Berryman’s cartoons on campaigns and campaigning, from the National Archives exhibit

Clifford Berryman drew some of the best and most famous political cartoons ever, for newspapers in Washington, D.C., over a career of more than 50 years. Berryman drew the cartoon of Teddy Roosevelt and the bear cub TR refused to shoot, that caused the story of TR and the bear to become famous, which led to the creation of the “Teddy bear” stuffed animal we all know today, for one example.

Our National Archives featured an exhibit of Berryman cartoons on running for office. The exhibit is long gone, but the materials from the exhibit live on, on line, waiting for students to study, and teachers to use for presentations, assignments, and tests.

Go check it out. Great resources. There’s a piece that describes some of the symbols and symbolism used in Berryman’s cartoons.

Some of the cartoons seem awfully prescient to today:

Nearing the End of the Primaries, May 3, 1920; cartoon by Clifford Berryman

"Nearing the End of the Primaries," cartoon by Clifford Berryman published May 3, 1920. Caption from the Archives: "Today candidates usually secure their party’s nomination during the primary season, and the nominating convention merely provides the party’s official stamp of approval. In 1920, however, when the primary process was still new, it did not produce a clear winner for the Republican Party. As the Republican convention neared, there was no front-runner for the G.O.P. Presidential nomination. This cartoon shows the frazzled Republican elephant surrounded by conflicting newspaper headlines while the Democratic donkey makes pressing inquiries. Warren G. Harding was eventually chosen as the Republican nominee. U.S. Senate Collection Center for Legislative Archives"

Borrowed with express permission from Mr. Darrell’s Wayback Machine.

3 Responses to Berryman’s cartoons on campaigns and campaigning, from the National Archives exhibit

  1. Porlock Junior says:

    There’s an odd thing about the elephant in that cartoon. He looks just like the crocodiles in the current comic strip Pearls Before Swine, who are always trying to catch and eat their neighbor the zebra. Same facial expression and all. I really think Stephen Pastis, who does that rather crudely drawn strip, has been studying the history of his field.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Ha! Nice someone pays a little bit of attention to history!


    1. I don’t think Americans are ready to vote for Warren G. Harding II — Teapot Dome and all that mess.

    2. James Cox was the better potential president, I think most historians and government watchers agree. 1920 was a mistake by the voters.

    3. “Normalcy” isn’t good enough for us anymore.

    Interesting idea, though, Morgan. Thanks for the memory kick.

    P.S. – I don’t recommend Berryman because he votes right. Berryman went after everyone with equal gusto. I recommend his work because he had such a grand, insightful view of politics in America at the times he drew, and he really was a first rate cartoonist. Go see the cartoons.


  3. Oh, cool. So democrats will hang on to the White House the same way they did in 1920. That’s a relief.


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