Editorial cartoons grace the pages (or webpages) of many American daily newspapers and are widely popular with readers. Their subject matter ranges from local to international matters, and the cartoons often provide biting commentary. As the famous cartoonist Herbert Block said, the editorial cartoonist is “the kid who points out that the Emperor is without his clothes.” However, this art is in decline; the Herb Block Foundation has said that, in 1900, there were approximately 2,000 editorial cartoonists employed. Today the number is closer to 25.
South Carolina Political Collections holds original artwork and papers from two editorial artists: Walt Lardner and Kate Salley Palmer. Walt Lardner was a cartoonist for a variety of magazines and The State newspaper from the 1960s to his retirement in 1988. Kate Salley Palmer started cartooning for the Daily Gamecock newspaper while at the University of South Carolina and later became the Greenville News‘ dedicated cartoonist before eventually starting a children’s book publishing business, Warbranch Press.
The work of these two fine South Carolina editorial artists is now on display as part of the exhibit “Graphic” Opinions: South Carolina Political Cartoons, in the South Carolina Political Collections Gallery from August 29th, 2019 to January 20th, 2020.