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Political Cartoons

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Political commentary through art and satire is nothing new. Take the Rush Dew Holt Political Cartoon Collection at WVU Libraries. Holt, the youngest person ever popularly elected to the U.S. Senate, at age 29, collected hundreds of political cartoons during his career in elected office.Find the digital cartoon collection at holt.lib.wvu.edu.

Rush D. Holt political cartoon collection.
John Cuthbert

JOHN CUTHBERT
Director and Curator, West Virginia and Regional History Center, WVU Libraries

HIS PICKS:
Sen. Holt and WVU (left)
WWII (top right)
New Deal expiration (bottom right)

This cartoon is a favorite of mine due to Sen. Holt’s connection with WVU. According to a caption at the lower right, he entered WVU at the tender age of 14. While I assumed that he likely enrolled in the Preparatory School, the catalogue lists him as a bonafide member of the freshmen class in 1920, making him one of the youngest Mountaineers ever. He remained for two years before transferring to Salem College, which he graduated from in 1924 at the age of 18.

Sen. Holt opposed America’s entry into World War II that placed young lives in harm’s way. This cartoon has a poignant message about the glamorization of military service — a soldier in the throes of dying is rewarded by the grim reaper as if a medal somehow makes his death worthwhile.

This cartoon lampoons the suggestion that rather
than let the New Deal expire with the end of
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s second term, millions of New Deal beneficiaries hoped to prolong their benefits by electing FDR to an unprecedented third term, or even longer! All presidents followed George Washington’s two-term lead until Roosevelt, who was several months into a fourth term when he died in office in 1945. Congress made the two-term limit mandatory in 1947.

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