web stats

CSBG Archive

Stars of Political Cartooning – Daniel Fitzpatrick

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 a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who was a major influence upon his successor, Bill Maudlin.

Enjoy!

Daniel Robert Fitzpatrick was born in Wisconsin in 1891. He attended the Chicago Art Institute, and after graduation, he worked briefly in Chicago before taking a position in 1913 as a daily cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he would continue to work until 1958 – almost fifty years at one position!

During this time, Fitzpatrick would gain a sterling reputation for a number of things…

1. He was extremely liberal for the times, but he was so easygoing in his delivery that he rarely alienated people.

2. His cartoons were not funny, they were hearfelt examinations of issues that Fitzpatrick felt affected the common man

and

3. He was an excellent draftsman, influenced greatly by the style of Robert Minor and Rollin Kirby (Kirby, in particular, was a big early influence for Fitzpatrick).

Here are a couple of cartoons by Fitzpatrick on the Stock Market Crash and the ensuing Great Depression of the 1920s/30s…

One Person Out of Every Ten

Fitzpatrick was an early critic of Hitler, and his national prominence as a cartoonist certainly helped in the fights for the hearts and minds of isolationist Americans…

Fitzpatrick won two Pulitzer Prizes for Editorial Cartooning.

The first was in 1926 for this well-drawn, but honestly, not the best idea in the world, depicting an American weighed down by “too many laws.”

The Laws of Moses and the Laws of Today

For serious?

Too many laws? This was a major issue of the day? Really?

Fitzpatrick more than made up for his lackluster first Pulitzer win with his second (wish I could not find a copy to show you – if someone has one, I’d love to be able to post it here), in 1955, just three years before he would retire.

The cartoon depicted Uncle Sam with a machine gun deep in the jungles of Vietnam, with the caption “How Would Another Mistake Help?”

This was in 1955!!

Amazing.

Fitzpatrick was a close compatriot with his fellow national cartoonists, like Herb Block, and he also served as a mentor to younger cartoonists. One such cartoonist was Bill Maudlin, who Fitzpatrick convinced to succeed him as the daily cartoonist for the Post-Dispatch. Maudlin would leave the paper after a few years for Chicago (like so many cartoonist before him), but not before adding another Pulitzer Prize winning cartoon to the Post-Dispatch’s record books.

Daniel R. Fitzpatrick died in 1969.

7 Comments

Great work. The one of the Swastika rolling over Poland is especially chilling.

Barbara Kelley-O'Neil

January 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm

My father was Dan Fitzpatrick’s physician. I remember having an assignment in 7th grade to draw a political cartoon. Mr. Fitzpatrick and his wife invited me to their apartment and I have clear memories of Dan patiently telling me about political carttoning, shading, content, etc. He was a pretty crabby guy but that day he was warmly generous. We have several of cartoons he did for our family – about our family. One in particular shows his anger towards my father for placing him in a psychiatric facility later in his life…probably for dementia.

My father was Dan Fitzpatrick’s physician. I remember having an assignment in 7th grade to draw a political cartoon. Mr. Fitzpatrick and his wife invited me to their apartment and I have clear memories of Dan patiently telling me about political carttoning, shading, content, etc. He was a pretty crabby guy but that day he was warmly generous. We have several of cartoons he did for our family – about our family. One in particular shows his anger towards my father for placing him in a psychiatric facility later in his life…probably for dementia.

Wow, what an amazing connection to one of the greats. Thanks for sharing, Barbara. I can only imagine how rough that must have been for your dad.

I have a first Printing of “As I saw it” signed by Mr Fitzpatrick and dated 1953
does this book have any collector value to it. would really like to know before
giving it away or selling it at a yard sale.
The signature page say: for C.J. Leeds with best wishes. D.R. Fitzpatrick Christmas, not June 1953
Then it looks like a # or maybe SH not sure, then in bottom right corner of page it has written: This book was autographed first in June – shortly after its publication – Merry Christmas – 1953 – Margaret Allen Ruhl
Thank you for any guidance you can give me.

Absolutely agree with your opinion of the “too many laws” cartoon, which I find almost offensive (if the word offensive wasn’t so usurped out of all recognition nowadays). Aside from the fact that the 10 Commandments (actually there aren’t 10 but whatever) are completely flawed in ways much better described by Christopher Hitchens than by myself, the idea that people should be afforded more freedom in an already very selfish society seems absolutely absurd to me. And when that cartoon was done you were pretty much free to do as you pleased! (As long as you weren’t a woman or black).

“the idea that people should be afforded more freedom in an already very selfish society seems absolutely absurd to me”

‘People have too much freedom!’ That sounds a bit messed up.

And Christopher Hitchens just has an axe to grind.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives