Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

Bruce Russell Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: [Summit record]
Date: 2001-01-01

Biographical History

Bruce Alexander Russell (1903-1963) was a Pulitzer Prize winning American cartoonist who spent over 30 years at the Los Angeles Times.

Russell was born in Los Angeles on August 4, 1903, the son of Alexander and Flora (Saunders) Russell. In 1921 Russell graduated from Los Angeles Polytechnic High School and in 1926 he received a degree from the University of California at Los Angeles, where he had drawn cartoons for the university newspaper, The Daily Bruin, and for The California Grizzly. Russell began his professional career at the Los Angeles Evening Herald. His early work appeared in various national publications, among them College Humor and Collier's, as well as in The California Pelican, published in Berkeley. In 1927 Russell joined the Los Angeles Times art staff as a sports and theater cartoonist and also sketched for the paper's illustrated magazine. During this period he created the popular Associated Press comic strip Rollo Rollingstone, which ran from 1930 to 1933. In 1934 Russell became the editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times, a position he retained until his death nearly thirty years later when he was replaced by Paul Conrad.

Russell won a Pulitzer Prize in 1946 for his cartoon "Time to Bridge That Gulch" that was published on November 30, 1945 and depicted the gap between the United States and Russia. Sigma Delta Chi presented him with the Distinguished Service Award in 1948, 1950 and 1951. He also received the Headliners' Award for editorial cartoons in 1949, and from 1949 to 1962 his work was annually recognized by the Freedoms Foundation award. His other honors include the Christopher Award (1953) and an award from the U.S. Treasury (1960 or 1958?). At UCLA, Russell was named the Edward A. Dickson Alumnus of the year in 1951. Russell was a member of the National Cartoonists Society and the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

On December 18, 1963 Bruce Russell died of a heart attack in Los Angeles, California.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Bruce Russell Papers contain original artwork, correspondence, memorabilia, the artist's idea file, clippings and writings. The collection documents the Russell's career as a cartoonist and his work in several genres with material from the early 1920s through his death in 1963. It also includes original works by other cartoonists, often inscribed to Russell.

Cartoon clippings provides examples of Russell's published work. Items are arranged within categories that reflect the development of Russell's career: college and other early work, comic strips and features, editorial cartoons (mostly from the Los Angeles Times), Hollywood and theater, Los Angeles Times work (excluding editorial cartoons), and sports cartoons. Samples of his early work include clippings from The California Pelican, Southern Alumnus, and College Humor. His comic features include The Week in Review and Cartoonews, as well as the strips Good Old Chump and Rollo Rollingstone.

Editorial cartoons prepared daily for the Los Angeles Times between 1928 and 1963 form the largest part of the clippings section. Clippings of editorial cartoons from 1946 to 1963 are mostly cut from the Times editorial page and are substantially complete, arranged chronologically to the day. There is a gap between mid-July 1952 and December 1953.

As seen in both the clippings and the original drawings (see below), Russell's editorial work paralleled the generally conservative editorial viewpoint of the Los Angeles Times. Recorded by Russell's pen were two major wars and the harbingers of the war in Vietnam, the beginnings of space exploration, the emergence of new political leaders, among them the Californian Richard Nixon, and life in southern California as the area grew in economic and political influence. Besides the national and international events that provided topics for his editorial comment, there also recur in his cartoon work references to rising taxes and Los Angeles politics, as well as many public service themes: traffic safety, the scouting movement, U.S. savings bonds, and charitable fund drives. During these years he developed a number of stylistic devices: the shrouded skeleton, an oafish Mars, the impoverished taxpayer dressed in a barrel, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, punning cartoon titles, the personifications John Q. Public and Miss Democracy, map outlines of political boundaries used metaphorically, and, from World War II, a maniacal Hitler, a slovenly Mussolini, and a fierce stereotype of the Japanese.

Correspondence contains a small amount of both incoming and outgoing correspondence. Correspondents of interest include Richard Nixon, Eleanor Roosevelt, and staff at MGM and Collier's. Subjects include acceptance notices for submitted artwork, requests for original cartoons and notes thanking the artist for his cooperation in charitable drives.

The Idea file series contains folders of illustrations, mostly clippings, as well as sketches, photographs, and published cartoons, that constitute a working reference file used by Russell in his work. The subject headings as they appear on the folders are Russell's own, except for headings in brackets. There are folders for political figures and other notables, Russell trademarks such as Tweedledum and Tweedledee and his characterization of the Roman god Mars, and traditional symbols as the donkey and the elephant, bulls and bears, the eagle, Father Time, and Uncle Sam. There is also a folder of clippings of work by other cartoonists.

Memorabilia contains a variety of material, primarily related to Russell's career. Included here are his diploma from cartooning school before he entered the University of California, awards, photographs of Russell and his family, and autographed photographs of notables including California political figures Edmund ("Pat") Brown, Goodwin Knight, Norris Poulson, James Roosevelt, labor leader John L. Lewis, Edward R. Stettinius, Jr., Arthur E. Summerfield, Raymond Moley, Senator Harry L. Byrd, and the cartoonists Rube Goldberg and George McManus. Also included here is promotional material, clippings of articles about Russell, exhibition information, a copyright registration card and miscellaneous proofs.

Original drawings, which spans more then seventy years, is subdivided into drawings by Russell and drawings by others. Original artwork by Bruce Russell spans his professional career, from early sketches in the 1920s to some of his last editorial cartoons. Some pieces of his non-editorial work are signed with the name "Bruce Barr." Most of this work was done for the Los Angeles Times. There are over 650 finished drawings by Russell, including more than 240 editorial cartoons and over 300 drawings for the comic strip Rollo Rollingstone. There are also 50 pencil sketches for editorial cartoons. Also worth noting are Russell's Hollywood and theatre illustrations. A topical index to Russell's original editorial cartoon art may be found at the end of this inventory.

Original drawings by other artists contains more than 160 pieces of art by fellow cartoonists and artists. Many are inscribed to Russell. Among the editorial cartoonists represented are Gib Crockett, Herblock, Jim Ivey, Bill Mauldin, Carey Orr and Vaughn Shoemaker. Work by the cartoonists Al Capp, Rube Goldberg, Jimmy Hatlo, and George Herriman is also present, along with a color cell from a Woody Woodpecker animation and a Charles Schulz "Peanuts" strip from 1955. There are also several cartoons by unidentified artists.

Writings consists of notes about the comic strip Rollo Rollingstone and typed questions prepared for Russell's appearance before a State Department and Pentagon panel in 1963.

Arrangement of the Collection

Cartoon clippings are subdivided by type and within that arranged in roughly chronological order. Correspondence is arranged in chronological order. Idea files are alphabetical by subject. Original drawings are subdivided into those by Russell and those by other artists; within that, Russell's are further subdivided by type and then arranged alphabetically by caption, while those by other artists are arranged alphabetically by artist's last name.


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 including many of whom's work is included in the original drawings series of this collection. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Russell, Bruce, 1903-1963.

Corporate Bodies

Los Angeles Times (Firm)

Associated Titles

Rollo Rollingstone (comic strip)
The Week in Review.


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Comic books, strips, etc.
Editorial cartoons -- California -- Los Angeles.
Editorial cartoons -- United States.
Sports -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Theater -- Caricatures and cartoons.
World politics -- 20th century -- Caricatures and cartoons.


United States -- Politics and government -- 20th century -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Genres and Forms

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



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Bruce Russell Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Photographs and cartoon clippings, gift of Miss Maxine Russell, 1964.

Original cartoons, cartoon clippings, and other items, gift of Mrs. Bruce Russell, 1966.

Five original Bruce Russell cartoons, gift of Miss Minnette L. Frohlich, 1971.

"Practice Ground for Three Chopsticks?", gift of Robert Payne, 2009.

Table of Contents

Cartoon clippings


Idea files


Original drawings


Topical index to cartoons


Topical index to cartoons

This topical index only covers Russell's original editorial cartoon art. It does not include the editorial cartoon clippings, nor the original editorial cartoon art by other artists.