For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

Free Library to Launch “Drawn into Politics” Exhibition on the History of Political Cartooning

With elections just around the corner, exhibition explores volatile issues in the nation’s past

PHILADELPHIA, PA, August 20 -- With the 2012 election season in full swing, the Free Library is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition chronicling a unique part of U.S. political history. “Drawn into Politics” is an exhibition featuring 40 rare political cartoons from the founding of the nation through present day. The majority of these pieces were culled from some 2,500 original, hand-drawn cartoons belonging to the Free Library’s Print and Picture Collection. “Drawn into Politics” will be on display in the first floor West Gallery of Parkway Central Library from September 10 through November 11, 2012, and some 60 additional images will be available through an online extension of the exhibition at

Aurora Deshauteurs, head of the Print and Pictures Collection, noted that even though many of the cartoons—which ran in local and national newspapers and magazines—were published decades ago, they hold significance today. “These cartoons are relevant because in terms of culture, economics, world affairs, and politics, we often repeat ourselves, so these really remain consistently fresh,” she notes. “These cartoons give us the sense that ‘this too shall pass.’ They illustrate how we have overcome wars, debt crises, and other tragedies and have managed to move forward as a society and as a country.”

In addition to the cartoons owned by the Free Library, which run through the World War II era, Pulitzer Prize-winning Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News cartoonist Signe Wilkinson contributed some of her more recent works to the exhibition, bringing it into the present day. Wilkinson will also be on hand for a special conversation about the history and importance of political cartooning on October 29, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. in Parkway Central’s Montgomery Auditorium.
The Print and Picture Collection of Parkway Central Library houses roughly half-a-million circulating pictures in the largest public picture lending library in the nation. There are also 395,000 prints and thousands of drawings, photographs, postcards, greeting cards, political cartoons, and other ephemera to be seen.

About the Free Library’s Commitment to Digital Literacy

The Free Library of Philadelphia aims to provide literacy, learning, and economic recovery for the City of Philadelphia though its unparalleled access and training in the digital space. The Free Library’s latest exhibition, Drawn into Politics, exemplifies its commitment to the digital space through an innovative online component that features some 60 additional images as well as more detailed background information and historical context as it relates to the cartoons.
With more than 30,000 e-books; 1,000 public access computers;600 author event podcasts; 150 online databases; daily homework and computer literacy classes online; Hot Spot community computer training centers; and the roving Techmobile computer lab, the Free Library’s digital services have never been greater.

About the Free Library of Philadelphia

The Free Library of Philadelphia system consists of 49 branches, three regional libraries, the Parkway Central Library, and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. With more than six million visits annually, the Free Library is one of the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia.



Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850