Using the Collection

The materials, stewarded by UCLA Library Special Collections, will be available to students, researchers and instructors in 2024.

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About the Collection

The Michael and Susan Kahn Political Cartoon Collection includes over 11,000 drawings, prints, bound and unbound periodicals, books, pamphlets and ephemera featuring political cartoon artwork and covering a variety of subjects offering humorous social commentary and criticism on topics of the day. The collection includes work created from about 1690 through 2022 in the United States and 58 other countries in approximately 30 languages. While the collection's focus is primarily political, there is also a great deal of satirical matter included in the materials depicting business and industry figures, artists, performers, writers, publishers and others, from well-known celebrity figures to stereotypes of people on all different levels of society.

Featured Collection Items

Collection Strengths

One particular collection strength is the large number of caricatures of American presidential candidates and the elections of 1828-2020 (with the bulk of items documenting aspects of the elections between 1840 and 1908). These images are found throughout the collection illustrated in prints and on ephemera, in large colorful journal covers and small black and white drawings buried deep inside the pages.

Another collection strength is the roughly 200 unique American newspapers and magazine titles, including political cartoons. Some periodical issues in the collection are unbound (as full issues and as separated single-page magazine covers, center spreads, double-page spread illustrations and fragments of single-page illustrations), and some periodicals are bound with multiple issues as volumes. Includes early American political cartoon journal titles: The Tickler (1811-1812), Scraps (circa 1837-1849), Yankee Doodle (1846-1847), Judy (1846-1847), The Carpet-Bag (1851), The Lantern (1852-1853), Yankee Notions (1852-1864), Mrs. Grundy (1865), The Owl (1889), The Light (1889-1891) and West Shore (1890-1891). Contains extensive or entire runs of numerous 19th-century American periodicals including Harper’s Weekly (1857-1888), the Civil War era Vanity Fair (1860-1863), Puck (1876-1918), The San Francisco Wasp (1877-1893), Judge (1881-1910), LIFE (1883-1936), Saturday Globe (1898-1907) and Cartoons magazine (1912-1921).

Early internationally published periodical and newspaper volumes included in the collection include the early British journals The Anti-Jacobian Review and Magazine, or Monthly Political and Literary Censor (1798-1799) and The Looking Glass or Caricature Annual (1830-1831), Figaro in London (1831-1836), The Farthing Journal (1841); the Scottish journal Glasgow Looking Glass / Northern Looking Glass (1825-1826); the French journal La Caricature (1830-1831); and The Delhi Sketchbook (1855) published in India. Collection contains extensive runs of several titles including the British journals Punch (circa 1841-1940), Judy (1867-1894), and Vanity Fair (1868-1914) (including the well-known caricatures published between 1869-1876), the German magazine Simplicissimus (1896-1967), plus many take-offs on Punch from around the world including from Australia (Melbourne, Queensland and Sydney), Denmark (Copenhagen) and New Zealand (Auckland and Dunedin).

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