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Rollin Kirby political cartoon comparing US isolationism to the Spanish Inquisition

Object | Accession Number: 2015.108.1

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    Rollin Kirby political cartoon comparing US isolationism to the Spanish Inquisition


    Brief Narrative
    Editorial cartoon, Torquemada, created by Rollin Kirby and probably published in the New York Post. The drawing portrays the isolationist US Senator Gerald Nye as a modern day Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor who cleansed Spain of Jews in the 15th century. In Kirby's portrayal, Nye, in judicial robes, is accusing a movie producer of hating Hitler. Nye chaired a committee in the 1930s that sought to tie US entry into World War I (1914-1918) to the influence of war profiteers. He was strongly opposed to US involvement in any foreign wars and was a drafter of the 1936 Neutrality Act forbidding arms shipments to any belligerent country. He won re-election in 1938 and was appointed to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where he advocated non-intervention. He also formed the anti-war America First Committee. In 1941, he accused Hollywood of acting under the influence of Jews and communists and inciting war fever.
    publication/distribution:  1941 September 11
    creation:  approximately 1941 September 11
    publication: New York (N.Y.)
    creation: New York (N.Y.)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection. The acquisition of this collection was made possible by the Crown Family.
    front, bottom right: Rollin Kirby
    Artist: Rollin Kirby
    Rollin Kirby was born in Galva, Illinois, on September 4, 1875, to George Washington Kirby and Elizabeth Maddox. His father had a shoe store. When Kirby was nineteen, he moved to New York to study painting at the Art Students League. He then went to Paris, France, to study at the Academie Julian and the Ecole Des Beaux Arts. He had a gallery show of his paintings at the National Academy in New York when he returned, but in 1901, in order to make a living, he turned to commercial art. He became a magazine illustrator, publishing work in Colliers, Harper’s, Scribner’s, and other popular publications. In 1903, he married Estelle Carter and they had one daughter.
    He began to focus on cartoon drawing in 1911, as he was tiring of work he found routine. By 1914, his editorial cartoons were appearing daily in Joseph Pulitzer’s New York World. He gained fame as a political cartoonist while working for the New York World from 1913-1931. Following World War I (1914-1918) he was recognized as America’s leading political cartoonist and won three Pulitzer Prizes in 1922, 1925, and 1929; his 1922 award was the first award in this category created to recognize the importance of political and social satire in the US. Kirby was known for his bold and deceptively simple graphic style and for the clever and inventive symbolism he used in his images. He stayed on in 1931 when the New York World merged with The World Telegram, but in 1939 he went to the New York Post, where he remained until 1942. He continued creating visual commentaries on daily life and his work appeared in Look magazine and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. He stood for the common man and supported civil rights and the New Deal against such forces as big business, corrupt politicians, Hitler and fascism, and the Ku Klux Klan. He was a cartoonist for whom the idea mattered most. He also wrote articles, poetry, and plays. Kirby, age 73, died on May 8, 1952 in New York City, New York.

    Physical Details

    Physical Description
    Cartoon with an image of man in black robe labeled "Nye" seated in a chair on right saying "I accuse you of hating Hitler!" while pointing at man dressed in white white labeled "Movie Producer" being held by another robed man. A third man in a black robe wearing glasses stands next to the seated man. There is a scroll with the text, "Politics/Race/Hatred" on the floor next to the chair.
    overall: Height: 17.000 inches (43.18 cm) | Width: 14.250 inches (36.195 cm)
    overall : paper, paint, ink
    lower left corner, handwritten : Hrols [?] Ed. page Thursday
    lower right corner : 9-11-41

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    Restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The drawing was acquired by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2015.
    Funding Note
    The acquisition of this artifact was made possible by the Crown Family.
    Record last modified:
    2022-07-28 21:51:19
    This page:

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