Cyrus “Cy” Hungerford was the longest-serving editorial cartoonist in Pittsburgh history. He was hired by The Pittsburgh Sun in 1912 and and moved to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette fifteen years later, where he served until his retirement in 1977. Hungerford’s cartoons satirically illustrated local, national, and international events. Every aspect of life was a target of his clever, gentle humor: politics, sports and entertainment, business and labor, and the various Pittsburgh cultural scenes. His caricatures of politicians from William Harding to David Lawrence to Richard Nixon; personalities from the Duchess of Windsor to Joe Stalin; and world events from WWI to the Cold War and Vietnam were pointed, and brought a smile to readers’ lips over their morning coffee. Hungerford also cleverly inserted cartooning symbols popularized by Thomas Nast in the late 1800s–like the political party emblems of the Democratic donkey and Republican elephant–with inventions of his own that reflected the social scene. One of these was “Pa Pitt,” a chubby, bespectacled, colonial fellow respresentative not only of Pittsburgh and its history, but also the public interest.
As we enter the current political season. we thought it might be interesting to look back on some of Hungerford’s past election cartoons and see how times have changed (or not). Hungerford presented hundreds of his original cartoons to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in April, 1975. Copies of an array of election cartoons will be hanging in the First Floor Gallery at Main, and some original Hungerfords can be viewed in display cases by the silver elevator on the second floor for a limited time.
As a bonus, we are happy to present speakers Rob Rogers and Tim Menees as they talk about Following in the Footsteps of Hungerford. These accomplished local editorial cartoonists will discuss Hungerford’s impact and how cartoons continue to take on local and national politics with humor and style. You can hear them on Sunday September 30th 2012 from 2:00-4:30 p.m. in the Quiet Reading Room on the First Floor at Main Library. Please join us!