We based our ATOMIC HOMEFRONT poster on the wonderful work of editorial cartoonist, Tom Engelhardt. Tom’s originally published cartoon had the caption “Time Capsule.”
To experience more of Tom’s work, please visit the State Historical Society of Missouri page:
Biography of Tom Engelhardt
Born in St. Louis at the end of 1930, Tom Engelhardt grew up admiring the drawings of St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial cartoonist Daniel “Fitz” Fitzpatrick and eventually decided to be an editorial cartoonist as well. He studied at an art school in St. Louis from 1949 to 1950 and at the University of Denver from September 1950 to April 1951 when he enlisted in the Air Force. (The draft for the Korean Conflict made planning for the future difficult.) After leaving service, Engelhardt took advantage of the GI Bill in 1954 to take a ship to England where he studied at Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Art for two years. In addition to his formal studies, Engelhardt obtained an extensive liberal arts education while abroad. He read voraciously, visited countless art museums and historical sites, and met people from all walks of life (often by hitchhiking, a favorite mode of transportation around Europe). After returning to the States, he studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Interestingly, despite his strong belief in education, Engelhardt has never earned a college degree.
After freelancing for a few years, Engelhardt returned to his hometown in 1962 to join the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as its editorial cartoonist. Until 1997, he drew more than 8,000 editorial cartoons for the paper, most of which are now in the collection of the State Historical Society of Missouri. The paper’s left-of-center editorial policy was consistent with the political viewpoint of Engelhardt, who considers himself a social liberal with traditional personal values. In addition, for many years, when Herblock, the cartoonist for The Washington Post, was on vacation or writing a book, Engelhardt also had the honor of substituting for Herblock’s syndicate.
Engelhardt believes that a cartoon must be much more than a “gag” and in fact, as noted in the book A Century of Political Cartoons, must have four components: humor, truth (or at least one side of it), moral purpose, and good drawing.
Engelhardt’s cartoons cover every political topic from the civil rights movement, the environment, busing, the Vietnam War, health care, education, poverty, crime and the criminal justice system, international relations, censorship, workers’ rights, elected officials, Watergate, big business, and the role of government. They comprise a body of work that can be viewed as a guardian of the downtrodden and underprivileged, a champion of equality, a challenge to the status quo, and a weapon of attack against social injustice. Engelhardt also dealt with tough political issues such as money and influence, smear campaigns, and “spin.” Among the awards he has received during his career, he has been recognized for his commitment to the environment, the less fortunate, and social justice.
He and his wife Kath have been married for more than 55 years and have four children and eight grandchildren.