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Roy Justus Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: July 1967

Biographical History

Roy Braxton Justus (1901-1983) was an award-winning American editorial cartoonist.

Born in Avon, South Dakota in 1901, Justus had his first exhibition while still in high school, a selection of cartoons about World War I displayed in the local drugstore. He attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and went to work as a cartoonist for the Sioux City Tribune where he stayed for 17 years with brief stints in Washington D.C. and in New York with the Associated Press. In 1944, after three years with the Sioux City Journal, Justus became the editorial cartoonist for the Minneapolis Star. His editorial cartoons were also syndicated to newspapers around the United States through the Register and Tribune Syndicate.

Justus served as vice president and president of the newly formed American Association of Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC). He was also a member of the National Cartoonists Society, the National Press Club and the Minneapolis Press Club. His work was recognized by several organizations. Justus received the 1965 Sigma Delta Chi Award, several Freedom Foundation awards, the National Headliner’s Club Award and the Christopher Award. Morningside College presented him with an honorary doctorate of letters in 1965.

Justus retired from his duties at the Minneapolis Star in 1975 and died on May 19, 1983.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Roy Justus Papers represent three decades of Justus' career as an editorial cartoonist. In addition to providing a window into Justus' artistic and journalistic career, the collection also documents, in correspondence and photographs, Justus' relationship with president Lyndon Johnson.

Artwork (1938-1975) is subdivided into works by Justus and works by Others. The majority are original editorial cartoons by Justus for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. There is one box of Justus' work for the Sioux City Journal. Most pieces of artwork have dates written or stamped on the back; the years 1942-1946 have been arranged alphabetically by caption, as they are undated. Sioux City Journal artwork is undated but from approximately 1941-1943. Justus usually worked in ink and crayon on illustration board, using thin lines with an image size of 9” x 10 ½”. Captions are written in pencil or ink. Interleaves are original, as received from the donor.

Also in this series are individual cartoons by other artists inscribed to Justus.

Correspondence (1931-1983) contains incoming correspondence and selected replies from Justus. Topics include requests for permissions and other business matters, and responses from readers who frequently included clippings of his editorial cartoons with their specific complaints. There are scattered insulting drawings referring to him as the "king of hate." One frequent correspondent is Willie Day Taylor, President Lyndon Johnson’s assistant, asking for original cartoons for LBJ’s personal collection. There are also letters from Hubert Humphrey and Richard Nixon, IBM, the Encyclopedia Britannica, cartoonists Rollin Kirby and Jay “Ding” Darling. A number of letters are from Syracuse University Library staff about the donation of the collection, and there is one letter about Justus’ death, addressed to his wife.

Memorabilia (1944-1975) consists of awards, photographs and printed material. Included here are awards in various forms (e.g. medals) from the Freedom Foundation, Sigma Chi Delta and the National Headliners Club, and associated printed material related to recognitions. Also in this series are 51 scrapbooks (1941-1969) containing daily clippings of Justus' editorial cartoons. There is also one scrapbook of other material.

Of particular interest are the photographs, including pictures of Justus at the Johnson presidential library, Justus with Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey circa 1959, AAEC events, cartoonists at the Cape Kennedy Missile Test Annex and portraits of Justus. There are also two candid color snapshots showing Lyndon Johnson behind the wheel of a convertible, with Justus and others in the car including Albany Times Union cartoonist Hy Rosen. The photos from June 1971 were taken at Johnson’s Texas ranch. Almost all the photographs are black and white 8x10s.

Printed material (1921-1975) contains primarily clippings about Justus and his work, and mailings from the AAEC. Included is a review of a Herblock book written by Justus and editorials from newspapers that directly reference Justus, such as published letters to the editor about Justus' work.

The small Miscellaneous series contains indexes, exhibition miscellany, and notes.

Arrangement of the Collection

Cartoons from the years 1942-1946 have been arranged alphabetically, as they are undated. Cartoons from the years 1947-1975 are in chronological order. Correspondence is arranged in alphabetical order by sender. Files of reader responses are in chronological order.


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

The following published items have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging:

Special Collections Research Center has more than 150 collections of cartoonists' papers. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Justus, 1901-1983.

Associated Titles

Minneapolis star and tribune.
Sioux City journal (Sioux City, Iowa : 1887)


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Editorial cartoons -- United States.
World politics -- 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:

Roy Justus Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Co., 1965-1977 and Mrs. Roy Justus, 1988.

Table of Contents




Printed material