Stars of Political Cartooning – Daniel Fitzpatrick

by  in Comic News Comment
Stars of Political Cartooning – Daniel Fitzpatrick

Each day this month I will be profiling a notable political cartoonist. Since the choices are vast, I’ve decided to slim the numbers down a bit and eliminate living cartoonists. Perhaps I will do a current political cartoon stars in the future.

Here‘s an archive of the artists mentioned already.

Today we look at a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist who was a major influence upon his successor, Bill Maudlin.


Daniel Robert Fitzpatrick was born in Wisconsin in 1891. He attended the Chicago Art Institute, and after graduation, he worked briefly in Chicago before taking a position in 1913 as a daily cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he would continue to work until 1958 – almost fifty years at one position!

During this time, Fitzpatrick would gain a sterling reputation for a number of things…

1. He was extremely liberal for the times, but he was so easygoing in his delivery that he rarely alienated people.

2. His cartoons were not funny, they were hearfelt examinations of issues that Fitzpatrick felt affected the common man


3. He was an excellent draftsman, influenced greatly by the style of Robert Minor and Rollin Kirby (Kirby, in particular, was a big early influence for Fitzpatrick).

Here are a couple of cartoons by Fitzpatrick on the Stock Market Crash and the ensuing Great Depression of the 1920s/30s…

One Person Out of Every Ten

Fitzpatrick was an early critic of Hitler, and his national prominence as a cartoonist certainly helped in the fights for the hearts and minds of isolationist Americans…

Fitzpatrick won two Pulitzer Prizes for Editorial Cartooning.

The first was in 1926 for this well-drawn, but honestly, not the best idea in the world, depicting an American weighed down by “too many laws.”

The Laws of Moses and the Laws of Today

For serious?

Too many laws? This was a major issue of the day? Really?

Fitzpatrick more than made up for his lackluster first Pulitzer win with his second (wish I could not find a copy to show you – if someone has one, I’d love to be able to post it here), in 1955, just three years before he would retire.

The cartoon depicted Uncle Sam with a machine gun deep in the jungles of Vietnam, with the caption “How Would Another Mistake Help?”

This was in 1955!!


Fitzpatrick was a close compatriot with his fellow national cartoonists, like Herb Block, and he also served as a mentor to younger cartoonists. One such cartoonist was Bill Maudlin, who Fitzpatrick convinced to succeed him as the daily cartoonist for the Post-Dispatch. Maudlin would leave the paper after a few years for Chicago (like so many cartoonist before him), but not before adding another Pulitzer Prize winning cartoon to the Post-Dispatch’s record books.

Daniel R. Fitzpatrick died in 1969.