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Bill Graham Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: –
Date: 1984

Biographical History

William “Bill” Karr Graham (1920-1994) was an American editorial cartoonist.

Bill Graham was born on December 14, 1920 in Coshocton, Ohio. Graham received a B.S. in social science from Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, in 1942 where he contributed cartoons to the college yearbook. During World War II, Graham worked as an Army training artist and also created the comic strip Stinky while stationed at Fort Chaffee. Following the war, he was a reporter at the Coshocton Tribune and drew a Sunday panel, Smoke Signals from 1946 until 1948 when he was hired as the editorial cartoonist for the Arkansas Gazette.

Graham held membership in the National Cartoonists Society and the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists. One book of his cartoons was published in 1974, A little drum roll, please ... : The second term of Richard M. Nixon: a collection of cartoons. His work has been exhibited several times: as part of a NCS and U.S. Treasury Department traveling exhibition in 1950, in England in 1951 and with an AAEC traveling exhibit in 1960. His cartoons were also displayed at the Pavilion D’Humor in Montreal in 1971.

After retiring from the Arkansas Gazette in 1985, Bill Graham died September 9, 1994 of lung cancer.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Bill Graham Papers are organized into two series. The first series, Cartoons consists of 330 original editorial cartoons published in the Arkansas Gazette (1954-1965). Five of the cartoons are undated. Of particular interest are Graham's cartoons during the "Little Rock Crisis", the period during which at the behest of Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus black students were barred from entering Little Rock Central High School during attempts to integrate it. Faubus’ (as well as other Southern states') defiance of federal court decisions and law and order was a running theme in Graham's cartoons during these years.

The cartoons from 1954 through the first two months of 1962 measure 11 1/4" x 14 1/4" and the last few years of cartoons measure 9 ½" x 11 ½". They were drawn on illustration board and paper with ink, crayon and graphite with notations appearing in blue pencil.

In addition, there several folders of incoming correspondence (1947-1966). The pieces of correspondence in the collection are photocopies and not originals. Included are letters from the Arkansas Gazette detailing the newspaper's decision to hire Graham as their editorial cartoonist, letters from fellow cartoonists and letters of appreciation from figures depicted in Graham's cartoons.

Also included is a published collection of editorials and cartoons (drawn by Graham) from the Arkansas Gazette titled Crisis in the South: the Little Rock Story (1959) which chronicles the newspaper's pieces about the desegregation of Little Rock's school system under the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Arrangement of the Collection

The cartoons and correspondence are arranged in chronological order with undated cartoons and undated correspondence at the end of their respective 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

One published book, Crisis in the South: the Little Rock story(1959) has been removed from this collection and sent to Rare Books.

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

Subject Headings


Faubus, Orval Eugene, 1910-1994 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Graham, Bill, 1920-
Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines), 1908-1973 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963 -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich, 1894-1971 -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Corporate Bodies

Republican Party (U.S. : 1854- ) -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Associated Titles

Arkansas gazette (Little Rock, Ark. : 1889)


American South -- Caricatures and cartoons.
American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Civil rights movements -- United States -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Editorial cartoons -- Arkansas.
Editorial cartoons -- Little Rock (Ark.)
Editorial cartoons -- United States.
Political cartoons.
School integration -- Caricatures and cartoons.
World politics -- 1945-1989 -- Caricatures and cartoons.


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

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)
Editorial cartoons.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Bill Graham Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Bill Graham, 1967.

Table of Contents



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.