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Exhibition: "Timely and Timeless: New Comic Art Acquisitions"

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Print shows a man in a tall black hat with his hands in his pockets, looking sardonically at a window, covered by a grill, behind which sit bowls of coins. Daumier was a French caricaturist and cartoonist, who turned from political cartooning (after a stiff censorship law was passed) to satirizing the social and economic mores of middle class society. This print was one of 42 featuring emotional moments in the lives of his fellow Parisians. The title can be roughly translated as: Gold is a myth, for those who don't have a penny.
Emotions Parisiennes. "L'or est une chimère - pour ceux qui n'ont pas le sou." Lithograph by Honoré Daumier, circa 1840.

I had the good fortune to spend a little time last week in “Timely and Timeless,” an exhibition of comic art in the new Graphic Arts Galleries in the Thomas Jefferson Building. The works on exhibit are drawn from the abundance of cartoons and comics the Prints & Photographs Division has acquired over the last decade. These new acquisitions on display exemplify and build on the Library’s holdings in political and social satire, comic strips, and caricature.

With exhibit space for fewer than 50 works of art, Curator of Popular and Applied Graphic Art Martha Kennedy faced a daunting challenge in selection. Recognizing this challenge, Kennedy hopes that those able to visit the exhibition “will enjoy the experience of seeing the original cartoon and comics drawings up close and in person, and be encouraged to explore the Library’s vast collections of comic art in its online resources (PPOC, online exhibitions). The exhibit gives a tip of the iceberg look at the amazing variety of form and content to be found in these kinds of popular imagery.” Pay a visit — it will be time well-spent!

“Timely and Timeless: New Comic Art Acquisitions”
Graphic Arts Galleries
Thomas Jefferson Building
September 15, 2011 – March 10, 2012

Four panel comic strip shows Zippy receiving a large shipment of "Atomic Duck" comic books, which he and his "comics buff" friend "Intal" spend days "examining & cataloging". At the end of the week, Zippy is sitting with his friend Zerbina when a "registered letter" arrives from "Sherwin T. Mishkin, the son of the famous 'Atomic Duck' background inker"; she asks him what it says and Zippy replies "He says his father would have wanted us to give everything to th' Library of Congress!"
Zippy. "Tragic Ending." Cartoon drawing by Bill Griffith, October 5, 2007. Copyright 2007 by Bill Griffith. World rights reserved. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.

Learn More:

Read the press release announcing “Timely and Timeless: New Comic Art Acquisitions” Opens at Library of Congress, Sept. 15.

See these collections in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog:

Learn how to conduct Cartoon-related Research at the Library of Congress in this guide from the Researcher’s Toolbox.

Update: Since this post, an online exhibition for Timely & Timeless has gone live.


  1. Dear Zippy-
    We want the cartoons online from the Library of Congress…not a bummer.

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