Daniel R. Fitzpatrick:
A Missouri Cartoonist
BY SUSAN YESHILADA*
Daniel R. Fitzpatrick exemplifies the liberal editorial cartoonist.
Intolerant of corruption and threats to individual rights, Fitzpatrick
became known for his powerful, yet simple, cartoons from the 1920s
through the 1950s. He received two Pulitzer Prizes during his career
and numerous other honors. The cartoon collections of the State
Historical Society of Missouri include more than 1,500 of Fitzpatrick's
Born March 5, 1891, in Superior, Wisconsin, Fitzpatrick did not
distinguish himself academically as a youth. While attending Blaine
High School, his attention focused more on cartooning than on his
classes. He paid frequent visits to Superior's public library to become
familiar with the cartoon collections of Grant Hamilton, James Montgomery Flagg, Charles Dana Gibson, Walt Kuhn and Eugene Zimmerman. At age 15, Fitzpatrick left school and spent several years in
blue-collar jobs. In 1909, his father, Patrick Fitzpatrick, finally agreed
to help him pursue artistic training at the Chicago Art Institute and
supported his first year of studying anatomy and pictorial composition.
A year later, Fitzpatrick worked as a busboy and usher to finance the
completion of his education.2
In 1911, Fitzpatrick began his first job as a cartoonist for the
Chicago Daily News. He drew for the cartoon section in the beginning,
but later worked nine months as an editorial cartoonist during L.D.
Bradley's absence. The chief editor of the Daily News, Charles Dennis,
encouraged Fitzpatrick to broaden his perspective and to read literary
classics. He also studied history and art history on his own.
Not wishing to resume plain cartoon drawing upon Bradley's
return, Fitzpatrick looked elsewhere for employment as an editorial
cartoonist. Although this young cartoonist lacked experience, George
S. Johns of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch accepted him on a trial basis.
Thus began Fitzpatrick's forty-five year career with that newspaper.
The Post-Dispatch provided a perfect environment for Fitzpatrick's
development. Joseph Pulitzer II, owner of the Post-Dispatch, never
♦Susan Yeshilada is an instructor with the Intensive English Program at the
University of Missouri-Columbia. She previously held the position of research assistant
at the State Historical Society of Missouri.
1 Ralph Coughlin, "Foreword," in Cartoons by Fitzpatrick (St. Louis: Pulitzer
Publishing Company, 1947), i.
2 Daniel R. Fitzpatrick, As I Saw It (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1953), vii-ix.