Herblock Gallery

Politically independent and a champion of the little guy, Herbert L. Block (1909–2001)—better known as "Herblock"—spared no one from the wrath of his art. His pointed commentaries offer an opportunity to reflect on history and culture—how much has changed and what remains the same. The Herblock Gallery's selection of ten cartoons—with new drawings every six months—provides the visitor an ongoing opportunity to learn more about this Pulitzer award winning artist and to appreciate the Library's extensive Herbert L. Block Collection.

“Underneath his genius for cartooning and writing lies a modest, sweet, aw-shucks personality. Underneath that lies a layer of iron and steel. For the publishers and editors over him—or under him, as it would be more accurate to say—it's like having a tiger by the tail.”

Katharine Graham (1917–2001), Washington Post publisher

Herblock

“A cartoon does not tell everything about a subject. It’s not supposed to. No written piece tells everything either. As far as words are concerned, there is no safety in numbers. The test of a written or drawn commentary is whether it gets at an essential truth.”

Herblock (1909–2001)

Herbert Lawrence Block (1909–2001), who signed his editorial cartoons as “Herblock,” graced newspaper editorial pages for seventy-two years starting in 1929. His career began at the Chicago Daily News and the Newspaper Enterprise Association Service (NEA). During World War II, Block worked as an artist in the Army. In 1946, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he became a featured contributor at the Washington Post for more than fifty-five years. While at the Post, Herblock won three Pulitzer Prizes and numerous other awards for his work.

Politically independent and a champion of the little guy, Herblock spared no one from the wrath of his art. His pointed commentaries offer an opportunity to reflect on history and culture—how much has changed and what remains the same. This gallery's rotating selection of ten cartoons also highlights Block's mastery of pencil and ink brush drawing.

The Herb Block Foundation generously donated Herblock's archive to the Library of Congress in 2002. This rich resource includes more than 14,000 finished cartoons, in addition to preliminary sketches and manuscripts. In addition, the Foundation provides funding for the Herblock Gallery, which will enable visitors to continue to experience and enjoy the breadth and richness of this expansive collection.