Larry.

I already have next month booked up, but something like what you mention is definitely a possibility in the future.

Jeremy Cresswell

October 16, 2008 at 3:25 am

Your best bet at trying to find his Pulitzer cartoons is the Duffy Collection at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. His family donated a huge collection. Here is a link to the collection catalogue. Unfortunately none of it is digitized.


P.S. I totally agree with Larry, this is an outstanding series.

[…] Stars of Political Cartooning – Edmund Duffy from Comics Should Be Good! […]

Thanks, Jeremy, and yeah, I know a few different places to get hard copies of the Duffy pictures, it’s a matter of me actually scanning them in and all that – so I was hoping perhaps someone had already done it somewhere! :)

Can’t fault a guy for hoping! :)

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