WW2 Cartoons – Home

A History of World War Two – In Political Cartoons

Aunt Ethel

Aunt Ethel of Emporia, KS at age 88 in 1974. She died in 1975

At the beginning of World War II, a great aunt of mine, Miss Ethel Snoddy, began clipping political cartoons  from newspapers.  She faithfully kept this up for five years, pasting her cartoons into five large photo albums, one for each of the war years 1941 through 1945.

By war’s end, she had compiled nearly 3,500 different examples of political commentary, war news and propaganda, all in editorial cartoon form. The cartoons mainly appeared in the Kansas City Star or the Emporia (Kansas) Gazette but were syndicated from newspapers throughout the nation and several other countries.

Aunt Ethel ultimately gave her unusual albums to my cousin, an educator and history buff.  In 1997 he donated them to the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas.

As a young farm boy growing up near Emporia, I looked at Aunt Ethel’s curious collection various times but had no real appreciation for it.  But as an adult, and as a person born during World War II, I developed an enormous admiration for those who struggled and sacrificed during the war years, both those directly engaged in the conflict and those on the home front like my parents and my great aunt Ethel.  In 2007, long after Aunt Ethel was gone, I traveled to the Eisenhower Library to revisit the collection and acquire a photocopy of every album page.  It is a digital copy of these photocopies that you will view on this website.

In the past year or so, my son Jim became interested in these cartoons and together we built this site. What you see represents many hours of work spanning four generations.  Jim and I were motivated by nothing more than a desire to make this unique perspective of World War Two available to history students and teachers, historians, war buffs, or anyone else who wants a richer understanding of this incredible period of time.

This website is a labor of love and a work in progress.  For more information about the collection, visit the About The Cartoons page.  We invite your comments or questions about Aunt Ethel’s War.

Best regards,

Bob Rice,
Carmel, CA

Featured cartoonists:

16 Responses to WW2 Cartoons – Home

  1. MiChael Davidson says:

    I have some of the ny tabloid cartoons

  2. May I have permission to use some of your images from time to time on my blog http://www.enemyinmirror.com/ ?
    Of course I would acknowledge and link to your blog.

  3. Les Berg says:

    I have a book by Shoemaker called 43and44AD does it have value? its in good condition. Thanks Les

  4. PeterJ says:

    Very interesting site. I noted the cartoon by Vicky of the News Chronicle, London (Mr Churchill gets around) from October 1944.
    Can you say which US newspaper/s this was syndicated to and do you have any more Vicky cartoons in your archive?

  5. Richard reeves says:

    Hi, I wonder if you could help?
    During WW2 my grandad would often draw cartoons that were used in army news letters to read while they were in the trenches. I have been trying to find any reference to these newsletters as I would love to see some of his early work. He passed away a few years ago and we have many of his works of art created after the war but it was well known in my family that his comics were loved by all of his comerades fighting along side. Please email if you would know how to help. Richard

  6. Steve N. says:

    Thank you, THANK YOU for your hard work here, Mr. Rice and son Jim. You and Aunt Ethel have left a valuable legacy here for so many future generations to treasure. Many people have wonderful old relatives who have saved clippings, etc., but not everyone works so hard to categorize and share them as you have! Much appreciated. As a history teacher, I intend to use these in class. Bless you.

  7. Ann Peterson says:

    I am so excited to use this site with a class of 8th grade students studying the home front in WWII. This opens up a whole new discussion about the era.
    Thank you for this labor of love and for making the cartoons available.
    And bless Aunt Ethel, her legacy continues.

  8. David R. Sloane says:

    I have recently found a cache of scrapbooks that are exactly like your Aunt’s . There are fifteen of them and they contain thousands of cartoons from New York papers. They are clearly historically significant. Not sure what I should do with this find. Paper is brittle and yellow, but clearly legible.

  9. drew says:

    This is an amazing treasury of the unique perspectives our country’s cartoonists took towards the war. Thank you for recognizing the value of this collection historically, and for making available to all. It should be required reading for incoming presidents. 🙂

  10. jlawrence01 says:

    Great work. It is amazing that there is an enormous number of political cartoons that are NOT on the internet … and are lost to future generations. Most go into vaults at some university never to be seen again.

    Thanks for your efforts.

  11. Katelyn Lerette says:

    I was wondering if I could have your permission use some of your cartoons in a video/webpage I am creating to teach my students about the techniques political cartoonists use to convey their message. I will cite your page as the source.

    • Bob Rice says:

      Hello Katelyn: I just discovered your letter from over a year ago on my Aunt Ethel’s War website. I apologise for overlooking it before. You’ve probably moved on from your video/webpage project but if you still want to use some of the cartoons then Yes, you have our permission. Citing our page would be appreciated. Again, sorry for not responding much sooner.
      Bob Rice

  12. Lewis S says:

    May I use this site for a school project and use your name to give you credit for this amazing art work

  13. Ewen Macdonald says:

    Hi there Bob and son Jim

    I have just discovered your web site. You have developed a great resource for current and future generations.
    I have been a collector of political cartoons myself. My interest being spurred by having been a teacher of History and also because one of the greatest of the wartime cartoonists, David Low, was a New Zealander.

    In 1982, I visited a second hand bookshop in Christchurch, New Zealand. I was able to purchase a shoe box that contained over 600 cartoons clipped from the Melbourne Argus(Australia) between 1939 and 1945.

    I always imagined that a ‘little old lady’ clipped the cartoon each day from the newspaper. None of them were dated, but with the assistance of the website of the National Library of Australia (https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/title/13), I have been able to date each of them and put them in chronological order.

    The cartoons are the work of Harold ‘Mick’ Armstrong, and from what I have read, his work was highly regarded.

    I am sure you would enjoy looking at them. I not only have the original newspaper copy, but I have saved an electronic copy of each cartoon from the above website. I am happy to share if you would like.
    If you reply to me directly, I will electronically send you a couple of samples of his work. Some of them are truly masterful.

    Kind regards

    Ewen Macdonald
    New Zealand

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