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Unexpected Images: Political Cartoons

A guide to "hidden" image collections in text-based databases and other resources for finding archival images.

Useful Citation Indexes and other Databases

American Memory: Historical Collections for the National Digital Library Provides information on, and access to, the digitized version of the Library's primary-source collections on American history and culture, including photographs, documents, sound recordings, and motion pictures.

Making of America: the Cornell University Library MOA collection Cornell-built, digital library of primary sources in American history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. Although there is no specific image search, the journals digitized are exceptionally rich in images. Construct text searches to find captions for images.

Although MOA is full of illustrations, searching for them is not easy and the database does not offer a consistent method for doing so. Some illustrations are accompanied by text such as a caption or the name of an artist and a search for such text should yield good results.

A couple of suggestions for finding illustrations: try searching by words that may appear in the body of the article that includes the illustration of interest. Try using a source such as a periodical index or the footnotes and bibliography of other sources to identify the specific issue which includes the illustration of interest.

HarpWeek: the Civil War era (1857-1865). Greenwich Conn. : HarpWeek, 1997. 12 computer discs. Images from Harper’s Weekly, 1857-1865, with index. Olin Library Reference (Non-Circulating) Disk E461 .H29 1997 (12 discs), shelved near the first floor printer room behind the reference desk in Olin Library. Use the ETC computer to access.

HarpWeek is available online (1857-1912; contains browsable full text of Harper's Weekly, but not necessarily all images). Entire original Harper's Weekly available in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in Kroch Library. Call 255-3530 to request in advance with specific volume and issue number. Harper's Monthly available via the Making of America collection, above.

Cartoons

www.cartoonbank.com

A searchable index of The New Yorker cartoons.

Proquest Research Library 

In the Advanced search tab: at the bottom of the page is a link to More Search Options.  Select document type: editorial cartoon, then enter search terms. 

ProQuest Historical Newspapers

In the Advanced search tab: at the bottom of the page is a link to More Search Options. Select editorial cartoon.

Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
Web site allows you to search for keywords and artists by year (click on the browse/search cartoons link on the left side).

New York Times Photos & Graphics includes Editorial art from the New York Times Syndicate Cartoon Arts International

Political Americana

Don't neglect one of Cornell's most interesting political collections:

The Cornell University Collection of Political Americana

Also on Flickr

Includes 2,278 images of ballots, bric-a-brac, broadsides, buttons, cartoons, maps and charts, pamphlets, parade items, posters, prints, ribbons, sheet music, songbooks, textiles, trinkets, and garments that document American presidential campaigns since George Washington's.

A number of items are featured in an online exhibition: Get Out the Vote! Campaigning for the U. S. Presidency.

Original material is housed in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in the Carl A. Kroch Library.

Politics on TV

The Living Room Candidate - American presidential campaign commercials from 1952-2004, search by year, political issue, presidential candidate, and more. View commercials via streaming media (available through Real Player or Windows Media)

Also be sure to check YouTube for film footage of political events and historical campaign advertising.