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John Miller Baer Cartoons

An inventory of his cartoons at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Baer, John Miller, 1886-1970.
Title: John Miller Baer Cartoons
Inclusive Dates: 1920-1963
Quantity: 2.6 linear ft.
Abstract: 94 original editorial cartoons primarily from the 1920s to 1940s.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

John Miller Baer (1886-1970) was an American cartoonist and politician.

John Miller Baer was born on March 29, 1886 on a farm in Blackcreek, Wisconsin. After graduating from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1909 with a bachelor of arts degree, Baer moved to Beach, North Dakota. Baer worked as a civil engineer, a farmer and postmaster and began submitting cartoons and articles to newspapers. Baer's political ideology solidified as he began to feel that big business and corruption led to farmers being taken advantage of. Baer drew cartoons for the Non-Partisan Leader and in 1916 resigned as postmaster and moved to Fargo where he was a cartoonist for the Fargo Courier-News.

Baer entered politics as the first person elected to Congress with the endorsement of the National Nonpartisan League. He was elected on the Nonpartisan ticket in 1916 to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican representative for 1st District of North Dakota. But controversy followed Baer to Washington D.C. Baer refuted the New York Times' claim that during his campaign he declared "this is no time to make an issue of Americanism" and the paper accused him of being too closely aligned with socialism. Others in Congress insinuated that he was an unpatriotic, foreign influence. While in office, he continued to use his cartoons to influence others and received criticism from his colleagues in 1920 for drawing for the Plumb Plan League which was thought to be responsible for the railroad strike.

After failing to win another term during the 1920 election, Baer returned to journalism as a cartoonist for the National Railroad Union newspaper, Labor, where he produced cartoons arguing for improved conditions for the American worker and the unemployed.

John Miller Baer died in Washington, D.C. on February 18, 1970.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Miller Baer Cartoons are comprised of 94 original, undated political cartoons primarily from the 1920s to the early 1940s. The populist political sentiment in Baer's cartoons is paramount as he typically depicted the plight of the average American worker or farmer affected by the negative influence of corruption.

The cartoons are signed "John Baer" (some are signed "John Baer for Labor"). For some cartoons there is more than one version and several contain notes and sketches on the back. Materials used include illustration board, ink and pencil. Dimensions vary; the majority measure at least 16" x 20".

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Arrangement of the Collection

Cartoons are foldered alphabetically by caption. Untitled cartoons are at the end of the collection.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has collections of over one hundred cartoonists. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Baer, John Miller, 1886-1970.

Corporate Bodies

United States. Congress -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Associated Titles

Labor (newspaper).


Agriculture -- Caricatures and cartoons.
American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Big business--United States -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Consumers -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Editorial cartoons -- United States.
Farmers -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Labor Movement -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Populism -- United States -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)
Editorial cartoons.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Miller Baer Cartoons,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Art Wood, 1970.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: –
Date: 1970
Revision history: 11 Nov 2008 - converted to EAD (MD); 2 Sep 2009 - detailed index added, bio additions (SK); 17 Sep 2015 - added "New Deal" cartoon (MRC)

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See below for an index to the cartoons.
Oversize 1, Folder 1 Captions A - C - The Acid Test; "And Come Right Back Again"; Better Late Than Never; The Big Boy Behind The Scenes!/There's A Manipulator Behind The Scenes; The Big Doings In Frisco; By Its Enemies Shall You Know It!/Not Cutting Much Of A Figure!/Nor Raising Much Dust; Cause And Effect!; Christmas, 1936 ; Costigan Would Take Him Off Your Back!; Court Of Public Opinion
Oversize 1, Folder 2 Captions D - F - Daugherty Is Getting A Dose Of His Own Medicine!; A Design For Economic Freedom!; "Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?"; A Difficult Start - Some Task; Divide And Conquer!; Embarrassing Moments At The Capital!; "Exams!"; The Farmer Often Neglects To Take His Wife To The Polls - While In The City, Both Men And Women Vote On Election Day; Federal Persecution; Fleas!
Oversize 1, Folder 3 Captions G - H - "Gee, If Those Guys Keep On Scrapping, I May Get A Look-In!"; Getting A "Break" At Last!; Give Him A Helping Hand; Going To Town; A Good Lesson; He Has Not Failed Us Yet, No Time To Quit! ; He's Sure Dead This Time!; His Fondest Dream
Oversize 1, Folder 4 Captions I - If You Put The Idle To Work At Good Wages, There Is No Fear Of That Stuff!; I'll Teach You To Know What You're Talking About!; I'm Scared! Uncle Sam Should Do More For The Rich; It All Depends; It Came Out Undamaged!/It Weathered The Twister! ; It Can't Be Done!; It's Going To Be A Good Scrap!; It's More Difficult Now, Mr. Jones!; It Would Make A Fine Pet - And It Doesn't Eat — Much!
Oversize 1, Folder 5 Captions L - P - Labor Day, 1963; A Lesson In Taxation!; Let Him In Before The Show Is Over!; Letting Him Down!/Failing To Deliver!; Let's Get Down To Business!; The Modern Sinbad!; Not Afraid To Change!; The Old Barber Shop Quartet; On The Spot; The President Has 'Em Guessing!
Oversize 1, Folder 6 Captions R - The Real "Coat-Tail" Rider!; The Real Remedy Is On The Shelf!; Remove Those Blinders!; "Right On Our Doorstep!" – FDR; Robbing The Cradle! A Sad Outlook For Peace!
Oversize 1, Folder 7 Captions S - The Santa Claus We Need/The Best Santa Claus!/The Best Gift Of All!; Saved From The Wringer, Again!; Shingle While The Sun Shines!; A Simple Question; The Slave To Partisanship!; Slavery Returns To The South!; Some Political Process!; Some Suspicious Talking Characters Hanging 'Round!; Spells His Patriotism with a P-A-Y! ; Stars & Stripes; Still Going On!; Still The Big Job!; Still The Burning Question; Straight Dope On Bonus On An Inside Tip From A Senator
Oversize 1, Folder 8 Captions T - V - That Old Boat has Almost Ruined Me; That Snoozy Traffic Cop!; This Is A Cinch!; This Is Good For What Ails You! It Peps You Up And Prevents Wage Cuts!; This Looks Like Another Bad One!; The Three "Forgotten" Men!; Trying To Get Away From His Record (He Can't Run Away From It!); Uncle Sam Knows Who Is Doing The Work!; Vacation's Over For Him!; Vicious Circle
Oversize 1, Folder 9 Captions W - Well Here I Am! What Are You Going To Do About It?; What A Friend!; What's The Matter With That Bird?; When The Mask Is Off?; Who's Your Father?; The Whole Story In A Nutshell; Why Not Be Consistent?; Will It Come Down To This?; Will The Voters Of _____ Stand For This?; "Woodman Spare That Tree!"; A Word Of Friendly Advice!
Oversize 1, Folder 10 Captions Y ; untitled - Ye Gods, That Means Trouble For Me!; Yes, But That's Behind It! ; You're All Fired! I'll Do This Work Myself! ; 4 untitled cartoons
Printed material
Oversize 1 "First New Deal Cartoon" - reprint of page from Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen's Magazine with Baer cartoon and paragraph underneath giving history of the cartoon; signed and inscribed by Baer to Congressman Keogh
Acquisition unknown.

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Index to cartoons

The following is a list of predominant people, places and subjects appearing in the editorial cartoons in this collection. The list is not exhaustive. Some subjects may require you to browse with alternative terms.

B= Box, F= Folder. For example: B1F1= Box 1 Folder 1.

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