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Tag: Clifford Berryman

No Thanks…

With Thanksgiving just two days away, this cartoon reminded residents of the nation’s capital of one reason not to be thankful in 1921—the high cost of living in the United States. Prices had spiraled upward in the years following World War I as the country converted from war production to a peacetime economy.

No Thanks for the High Cost of Living on Thanksgiving, 11/22/1921. (National Archives Identifier 6011699)

No Thanks for the High Cost of Living on Thanksgiving, 11/22/1921. (National Archives Identifier 6011699)

In this cartoon an elongated turkey holds a price sticker in its beak as John Q. Public grumbles: “There’s one item I won’t have to be thankful for.” The recession, however, was short lived—the U.S. economy quickly rebounded ushering in the prosperous roaring twenties.

This cartoon was drawn by Clifford K. Berryman, who was a prominent Washington, DC, cartoonist in the first half of the 20th century. Berryman used John Q. Public in many of his cartoons to denote a symbolic member of society deemed a “common man” or “man on the street.”

The Center for Legislative Archives has approximately 2,400 of Berryman’s original pen-and-ink drawings. They are all available for viewing in the National Archives Online Public Access catalog.

 … [ Read all ]

Political Cartoonist Clifford Berryman: Fusing Fashion and Politics

Today’s post comes from Marisa Hawley, intern in the National Archives Strategy and Communications office.

As part of the “six weeks of style” celebration to recognize the Foundation for the National Archives’ partnership with DC Fashion Week, we are showcasing fashion-related records from our holdings. This week’s fashion theme is Roaring 20s: Fur, Feathers, and Flappers.

To say that Clifford K. Berryman was an accomplished 20th-century political cartoonist would be somewhat of an understatement. Known as one of DC’s renowned graphic political commentators, he was once told by President Harry Truman, “You are a Washington Institution comparable to the Monument.”

Clifford K. Berryman, undated. (U.S. Senate Collection, Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives)

Clifford K. Berryman, undated. (U.S. Senate Collection, Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives)

In honor of the upcoming DC Fashion Week, we take a closer look at three of Berryman’s cartoons from the U.S. Senate Collection that used fads and fashion of the time to make creative political statements.

Berryman first moved to Washington, DC, at the age of 17 to work at the U.S. Patent Office, using his self-taught talents to draw patent illustrations.

In 1891, he left the Patent Office to become a cartoonist’s understudy for the Washington Post, and within five years, he rose to the top as chief cartoonist. He held this position until 1907, when he became the front-page cartoonist for the Washington Evening Star, where he drew political cartoons … [ Read all ]

Lame ducks? Blame the Constitution.

Congress is back in town this week, and a new crop of Representives is on Capitol Hill. If you follow politics, or live in Washington, DC (and therefore hear about politics every time you turn on the news), you know that the end of 2010 meant ducks. Lame ones.


(ARC 1693335)

This happens when Congress has to reconvene after the November elections. Not every member has been reelected, but they have to return and finish the business at hand. As you can imagine, this does not bring out the best in people who are packing up and looking for new jobs.

How did these lame ducks get hatched? Blame the Constitution.

A member of the House of Representatives serves a two-year term that starts January 3rd in an odd-numbered year (2007, 2009, 2011). 

But regular sessions of Congress begin on January 3rd in even number years (2006, 2008, 2010).

So when a current Congress meets between Election Day in November during an even year (like 2010) and the January start date of the new Congress (2011), there are now members who did not win reelection and will not return for the upcoming odd year (2011). These members create  a “lame duck” Congress.

In the cartoon above, lame and injured ducks (representing Democrats who lost in the 1914 election) hobble to the White House looking for jobs in President Woodrow Wilson’s administration. It was drawn by Clifford [ Read all ]