Exhibit: Fred O. Seibel (1886-1968)
Editorial Cartoonist, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Beginning in 1926 and continuing for more than forty years, the cartoons of Fred O. Seibel were found on the editorial page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. This online exhibit includes digitally scanned images of correspondence to Seibel from some of this century's most historic American figures. All of them found themselves as subjects in his political cartoons and wrote Seibel asking him for copies of the originals. Scanned images of the cartoons that are referred to in the letters are also shown.
Born in New York in 1886, Frederick Otto Seibel began his career as an illustrator. A large portion of his work was the drawing of illustrations for advertisements in newspapers. From 1908 through 1915 he had also drawn cartoons for two small New York newspapers, the Oneida Dispatch and the Utica Herald-Dispatch. He began his career as a political cartoonist in 1916 for the Knickerbocker Press in Albany, New York. He moved to Virginia in 1926 to become editorial cartoonist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Between June 20, 1926 and January 25, 1968 the newspaper published nearly fifteen thousand Seibel drawings. In the 1930s and 1940s Seibel became a well known American cartoonist whose work was widely reprinted. One of the most distinctive elements of his cartoons included Moses Crow, a crow perched amid the caricatures who watched and frequently commented upon the events portrayed in the cartoons. Seibel retired from the Richmond Times-Dispatch in January of 1968 and died six months later on the 19th of June.
The Fred O. Seibel Papers are housed in the James Branch Cabell Library's Special Collections and Archives. The collection is part of the library's Comic Arts Collection which includes the papers of several cartoonists, a collection of comic books, a significant collection of reference materials that focus on the comic arts and its history. The Seibel collection includes correspondence to Seibel, a complete set of his published cartoons from both the Knickerbocker Press and the Richmond Times-Dispatch, thirty-four original Seibel cartoons, and other items. The set of published cartoons from the Richmond Times-Dispatch in the collection were stamped in the top right corner with a number that indicates the order in which they were published. Additional original drawings can be found in the Harry F. Byrd Papers housed at the University of Virginia's Alderman Library.
All the materials in this exhibit were taken from the Seibel Papers. For more information about Seibel or the collection, contact Special Collections and Archives. See also the cover story about the cartoonist in the Spring 1977 issue of the Virginia Cavalcade.
Correspondence to Fred O. Seibel from:
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Harry S. Truman
- J. Edgar Hoover
- Robert F. Kennedy
- John L. Lewis
- James R. Hoffa
- Barry M. Goldwater
- Harry F. Byrd