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Cecil Jensen Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Jensen, Cecil, 1902-1976
Title: Cecil Jensen Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1865-1971
Bulk Dates: 1940-1971
Quantity: 11 linear ft.
Abstract: Over 1200 original editorial cartoons drawn for the Chicago Daily News, correspondence, clippings of editorial cartoons and printed material including an item produced by the Sam Adams Committee of Public Safety
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Cecil Jensen (1902-1976) was an American editorial cartoonist.

Jensen was born in Ogden, Utah on January 17, 1902. After high school, Jensen studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Jensen moved to California and worked his way into editorial cartooning at the Los Angeles Illustrated Daily News. In 1928, Jensen returned to Chicago as editorial cartoonist for the Chicago Daily News where he spent the remainder of his career. Sigma Delta Chi recognized Jensen's work with an award in 1953.

Jensen also drew comic strips. During World War II, he caricatured Chicago Tribune publisher Colonel McCormick in Colonel McCosmic. Beginning in 1946 Jensen drew Elmo and Debbie (later transformed by the Register and Tribune Syndicate into Debbie or Little Debbie as it was commonly known).

Cecil Jensen died in May 1976.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Cecil Jensen Papers are divided into three series.

Cartoons contains more than 1,200 original editorial cartoons drawn by Jensen for the Chicago Daily News. The cartoons are undated and arranged alphabetically by caption. (Cartoons do have months and days of the week listed, but lack years). Based on subject matter, the majority were likely drawn in the 1960s with some from the 1940s and the 1970s. Subject matter includes national and international politics as well as local issues related to the Chicago area.

Individual cartoons measure approximately 14 ½" x 16 ½" with some variations of about 1". Jensen worked in ink and crayon on illustration board; traces of pencil are visible. Captions and limited date information appear in pencil.

Correspondence (1961-1967) is comprised of incoming correspondence. Letters include requests and thank you notes for original cartoons as well as reprint permissions and feedback from readers. Included are letters from elected officials including Robert F. Kennedy (2 letters), Donald Rumsfeld and Charles Percy. Worth noting is the folder from Illinois State Senator Hudson R. Sours which contains several nineteenth century documents: a promissary note; 1865 document for property in Eureka, Illinois; and a 1869 mortgage for property in New York City near 3rd Avenue and 56th Street. Also of interest are enclosures related to the right to work law (14B of the Taft-Hartley Act).

Other letters were written by fellow cartoonists including Newton Pratt, Art Wood, Arthur Poinier, Bill Saunders, Eldon Pletcher and Mrs. Carey Orr Cook. Correspondence from Poinier includes the results of a survey conducted by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists of journalism schools and curriculum related to editorial cartooning.

The Printed Material (1938-1967) series includes clippings and miscellaneous material. The bulk of this series is clippings of Jensen's editorial cartoons with information about the date of publication. Also located in the series are clippings of work by other editorial cartoonists, namely John Fischetti, Dan Dowling and Arthur Poinier. Finally, of particular interest is a publication from the Sam Adams Committee of Public Safety. The booklet contains editorial cartoons (including work by Jensen) that have been altered to express white supremacist messages.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Original artwork is arranged in alphabetical order by caption. Correspondence is arranged in alphabetical order by sender's last name. Clippings are arranged by year.

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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

The Cartoonist and... Your Right to Work, a booklet by National Right to Work Committee has been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging. Please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate this item.

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


Daley, Richard J., 1902-1976 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Goldwater, Barry M. (Barry Morris), 1909-1998 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Jensen, Cecil, 1902-1976.
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Nixon, Richard M. (Richard Milhous), 1913-1994 -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Corporate Bodies

Chicago Daily News, Inc.
Democratic Party (U.S.) -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Sam Adams Committee of Public Safety.
United Nations -- Caricatures and cartoons.
United States. -- Congress. -- Caricatures and cartoons.


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- Chicago (Ill.)
Cartoonists -- United States.
Civil rights movements -- United States -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Cold War -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Communism -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Crime -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Editorial cartoons -- Chicago (Ill.)
Editorial cartoons -- United States.
Elections -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Nuclear weapons -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Racism -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Taxation -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
White supremacy movements -- Caricatures and cartoons.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Caricatures and cartoons.


United States -- Politics and government -- 1945-1989 -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Editorial cartoons.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Cecil Jensen Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Majority, gift of Cecil Jensen, 1964-1965, 1967-1968, 1972

Two cartoons ("You're just not built right to be a patriot" and "Termites"), gift of Joseph E. Geshwiler, 2008.

Seven World War II-related cartoons ("Anybody who deserts us is nuts," "Atlas", "The fugitive," "The gift horse," Holding that line," In democracy's corner," and "That's the trouble with cats"), gift of Arthur Vyse, 2014.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: [Summit record]
Date: 2001-01-01
Revision history: 22 Mar 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC); 20 Sep 2010 - revised inventory, bio and scope (SK); 9 Jun 2014 - Vyse adds, M14-056 (MRC)

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Oversize 1 A-B (118 items)
Oversize 2 C-Far (127 items)
Oversize 3 Fas-He (144 items)
Oversize 4 Hi-It (142 items)
Oversize 5 Iv-Mak (82 items)
Oversize 6 Ma-Not (82 items)
Oversize 7 Not-Pau (127 items)
Oversize 8 Po-S (136 items)
Oversize 9 T (117 items)
Oversize 10 U-Win (113 items)
Oversize 11 Wit-Y (56 items)
Box 1 A-B 1964, 1966-1967
Box 1 C-E 1965-1967
Box 1 F-K 1965-1967
Box 1 Kennedy, Robert F. 1961
Box 1 L-R 1964-1967
Box 1 Rumsfeld, Donald 1966
Box 1 Sours, Hudson R. 1865, 1869, 1967
Box 1 S-Z 1965-1967
Box 1 Unidentified 1965-1966, undated
Printed material
Clippings - editorial cartoons by Jensen and other cartoonists
Box 1 1938-1941, 1943
Box 2 1944-1946, 1952-1954
Box 3 1954-1957
Box 4 1958-1960, 1962
Box 5 1962, 1964-1965
Box 1 Sam Adams Committee of Public Safety 1960s - booklet of cartoons altered to reflect white supremacist views
Box 1 Miscellaneous 1964-1965, 1967 - clippings, receipts, proofs

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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, For example: B1= Box 1

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