Cartoon Expert to Address “Drawing Swords: War in American Political Cartoons”

HOUSTON, TX (Dec. 10, 2008) – The power and impact of political cartoons in times of war and conflict – including those like famed illustrators Arthur Szyk and "Dr. Seuss" – will be the focus of a January lecture at Holocaust Museum Houston featuring the founding curator of the largest cartoon research facility in the world.

Professor Lucy Shelton Caswell of The Ohio State University Cartoon Library and Museum, the largest and most comprehensive academic research facility documenting printed cartoon art, will focus on "Drawing Swords: War in American Political Cartoons" at the free public lecture set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009, in the Museum’s Albert and Ethel Herzstein Theater, 5401 Caroline St., in Houston’s Museum District.

Admission is free, but seating is limited, and advance registration is required. Visit www.hmh.org/register.asp to RSVP online.

The works of illustrators like Szyk and Theodor Seuss Geisel, the creator of the “Dr. Seuss” children’s books, have drawn the Houston community into a study of the use of political cartoons and how cartoons can persuade the public during times of war and conflict. Works from both cartoonists are now on view at the Museum in the exhibits "Dr. Seuss Wants You!" and "A One-Man Army: The Art of Arthur Szyk."

Caswell will examine how wartime editorial cartoons often document a nation’s underlying assumption that the truth of its cause justifies war, which sustains a nation during the entry into war and subsequent fighting. Increasingly during the past half-century in the United States, editorial cartoons also have reflected the doubts and concerns of the opponents of war.

Caswell’s lecture will provide an overview of U.S. editorial cartoons during more than two centuries of wars fought by our country. Caswell will also explore the use of stereotypes and consideration of American wartime editorial as propaganda.

Caswell also teaches courses in the history of newspaper comic strips and the history of American editorial cartoons at Ohio State. Caswell’s appearance is sponsored by The Solomon Spector Foundation, with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.

Geisel is best known for his children’s books but was actually a life-long cartoonist who also drafted more than 400 newspaper and magazine editorial cartoons expressing his concern and opinions in the early years of World War II. The exhibit of his work at the Museum runs through July 5, 2009.

The unexpected and serious side of Geisel’s work provides new insights into an America divided during that time. He focused on the concerns that America needed to address while World War II engulfed the world and demonstrated in simple truth how individuals must become aware, informed and involved in their surroundings to take thoughtful and decisive action.

His work continues to inspire people of all backgrounds and ages to think and care about the fate of humanity.

Szyk was once described by Eleanor Roosevelt as a "one-man army," a man who used his art as a weapon to garner support for the social and political issues in which he believed and who worked ceaselessly to draw the attention of the public to the murder of European Jews in Nazi Germany during World War II.

Szyk, a native of Lodz, Poland, believed his art could make a difference in the world, and, as such, became one of the 20th century’s most important political propagandists.

During World War II, his sketches appeared in such American newspapers as New York’s PM Daily and the New York Post. His work also appeared in Collier’s, Esquire, Fortune and Time magazines. That exhibit is on view through July 26, 2009.

Admission to both exhibits is free. Viewing hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, the Museum teaches the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy.

For more information about the Museum, call 713-942-8000 or visit www.hmh.org.

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