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Robert Bastian Cartoons

An inventory of his cartoons at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Bastian, Robert O.
Title: Robert Bastian Cartoons
Inclusive Dates: circa 1960-1968
Bulk Dates: 1964-1968
Quantity: 1.75 linear ft.
Abstract: 284 original political cartoons by the American editorial cartoonist
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Robert O. Bastian (1917-1970) was an American editorial cartoonist.

Robert Owen Bastian was born April 2, 1917 and grew up in Stockton, California. His father was a display designer and the younger Bastian decided in high school he wanted to be an editorial cartoonist.

Bastian received a bachelor's degree in political science from the College of the Pacific in 1940. While a student he contributed to the campus newspaper and yearbook and worked as a photographer to pay for college. He later went on to study at the San Francisco Art Institute.

During World War II, Bastian served in the Marines in the South Pacific, participated in the Battle of Manila in 1945 and achieved the rank of major. Following his service, he returned to San Francisco and worked in advertising illustration and as a newspaper photographer. In 1953 Bastian became an editorial cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle where he stayed until the 1968 San Francisco newspaper strike. Bastian prided himself on creating cartoons depicting local and statewide issues that resonated with area residents. In a 1966 letter, Bastian wrote that he felt the influence of editorial cartoons and the editorial page itself was on the decline.

After leaving the Chronicle Bastian took his skills to television. At San Francisco PBS station KQED, Bastian worked for the show Newsroom where every night he provided commentary and drew a cartoon during the show. During Bastian's time with Newsroom it won a Peabody Award. In 1969 a compilation of his television cartoons were published as The Best of Bastian.

A memorial exhibit of Bastian's work was held in 1971 and a retrospective exhibit was staged at the Landmarks Society Gallery in Tiburon, California, in 1992. Bastian's cartoons have also been exhibited at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.

Robert Bastian committed suicide on September 22, 1970.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Robert Bastian Cartoons consist of 284 original political cartoons. The majority have captions written on the back but none are dated. The cartoons measure approximately 14 1/2" x 18 3/4" and were created on illustration board primarily with ink and graphite as well as zipatone screening.

The cartoons are foldered by caption.

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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


Bastian, Robert O.

Corporate Bodies

San Francisco chronicle.
United States. Congress -- Caricatures and cartoons.


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Editorial cartoons -- California.
Editorial cartoons -- San Francisco, Calif.
Editorial cartoons -- United States.
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Political cartoons.
Reagan, Ronald -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
World politics -- 1945-1989 -- 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:

Robert Bastian Cartoons,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Robert Bastian, 1964, 1967-1968.

One cartoon ("Do not open..."), gift of Richard Butrick, 2011.

One cartoon ("Service -- Business"), gift of Helen Brookman, 2021.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: --
Date: 15 Oct 2008
Revision history: 15 Oct 2008 - EAD file created (MD); 2 Sep 2009 - detailed biography and index added (SK); 3 Feb 2011 - addition M11-001 (MRC); 29 Jan 2021 - addition M21-001 (MRC)

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See below for an index to the cartoons.
Oversize 1, Folder 1 Captions A - A little elephant burger, Hubert Horatio?; Abandon ship!; After all I've done for you?; After all these years!; Ain't a fit night out!; Allah be praised - Israeli jet at 2000 feet!; All right - you be Joan of Arc and I'll be Napoleon.; ...and an extra 10 billion for....; And another $90 million for Vietnam, and.... ; Annual futility rite.; Anti-Castro Revolution.; Anybody got a match?; Anybody need a wideawake dragon?; Aren't these the real weapons?; Aren't you even going to kick the tires?; Arms! Arms, for the love of Allah!; At a time like this?; Austerity?; What d'you think I've been practicing?; Avalanche!
Oversize 1, Folder 2 Captions B - Bah, humbug!; Balance of power.; Because it's there!; Begging your pardon, M'lud, but I can't do it!; Bite? Why, he's man's best friend!; Bitter-tea ceremony.; Block that kick.; Bob in the box.; Booby-trap.; Bookworm.; Boys will be boys.; Brainwash.; [Brezhnev, Kosygin, Mao, Chou].; Business as usual.; But don't gone near the water!; But I thought you liked peanuts!; But it's empty!; But somebody's sure to call you: "Fascist Hun in the West!; " But what do I do for an encore?; But what would you do without me?; But where's the snake?; But Will it Sell
Oversize 1, Folder 3 Captions C - [California campaign control].; [California higher education].; Calling the faithful.; Can I afford to win?; Can't talk? This historic moment must be recorded!; Can't we play something besides leapfrog?; Can't you see I'm busy?; Casting his ballot.; Casting his bullet.; Channel swimmer.; Chapeau.; Chivalry lives.; Clearance sale.; Closed door policy.; Come into my, uh.; Come on - one more!; Coming home to roost.; The contender.; The cook-out.; Cook-out.; Couldn't take the jump.
Oversize 1, Folder 4 Captions D-E - Damn the torpedo...; DeGaulle.; Desert song.; Did I hear you say, "More boom for a buck, Miss?"; Do I hear any "nayes"?; Do not open till 12:10 am Jan. 2 1967; Dr. Rusk and Mr. Hawk.; Double eagle.; Dragon by the tail.; End of the trail?; Everything's automated by wage hikes, so how about them, too?
Oversize 1, Folder 5 Captions F-G - Family portrait.; Fastest tax in the west.; First - a few questions.; [Ford, Chrysler, General Motors].; Foreign aid bill.; Forgot to pull the ripcord, I guess!; Forwa-a-a-ard!; Forward?; Forward, men! Men?; Frankly, I can't imagine what I saw in her.; Funny thing, but I feel as though somebody was holding my hand.; Funny, you don't look Bolivian!; Get moving.; Give it another turn - I love to hear the screams!; Go right ahead - we're busy!; Good grief!; Great Wall.; Gulliver's travails.
Oversize 1, Folder 6 Captions H - Harold...?; Heard any good cues lately?; Hello, Lyndon???; Helping hands.; Here we go again.; Hey! Aren't you supposed to take a map or something?; Hey, fella - remember the "War to end War"?; Hey - maybe there's a point to this thing after all!; Hi Pat! Oh - Hi, Ronnie!; His master's voice.; Hi Yo Silver!; Honest - It's only pointing at China!; Honorable ancestor drop dead!; How about that?; How can I turn you into Prince Charming if you won't cooperate?; How, um, decadent!; Humpty-Dumpty.
Oversize 1, Folder 7 Captions I - Im - I call it operation octopus.; I can lick every man in the house!; I promise I'll give it back!; I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it!; I see it, but I don't believe it!; I think he knows something!; I think I did something wrong, but....; I want to give you something....; I was just trying to pass the torch....; I wonder....; I wonder if anyone's getting our message?; If anything interesting happens, I may let you know.; I'm all for turning 'em off, but this is going too far!; I'm such a master of disguise I forgot who I was!; Immovable object? Irresistable force?; Impasse.; Import cutbacks.
Oversize 1, Folder 8 Captions In - Iv - In a crate like that?; Influx.; Inquisition.; Is nothing sacred? Is one big one worth two little ones? Is there a way out? Is this in the script?; Isn't there an easier way?; It can't be a mirage - it's got to be real!; It helps, I think.; It leaks a little.; It wasn't paper after all!; It's getting a little close in here!; It's the rage.; I've been disinvited!
Oversize 2, Folder 1 Captions K - L - Kickoff.; Kids will be kids, I guess!; Knocked out of the box.; Ky-yi!; Le roi, s'amuse (Gov. Brown).; Leaks, leaks.; Left at the post.; Let me tell you about my operation!; Let 100 mushrooms bloom.; Let's not spoil the view - of the billboards!; Like this, comrade - remember?; Listen, you little rascal....; Look - he's learning to uh, walk!; Look! See the enormous mosquito!; Look - we've been walking in circles!
Oversize 2, Folder 2 Captions M - Magna Carta.; The Master.; Maybe in a few years you can touch it without the crutches!; The mighty hunters.; Mirage or oasis?; Missed again!; Moment of truth.; Moment of truth?; Monsieur butterfly.; The morning after.; Moth and flame.; Move over!; My, how I've grown!
Oversize 2, Folder 3 Captions N - Never mind how it happened....; New Yorker, The (Bobby Kennedy for Senator, 1964); Next!; Next!; No reasonable offer rejected.; No tickee?; North Vietnam incidents!; Not again!; Now if I can just get this axe loose....; now we believe you, Governor!; Now you decide you hate kids!
Oversize 2, Folder 4 Captions O - O, wad some power the giftie gie us/to see oursel's as others see us.; Odd! I could swear I heard someone snoring!; O.K.! Now can (he?) learn to sit up and beg?; Of course I love dogs, but....; Of course, I'm not a declared surfer....; Oh, er, just tidying'up, Senator!; Oh, not you!; Oh, yeah? Yeah!; Olympic hangers-on.; One kiss and she turns into a fairy princess.; Ouch!; Over-population.
Oversize 2, Folder 5 Captions P - A paper dolly you can call your own Paper dragon.; Part-time gentleman.; Pfffft!; Pilot film.; Please, Mother....; Pow!; Prince Faisal, King Saud.; Prognosis: Poor.; Propositions, propositions!; Prosperity is just around the corner!; Pssssst!
Oversize 2, Folder 6 Captions R - Ready or not....; Ready...set....; Remember me?; Remember the good old days?; The reprieve.; The results will amaze you!; Resurrection.; Rocky, Ike, Dick, Romney, Scranton.; Rough road.
Oversize 2, Folder 7 Captions Sa - So - Sam, they made the pants too long.; Say "Uncle"!; The seer.; See-saw.; Service -- Business; Shaui?; The shot unheard round the world.; Sic'em!; Smoke? What smoke?; So near - so far.; Somebody's watching!; Something to remember me by.; Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it!; Sorry about that!; Sort of....; The South-American way.
Oversize 2, Folder 8 Captions Sp - Su - Speaking of sacred cows....; Special delivery!; Spooks.; Stalking horse.; Start chopping!; Step a little closer....; Strange bedfellows.; Strike three - you're in!; Sure makes a fellow sleepy.; Surprise!
Oversize 2, Folder 9 Captions T - U - Testing his strength.; That way.; There it is again!; They haven't gone away!; They love him...They love him not....; This "Eye of news" business just isn't selling the product, me.; This is so sudden, fellows.; This time let me save you before you jump!; This time let's go around it!; Time is running out - thank God!; Togetherness.; A tough one.; Trapped.; The trend is up.; Try - try again!; Uh - welcome?; Uncle Sam wants you to be happy.; United States Presidential Politics; Up, up, and away.
Oversize 3, Folder 1 Captions V - W - Voskhod.; Wait for me!; Wait up!; Washington Merry-Go-Round.; We can lick any man in the house!; We can't make him stop - we're not speaking!; Well put!; What's going on down there?; When they yelled "Imperialist - Warmonger", how did I know they meant me?; Where did I get lost?; Where do we go from here?; Where have I failed - it's getting as bad as Frisco!; Whirlwind.; Who, me?; Who says, "Bring 'em back alive"?; Who was that lady I seen you with last night?; Who's in charge here?; Will they ever hatch?
Oversize 3, Folder 2 Captions X - Y - X marks the spot.; Yeah - more!; You are suffering from piastre deficiency, frank deprivation, insufficient ruble intake....; You can't have us both!; You know - it's getting almost too interesting around here!; You sure, Doctor?; You sure it can tell them from us?; You tell those Republicans they can't have it back!; You who?; You'd send me up in an old crate like that - Sir?

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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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