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Lou Erickson Papers

An inventory of his Collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Erickson, Lou B. (Louis Bernard), 1913-1990.
Title: Lou Erickson Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1932-1967
Bulk Dates: 1956-1967
Quantity: 2.3 linear ft.
Abstract: Original editorial cartoons, drawings, correspondence, published material, photos and personal calendars.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Louis Bernard Erickson (1913-1990), or Lou Erickson, was an American editorial cartoonist and illustrator.

Louis Bernard Erickson was born on December 27, 1913 in Marcus, Washington. While in school, Erickson drew illustrations and cartoons for his teachers about the subjects he had to study. From 1934 to 1935 he took classes at Wentworth College in Spokane before joining the Civilian Conservation Corps to fight forest fires. During his time with the CCC he edited and illustrated a CCC newspaper called the Microphone.

Erickson enlisted in the Army Air Corps and achieved the rank of staff sergeant during his service in WWII. During the war he drew the Separate Rations comic strip for Army Times. Erickson worked in public relations in Dallas, Texas following the war.

On July 17, 1950, Erickson jointed the Atlanta Journal as an artist in the advertising department. In December 1952, he transferred to the art staff of the news department and became the editorial page cartoonist on October 16, 1961. He also wrote columns and the occasional editorial piece and illustrated various parts of the newspaper including feature stories and the travel section. He also created the Sunday Funtime page.

Erickson was a prolific cartoonist whose work appeared in a variety of forms and depicted subjects beyond politics. In addition to his regular assignments for the Atlanta Journal he also drew freelance cartoons. Erickson collaborated with the Atlanta Traffic and Safety Council and produced materials used to educate the public about safe driving. Erickson illustrated several books and published a book of editorial cartoons in 1968, This is Maddox Country. He also wrote a humor book, It Takes One to Know One about Democrats and Republicans which was published in 1976. Textbook publishers used Erickson's cartoons to illustrate works on history, economics and political science.

Many awards were presented to Erickson. Erickson was named "Man of the Year" for 1960 by the Georgia State Chamber of Commerce and received the Sigma Delta Chi Award for a series of cartoons in 1964. The Georgia Educational Association presented him with the School Bell Award for the contributions his editorial cartoons made to education. The Freedom Foundation George Washington Award was given to him in 1967 and his cartoons won him an award at the International Salon of Cartoons at Expo 67 in Montreal.

Erickson retired from the Atlanta Journal on December 31, 1982. Following a stroke and several weeks in a coma, Lou Erickson died of a heart attack April 15, 1990 at Northside Hospital in Atlanta.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Lou Erickson Papers are divided into 5 series: Cartoons , Biographical Material, Correspondence, Published Material, and Miscellaneous Drawings.

The Cartoons series contains approximately 131 original, undated editorial cartoons composed for the Atlanta Journal during the 1960s. Of particular interest are his cartoons depicting Georgia politics. Most have captions. The cartoons vary in size and were drawn primarily with brush, ink and graphite. Dimensions vary. Erickson signed his cartoons as "Eric".

Two personal calendars kept by Erickson can be found in the Biographical Material series. Erickson recorded details about his work day, monetary transactions as well as personal thoughts. Also in this series are over thirty photographs dating from 1932-1966. The earliest are high school class photos. Also included are photographs of Erickson during his service in WWII and at work. Five are in color, the majority are undated.

The collection also includes typed business Correspondence (1956-1966) sent to Erickson. Of particular note is a signed letter from Barry Goldwater. A variety of examples of Erickson's work as a cartoonist and a writer as early as the 1930s and 1940s can be found in the Printed Material series. Finally a few ink drawings and photocopies of drawings appear in the Miscellaneous Drawings series.

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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

Two published books have been removed from this collection and sent to Rare Books. They are: Atlanta Street Scenes: Best of 10,000 by Hugh Park with illustrations by Lou Erickson (1954) and No Laughing Matter: The Cartoonist Focuses on Air Pollution published by the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in 1966 featuring 60 cartoons about pollution by dozens of cartoonists, including two by Lou Erickson.

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


Erickson, Lou B. (Louis Bernard), 1913-1990.

Corporate Bodies

Atlanta journal-constitution.
United States. Congress -- Caricatures and cartoons.


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Editorial cartoons -- United States.
Editorial cartoons -- Georgia.
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Maddox, Lester, 1915-2003 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Political cartoons.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
World politics -- 1945-1989 -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Genres and Forms

Appointment books.
Cartoons (humorous images)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Drawings (visual works)
Editorial cartoons.
Newspaper columns.
Promotional materials.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Lou Erickson Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Lou Erickson, 1967.

"Margie" cartoon, gift of Linda Smith Bonorden, 2020.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: EF
Date: 7 June 1968
Revision history: 3 Dec 2008 - converted to EAD (MD); 28 Aug 2009 - detailed bio, inventory and index added (SK); 21 Jul 2021 - add "Margie" cartoon (RMH)

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See below for an index to the cartoons.
Box 1 "Margie" 1950
Gift of Linda Smith Bonorden, 2020
Oversize 1, Folder 1 Cartoons without captions
Oversize 1, Folder 2 Captions A-B
Oversize 1, Folder 3 Captions C-D
Oversize 1, Folder 4 Captions E-F
Oversize 1, Folder 5 Captions G-H
Oversize 1, Folder 6 Captions I
Oversize 1, Folder 7 Captions J-M
Oversize 1, Folder 8 Captions N-O
Oversize 1, Folder 9 Captions P-S
Oversize 1, Folder 10 Captions T-V
Oversize 1, Folder 11 Captions W-Y
Biographical material
Box 1 Calendar 1959
Box 1 Calendar 1961
Box 1 Photographs 1932-1933, circa 1942-1945, 1956-1957, 1966, undated
Box 1 Commencement program (1966), portrait (1953), stationery (undated)
Box 1 List of correspondence received 1 Mar 1967
list composed by Lou Erickson upon his donation of materials to Syracuse University.
Box 1 Incoming correspondence 1954, 1956, 1962, 1964, undated
Box 1 Incoming correspondence 1965-1966
Printed material
Box 1 Newspaper columns written by Erickson 1963, 1965-1967, undated
Box 1 Newspaper editorials written by Erickson 1965-1966, undated - most are between 50 and 200 words
Box 1 Daily editorial cartoon collections 1962, 1964-1965 - 12 page booklets of Erickson's cartoons published by the Atlanta Journal
Box 1 The Microphone 7 Aug 1935 - publication from Fort George Wright, Washington, issue #3, edited and illustrated by Erickson during his service in the Civilian Conservation Corps
Box 1 Yale Political May 1963 - contains several cartoons by Erickson
Box 1 Miscellaneous- National Newspaper Week promotion, How to Fold a Pressman's Hat, Convenience Store Journal article reprint, Youth magazine (11 Oct 1964), Westinghouse announcement (circa 1959)
Oversize 2 Promotional material for the Atlantic Traffic and Safety Council Dec 1966, undated - traffic code booklet, game, handouts, sticker, poster and other illustrations
Oversize 2 Newspaper clippings 1961, 1963, 1965-1966 - drawings that appeared in the Atlanta Journal and Atlanta Journal Constitution magazine to illustrate feature stories, the fun page and travel section
Oversize 2 WWII era cartoon clippings 1944, undated - clippings bearing the signature "Sgt. Erickson"
Miscellaneous drawings
Oversize 2 Photocopy of "Draw Your Own Conclusions", 2 ink drawings, photocopy of unnamed illustration series undated
Oversize 2 Georgia Press Association Free Enterprise Promotion Cartoons 1966
Map-Case 1, Drawer 100 Engraver's proof for The Green Berets serialization in the Atlanta Journal 1966
Map-Case 1, Drawer 100 Untitled ink drawing undated

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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 appear under and alternative term.

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

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