Politics in Graphic Detail

Exploring History through Political Cartoons

How to Use This Site

Welcome to Politics in Graphic Detail: Exploring History through Political Cartoons! This exhibit guide will explain how to navigate this digital history project, how to search for documents, people, organizations, and symbols, how to use the interactive HSP image viewer, how to interpret the different font styles in the document transcriptions, and more.

For a brief demonstration of the site's features, see our five-minute video tutorial above, or keep scrolling to read more.


The political cartoons can be accessed by clicking on "Documents" in the top menu bar and then browsing through the full list of images, which are arranged in chronological order. From this list, users can also search for a keyword, name, organization, or date range. Users can also filter this list by genre, topic, creator, depicted, or mentioned. 

Each primary source document includes a facsimile of the original.  Visitors to the site will also find:

  • A description of each political cartoon.
  • A transcription of the political cartoons and editorial annotations.
  • Source information.
  • Links to related people, organizations, and symbols.

Users can open a print-friendly view of the transcription (words that appear in the original document), annotations (notes and commentary added by the editorial staff), and source information (creators, publishers, and collection information) by clicking the "Open in New Window" link next to the "Transcript and Annotations" heading. To print, click the printer icon in the upper right corner of the new window. See image below.

Clicking on the "High Resolution Image" link opens a static, high-resolution version of the image in a new window. Right-click on the image to download a high-resolution image file.

Image Viewer

Clicking on "Detail View with Annotations" opens an interactive image viewer that allows users to explore the image in greater depth. Users may use the top bar, mouse roller, or ctrl + and ctrl - keys to zoom in and out on the image, and may use a mouse, touchpad, or arrow keys to pan.

The image viewe​r tool bar allows the following functions:

  • fit image to window 
  • show/hide annotations
  • show/hide annotations side bar
  • rotate image 
  • download high-resolution image (opens high-resolution image in new window; right-click to download)
  • help 
  • color key 

The image viewer displays color-coded dots to indicate the presence of editorial annotations (blue dots) and text transcriptions (red dots). Clicking on these dots reveals pop-up text boxes containing editorial content and, in some cases, links to more information about the people, organizations, and symbols depicted. See image below.

Transcription Styles

In the transcription, we have used a few methods of displaying added, deleted, and otherwise missing text.

• Added text is rendered in green.
• Deleted text is rendered using strikethrough.
       Ex: Word
• Text which cannot be transcribed with certainty has been encoded as unclear. It is rendered as italicized text appended by a question mark and enclosed within square brackets.
       Ex: [word?]
• Text which editorial staff knew was part of the original document but which is missing or illegible has been encoded as supplied. Supplied text is rendered in italics, enclosed within square brackets.
       Ex: [word]
• For this project, editorial staff frequently supplied label headings for transcriptions if such labels were not already present in the document. Label/heading text is rendered using bold.
       Ex: word

For more detail about our encoding standards, please see our Editorial Method page. 

People, Organizations, and Symbols

People, organizations, and symbols, like documents, can be accessed through lists or through searching. Lists are organized alphabetically, and in the case of people, alphabetically by surname.

People, organizations, and symbols are also linked in the “related” menu located below the image of the polical cartoon, and when clicked on will display a pop-up window containing information about that entity and a link to a full biography. See image below. 

The full person, organization, or symbol biography will include a list of all political cartoons related to that entity.


Topics or keywords provide an alternate way to navigate the site. The political cartoons are tagged with one or more keywords related to it.

The minimum number of characters in a keyword term is four. Searching for keywords with fewer than four characters (e.g., "Guy" or "Jr.") will return zero results. People searches can be done "firstname lastname" or "lastname firstname" (e.g. Benjamin Franklin or Franklin Benjamin). Do not include punctuation in your searches.