June 2009

President Eisenhower, Honorary NCS Member


In June 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was made an honorary member of the National Cartoonists Society. The occasion was celebrated at a formal breakfast in Washington, attended by Ike and many NCS members.

Ike invited the attending newspaper and magazine cartoonists to make free use of him as a subject for a portrait, caricature, gag cartoon or illustration. This being an NCS event, there was plenty of drawing paper, pencils and pens on hand. At the conclusion of the breakfast, Ike asked to see the drawings. He smiled broadly as one after another was held up, laughed outright at some of the gags, and then expressed the desire to keep them. In fulfillment of that request,, the NCS collected the originals of 95 drawings made on that morning, put them in a specially-designed leather binding and sent it to the White House.

This is a picture of that presentation volume.

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Two years later, a hardcover book was published by Frederick Fell, Inc., which reproduced the 95 drawings. The book was approved by President Eisenhower, since its stated purpose was to help promote the sale of U.S. Savings Bonds.

This is the cover of that book.

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The book includes drawings by icons of the cartooning and comic strip business, including (just to name a few) Rube Goldberg, Walt Kelly, Chic Young, Milton Caniff, Bud Fisher, Bill Mauldin, Bob Kane, Ham Fisher, Bill Holman and George McManus.

But this is a site that's devoted to gag cartooning, so I'm going to be selective and only show you some of the famous gag cartoonists that participated in the project.

And here they are.

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Bill Yates.

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Dick Cavalli.

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Otto Soglow.

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Al Ross (one of the four cartooning Roth brothers). For more info, click here.

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Salo (another of the Roth brothers).

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Irving Roir (another of the Roth brothers).

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Bo Brown.

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Henry Boltinoff. For a little more info, click here.

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Gregory d'Alessio.

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Kate Osann.

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Jeff Keate.

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George Wolfe. For a little more info, click here.

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Larry Reynolds.

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Dick Ericson.