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Clifford Berryman political drawings collection

Identifier: MS2286

Scope and Contents

This collection contains seven drawings related to politics in America. The cartoons are all dated 1924. All titles have been supplied by staff. There are unidentified men in some of the drawings.


  • 1924


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.


In April 1949, around his eightieth birthday, Clifford K. Berryman received a letter from then-President Harry S. Truman. Though Berryman had been vice president of the Association of Oldest Inhabitants of the District, Truman found Berryman to be truly "ageless and timeless." In an often-quoted passage, Truman went further to write that "Presidents, Senators, and even Supreme Court Justices come and go but the [Washington] Monument and Berryman stand." Only seven months later, the "Dean of American Cartoonists" collapsed in the lobby of the Washington Star, on his way to work. On December 11, 1949 he passed away at home, at 2114 Bancroft Place, NW, of a heart ailment. He was buried in Glenwood Cemetery.

Clifford Kennedy Berryman was born in Kentucky on April 2, 1869, one of James Thomas and Sallie (Church) Berryman's eleven children. James Berryman was a commission merchant, farmer, and/or grain dealer who entertained family members and neighbors with sketches of "hillbillies" in their hometown. Clifford inherited his father's talent, and after he graduated from Prof. Henry's School for Boys in Versailles, KY, he was appointed as a draftsman to the United States Patent Office in Washington, D.C. From 1886 to 1891, Berryman delineated patent entries for $30 per month. He began to submit cartoons to the Washington Post, and in 1891 he became an understudy to the Post's cartoonist, George Y. Coffin (some of whose cartoons are also at Gelman Library). When Coffin died in 1896, Berryman replaced him. Berryman stayed with the Post until 1907, when he was hired by the Washington Star, which had a larger circulation at the time. Clifford Berryman drew political cartoons for the Star for the next 42 years, up until his death.

Commenting on Clifford K. Berryman's work, politicians, artists, and reference books note that Berryman cartoons lack the maliciousness that has been a part of American politics throughout the twentieth century. Himself a Democrat, Berryman satirized political figures from both the Democratic party and the G.O.P.. Though he is best known for the November 16, 1902 Washington Post cartoon "Drawing The Line In Mississippi" which portrayed a "teddy bear" for the first time, Berryman's copious work has earned recognition in many venues. In 1944, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning for "But Where Is The Boat Going?", which showed then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt and various government officials trying to steer, in opposite directions, the "USS Manpower Mobilization". The magazine Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, in its Spring 1998 issue, listed Clifford Berryman (along with Thomas Nast and Pat Oliphant) as some of ten cartoonists who have made an "outstanding contribution to American journalism".

In July 1893, Berryman married Kate Geddes, the daughter of engraver George Washington Durfee. The couple had three children: Mary Belle, who died as an infant; Florence Seville (an art critic), and John Thomas (also a Pulitzer-Prize winning cartoonist). Alongside his work at the drawing board, Berryman was an active member of the Washington Heights Presbyterian Church at 1862 Kalorama Road. He was also the first cartoonist to become a member of the Gridiron Club, and was its president in 1926.


7 item(s) (7 berryman cartoons)

Language of Materials



This collection contains seven drawings related to politics in America. The cartoons are all dated 1924. All titles have been supplied by staff.


Arranged in no particular order.

Physical Location

Materials may be stored off-site, and may require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Evelyn Ludlow Flynn, August 2, 2010 (2010.041)


Guide to the Clifford Berryman political drawings collection, 1924
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America