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Bart

About this collection

Editorial cartoons from the early 1900s drawn for the Minneapolis Journal covering all topics, from local to international. Donated by Charles Bartholomew.

 

Charles “Bart” Bartholomew was born in Chariton, Iowa on February 10, 1869 to parents Col. Orion A. and Mary Smith Bartholomew. He died on February 15, 1949, after a long career as a cartoonist, illustrator, and lecturer, perhaps best known for his political cartoons that featured on the front page of the Minneapolis Journal for the years spanning the turn of the 20th century. Bartholomew got his start in journalism on the staff of his hometown Chariton Herald after his father purchased the paper and placed him on staff. He received his baccalaureate in science from Iowa State College, but moved to Minneapolis afterwards to pursue writing. He later enrolled in classes at the Minneapolis Art School, working with Burt Harwood and Douglas Volk. Bartholomew started working at the independently-owned and Republican-leaning Minneapolis Journal as a reporter and sometimes illustrator before he was able to convince editor J.S. McClain that a full-time cartoonist was just what the Journal needed. Later on, he also lectured at and served as the dean of the Federal School of Illustrating and Cartooning, organized Bart Supplies art supply store, wrote and edited twelve textbooks on illustration and cartooning, as well as six illustrated story books for children.

 

At the time that he joined the staff of the Journal, political cartooning was just beginning to take root on the East coast, but few Midwestern newspapers had full-time cartoonists of their own. The Journal was no different, as editor McClain apparently told Bartholomew when he asked about the possibility of such a position, “Bart, you had just as well give it up. There will not be a time in next ten years that a man can devote that much time to picture-work for the Journal.” Bartholomew continued to do spot pieces for the Journal, until he was finally able to convince his editors that cartooning could be a way for the paper to connect with its readers. Starting in 1890, McClain and the young Bartholomew engaged in daily meetings to figure out what issue of the day should feature in his front-page cartoons. The illustrations published for the afternoon Journal often dealt with news right off the presses, and it was this, as well as Bartholomew’s wit and courage with the pen that made the cartoons so popular both in Minneapolis as well as other national papers and journals. His cartoons ran nearly every day from 1890-1915, and the Bartholomew Collection at the Hennepin Library now consists of over 6,000 prints from the Journal’s archives of his time there. By the time Bartholomew left the Journal, the illustration department had expanded to a staff of seven and was known around the world for its biting cartoon editorializing of current events.

 

After his retirement from the newspaper, Bartholomew continued to give large lecture-style chalk talks for students and everyday citizens at the Federal School, served as dean of the Illustrating and Cartooning school, and dedicated himself to the service of his Congregationalist church in Minneapolis as church clerk. Bartholomew married Ella L. Henderson of Monticello in 1890, and together they had three boys: Orlo Alf, Robert Henderson, and Charles Lewis Jr.. In addition to formal teaching, Bartholomew also delivered general lectures to the public using ‘chalk talks and crayon presentation’, and traded correspondence with amateur and aspiring artists in the Minneapolis area, writing and signing each letter as he would have had done for the daily cartoons that had won himself and his paper fame as one of the sharp wits and sharper pens of the early cartooning era.

 

This collection of cartoon proof sheets and original drawings were donated to the Library by Charles Bartholomew in April, 1933.

 

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