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John Miller Baer Cartoons

An inventory of his cartoons at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: –
Date: 1970

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.

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".

Arrangement of the Collection

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


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.

Related Material

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

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.



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.

Table of Contents


Printed material

Index to cartoons


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.