Herbert Block

Easton Press Herbert Block books

Herblock: A Cartoonist's Life - signed first edition - 1993


Cartoonist Herbert Block

Herbert Lawrence Block, known as Herblock, was born on October 13, 1909, in Chicago, Illinois, and became one of the most influential and revered political cartoonists in American history. His career spanned over seven decades, during which he used his art to satirize and comment on the political landscape, earning him a Pulitzer Prize and leaving a lasting impact on editorial cartooning. Herblock's artistic talents became evident early in life, and he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before joining the Chicago Daily News as a cartoonist in 1929. In 1933, he moved to the Newspaper Enterprise Association, where his cartoons gained national attention. In 1946, Herblock joined The Washington Post, where he would spend the majority of his career. His cartoons, characterized by their sharp wit and incisive commentary, made him a prominent figure in the world of political journalism. His work addressed a wide range of issues, from the civil rights movement to the Watergate scandal, earning him a reputation as a keen observer and critic of American politics.

Herblock's cartoons were particularly notable for their ability to distill complex political issues into simple yet powerful images. He coined the term "McCarthyism" in a 1950 cartoon, criticizing Senator Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist crusade, and his depiction of Richard Nixon became iconic during the Watergate era. Throughout his career, Herblock received numerous accolades for his contributions to journalism and cartooning. He was awarded four Pulitzer Prizes, the first in 1942 for his cartoon The Price of Security, which commented on the limitations of wartime censorship.

Beyond his artistic endeavors, Herblock was an advocate for freedom of the press and the importance of political cartooning in a democratic society. He continued to produce cartoons until shortly before his death in 2001. Herbert Block's legacy endures not only in the longevity and impact of his cartoons but also in the Herblock Prize for Editorial Cartooning, established in his honor. The prize recognizes cartoonists who demonstrate excellence in their craft and carry forward Herblock's commitment to social justice and holding power accountable through art. Herblock's ability to use humor and insight to illuminate the complexities of American politics left an indelible mark on the field of editorial cartooning.


Herblock - A Cartoonist's Life

A Cartoonist's Life tells of the remarkable career that has spanned the era from Roosevelt to Clinton. Herb Block opposed isolationism before World War II; warned of nuclear hazards in the '40s; opposed McCarthyism in the '50s and racism in the '50s and '60s; and zeroed in on Watergate in the '70s and Iran-contra and other Reagan-Bush scandals in the '80s.
He coined the word "McCarthyism" and describes that time of fear. He also writes engagingly about personal incidents and meetings with public figures.
Herbert Block has been using the pen name "Herblock" since the age of thirteen, when he started contributing quips and comments to a humor column in the Chicago Tribune and apprenticed himself to the columnist. He dropped out of college to take his first cartooning job with the Chicago Daily News at age 19.
In 1946, after a wartime stint in the Army, he moved to The Washington Post - then a comparatively small paper.
He is the only cartoonist to win the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for contributions to the cause of freedom of speech and the press, the National Press Club Fourth Estate Award and the Franklin Roosevelt Freedom Medal. He is also the only living cartoonist whose work is in the National Gallery of Art.

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