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Lou Erickson Papers

An inventory of his Collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: EF
Date: 7 June 1968

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.

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.


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

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.

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.



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.

Table of Contents


Biographical material


Printed material

Miscellaneous drawings

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 appear under and alternative term.

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