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“Pointing Their Pens: Herblock and Fellow Cartoonists Confront the Issues” Exhibition Opens March 21


A new exhibition at the Library of Congress will look at how editorial cartoonists, often with divergent viewpoints, interpreted the divisive issues of the 20th century—the U.S. intervention into World War II, McCarthyism, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal and events in the Middle East.

“Pointing Their Pens: Herblock and Fellow Cartoonists Confront the Issues” will open on Saturday, March 21 in the Graphic Arts Galleries on the ground level of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The exhibition is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It will close on March 19, 2016.

The exhibition has been made possible through the generous support of the Herb Block Foundation.

“Pointing Their Pens” will offer viewers an opportunity to experience the work of Herbert L. Block (1909-2001)—commonly known as Herblock—alongside the work of his contemporaries over a period of four decades. Featuring 30 cartoons, the exhibition will allow for comparisons of the ways in which cartoonists react to and interpret current events, develop their own distinct visual vocabularies and convey their diverse political opinions. “Pointing Their Pens” will be divided into six sections—World War II, Red Scare, Cold War, Vietnam War, Nixon and Middle East—with each section including two cartoons by Herblock and three by his contemporaries.

The exhibition is anchored by selections from the Library’s Herbert L. Block Collection of more than 14,000 drawings, donated to the Library by the Herb Block Foundation in 2002. Herblock was a Pulitzer-Prize winning political cartoonist at the Washington Post for more than 55 years. The exhibition also draws heavily on the Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, which comprises more than 17,000 original editorial cartoon drawings by hundreds of men and women, donated to the Library in 2001.

An online version of “Pointing Their Pens” will be available here.

“Pointing Their Pens” is located in one of the three exhibition spaces of the Graphic Arts Galleries. The other spaces are the Swann Gallery and the Herblock Gallery, which continually displays a changing array of 10 Herblock cartoons from 50 years ago.

The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division includes more than 15 million photographs, drawings and prints from the 15th century to the present day. The holdings include the largest-known collection of American political prints, the finest assemblage of British satirical prints outside Great Britain and holdings of original drawings by generations of America’s best cartoonists and illustrators that are unequaled in breadth and depth. The Library acquired these materials through a variety of sources including artists’ gifts, donations by private collectors, selective purchases and copyright registration. For more information, visit

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at

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