Editorial cartoons won Kansan a Pulitzer Prize

11/30/2009 12:00 AM

11/30/2009 6:11 AM

This is one in a series of vignettes celebrating Kansas history. The series’ name comes from the state motto, Ad astra per aspera: “To the stars through difficulties.”

C.D. Batchelor’s most famous cartoon came in 1937 when the world was at war.

He drew a skull-faced prostitute holding a smoking cigarette labeled “War” and standing next to her, a fresh-faced boy labeled “Any European Youth.”

The caption beneath the cartoon said, “Come on in, I’ll treat you right! I used to know your Daddy.”

It won the Kansan the Pulitzer Prize that year and was typical of the types of political cartoons Batchelor drew.

For nearly five decades, Batchelor’s illustrations, paintings and sculptures played an important role in American culture as he championed women’s rights, public health and safety and the role America should play in world government.

Batchelor was born April 1, 1888, in Osage City.

He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, finding his niche in political statements and drawings.

His distinctive style often had captions written on scrolls underneath the cartoons.

In one cartoon, he depicts Communist infiltration in government as a cobra curled around the White House.

At age 23, Batchelor started a career in journalism working as the staff artist at the Kansas City Star.

During World War I, Batchelor worked as a freelance artist.

Then, in the 1920s, he moved from the Midwest to New York, where he was hired as a cartoonist for the New York Post.

In 1931, he was hired by the New York Daily News and worked there until retiring in 1969.

From time to time, he contributed cartoons in the “Women’s Journal” and the “Woman Voter,” “The New York Journal” and “The New York Mail.”

Batchelor died Sept. 5, 1977, in Deep River, Conn.

Universities throughout the country house Batchelor cartoons in their special collections, including Syracuse University in New York, which has more than 6,000, and Wichita State University, which has about 50.

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