Marxists Internet Archive: An introduction to Boardman Robinson cartoons

An introduction to Boardman Robinson cartoons

This introduction is available as a docx document Here

Boardman Robinson (1876 - 1952) was a prominent American radical artist. He worked for years doing editorial political cartoons for mainstream newspapers, such as the New York Tribune, in the period of 1904 - 1915, and also did cartoons to support the woman suffrage cause. He and John Reed did reporting from Europe during WWI, and he began providing cartoons to The Masses, and later to The Liberator, which carry some of his most famous radical cartooning efforts.

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from the biography of Boardman Robinson on the Spartacist Educational web page:

Robinson was employed as a teacher at Arts Students League in New York City (1919-30). It had no entrance requirements and no set course. With teachers such as John Sloan, Art Young, George Luks, George Grosz and George Bellows, it developed a reputation for progressive teaching methods and radical politics.

In 1936 he became head the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Some of his students included Edmund Duffy, Jacob Burck, Bill Tytla and Russel Wright. He also produced several murals including those at the Rockefeller Center and the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C.

Marty Goodman,
digital archivist, comments:

Boardman Robinson contributed over 20 political cartoons to issues of The Masses... mostly from 1916 and 1917. During the publication of The Liberator 1918 - 1924, he contributed over 60 political cartoons. But prior to that for years he worked as an editorial political cartoonist for the New York Tribune. There his cartoons occasionally had radical left content... but more often were just relating to local NY City and State politics. At time they even were crtical of the far left, given that was the editorial opinion he was called upon to portray.

Here is a high resolution digital archive of a scrapbook someone made of his cartooning for the New York Tribune, mostly in January through July of 1912. While only a small fraction of this has the radical content of his work in The Masses and The Liberator, this collection sheds light on his style and development. Note, among other things, the five cartoons relating to the sinking of the Titanic starting April 17, 1912.

Technical note: Most of these scans ... made with a flat bed scanner from cut outs of the original newspaper pages... were made at 600 dpi, 8 bit gray scale, with somewhat enhanced contrast.


Last updated on 2 June 2021