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Cartoons & Caricatures: Finding Images at the Library of Congress

Searching & Viewing

This section describes how online records, including many with digitized images, can be viewed through the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) and how the drawings and prints can be viewed in person in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room.

Searching for Cartoons and Caricatures

Online Searching

Many cartoons and caricatures can be both searched and viewed in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC). In many cases, a description can be found, even if the material has not been digitized. Links in the Selected Collections portion of this guide will take you to collection summaries and search pages where the collection is searchable or, in some cases, to a summary catalog description for the whole of the collection.

Search Tips

You can search by many characteristics of the drawings and prints.

  • Thousands of items (including items from the collections mentioned in the “Selected Collections” pages) can be retrieved using the general index term "Cartoons (Commentary)."
  • To view these records and associated images comprehensively, use the "all collections" (default) search blank and enter: Cartoons (Commentary).
  • This search can be combined with names of artists, or subjects, or other characteristics of the item that might appear in a note: enter, for example: Cartoons (Commentary) and additional search words. Example: Cartoons (Commentary) justice
  • In addition, you can search by type of cartoon or caricature (e.g. political or editorial cartoon, comic strip, comic book, magazine cover, gag or humor, animation. (See the Thesaurus for Graphic Materials for these terms and related terms used in indexing, for example: Cartoons (Commentary) and related terms; Caricature and related terms
  • Artist Names: e.g. James Gillray; George Cruikshank; William Hogarth; Honoré Daumier; Thomas Nast; Joseph Baker; Edwina Dumm; Winsor McCay; R. F. Outcault; George Herriman; Dale Messick; Anne Mergen; Herbert Block; Bill Mauldin; Pat Oliphant; Jules Feiffer; Paul Conrad; Signe Wilkinson; Ann Telnaes; Charles Schulz; Lynn Johnston, etc. An alphabetical "Browse by Names" is also available for the entirety of the catalog and also for each collection; for example, the "Browse by Names" list for the Cartoon Drawings category.
  • Subjects: e.g. Animals; Justice; Poverty; Women; Men; Children; Race; Illness; War; Spanish-American War, 1898; Uncle Sam (Symbolic character); World War, 1914-1918; World War 1939-1945; etc. An alphabetical "Browse by Subjects" list is also available for the entirety of the catalog and also for each collection, although not all items are assigned subject headings, for example, the Browse by Subjects list for the Cartoon Drawings category.
  • When you find a catalog record relevant to your research, it can be useful to select the hyperlinked names of artists or individuals, subject headings (e.g. Dance), or format in that record in order to find related images.
  • You can also use NOT to exclude irrelevant results, e.g., Thomas Nast NOT drawings.

Other Search Aids

Tools available to on-site researchers in the Prints and Photographs Reading Room may help locate cartoons for which no online record yet exists.

  • Graphics File: Non-photographic images, such as prints and drawings, arranged by topic groups, such as “Women's movements” or “Daily life,” includes categories for cartoons.
  • Specific Subject Card Index: Lists images by topic, generally those for which copy photographs were requested.
  • Cartoons: Search Strategy Checklist: A handout listing Reading Room tools and files to check for on-site searches.
  • Finding aids for certain collections are available in the Prints & Photographs Reading Room when noted in the online record.

Looking at Items in the Reading Room

Researchers who are able to visit on site may request to view prints by submitting a call slip in the reading room. We generally request that for prints already digitized at high resolution, researchers first look at the highest resolution file (tiff file) to gain as much visual information as possible, before requesting to view an original, as retrieving and refiling fragile prints puts added wear and tear on them. Please contact us in advance if you want to see more than 15 prints on a single day, if the description includes an "Access Advisory," or if the call number for the material includes the word "unprocessed."

Further Information