Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon
Prints and Photographs
Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 20540-4730
Collection digitized? Generally, no. Selected
images are included here to give a sample of the collection.
The Caroline and Erwin Swann Collection of Caricature and Cartoon
contains 2,085 drawings, prints, and paintings related to the art
of caricature, cartoon, and illustration. The collection spans
the years 1780 to 1977 and includes works by 521 American and foreign
artists and illustrators. Most of the images are cartoons, comic
strips, and periodical illustrations drawn by American artists
between 1890 and 1970.
The Swann Collection features a rich diversity of twentieth-century
American and European cartoon drawings and includes images that
reflect such aspects of society as political and economic conditions,
social mores, employment, domestic life, families and children,
relations between the sexes, and superheroes.
In the early 1960s, Erwin Swann, a New York advertising executive
started collecting original cartoon drawings of artistic and humorous
interest. The Swann Collection came to the Library of Congress
in two installments, in 1974 and in 1977, with a fund to maintain,
preserve, and develop the collection, and under an agreement whereby
a space would be provided for the permanent exhibition of works
from the collection and related library holdings. The Swann Gallery
of Caricature & Cartoon is located opposite the Coolidge Auditorium
in the Library's Thomas Jefferson Building.
The Swann Foundation, which Erwin Swann created in 1968 to promote
preservation, exhibition, scholarship and publication of caricature
and cartoon, was transferred from New York to the Library of Congress
in 1995. The Foundation, now known as the Caroline
and Erwin Swann Foundation for Caricature and Cartoon, offers
a fellowship to graduate students and those within three years
of receiving a graduate degree, working in any field, on a topic
related to caricature and cartoon. The Swann
Foundation Home Page provides information on the Foundation
and on the Library's activities relating to caricature and cartoon.
Apart from newly received acquisitions,
a catalog record for each image is available
in the Prints
and Photographs Division Online Catalog
The online catalog is also available in
the Prints and Photographs Reading Room.
Some digital images display (generally
only small, "thumbnail" versions
will display outside the Library of Congress
because of rights considerations). An unpublished
checklist of items, including artists'
biographies and bibliographies, is available
in the P&P Reading Room.
Photographic prints or transparencies of items in the collection
may be ordered through the Library of Congress Duplication Services,
Washington, D.C., 20540-4570. Orders for copies must be accompanied
by reproduction numbers for the desired images or, if no reproduction
numbers exist, by call numbers for the images. Reproduction numbers
and call numbers appear in catalog records for the images. Order
forms, price, and order instructions will be provided on request.
All information documented by Prints and Photographs Division
staff regarding publication and/or copyright claimants has been
recorded in the catalog record. Use of published works created
after 1923 or unpublished works created within 70 years of the artist's death may be limited by copyright restrictions. Therefore,
patrons are advised to check for copyright prior to publication
or other forms of distribution.
When images are reproduced in a publication, the Library requests
that the reproduction number be published with the credit, as in
the following example: "Library of Congress, Swann Collection,
Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-111,111 [negative number]."
Related Resources in the Library of Congress
Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington DC 20540-4683
- Erwin Swann papers, 1949-1976 (bulk 1968-1973), 10,000 items.
See also the Prints & Photographs Division reference aid, "Resources for the Study of Caricature & Cartoon."
Prepared by: Maja Keech, Reference Specialist, with assistance from Sara Duke, Curator, Popular and Applied Graphic Art, 9/27/99 - updated 2008