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Charles L. Bartholomew Cartoon Proofs and Biographical Material

Identifier: M/A 0006
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Description of Contents

Proofs of Bart’s daily political cartoons from 1901-1915. Box 1 also includes two folders of biographical information, a booklet of Bart's published cartoons, and a published calendar illustrated by Bart. The rest of the boxes are cartoon proofs only.


  • Creation: 1901 - 1915


The physical collection is available for use in Special Collections at Minneapolis Central Library during the department's open hours. Cartoons from this collection are available in the Charles Bartholomew Collection in the Hennepin County Library Digital Collections.


Charles “Bart” Bartholomew was born in Chariton, Iowa on February 10, 1869 to parents Col. Orion A. and Mary Smith Bartholomew. He died on February 15, 1949, after a long career as a cartoonist, illustrator, and lecturer, perhaps best known for his political cartoons that featured on the front page of the Minneapolis Journal for the years spanning the turn of the 20th century. Bartholomew got his start in journalism on the staff of his hometown Chariton Herald after his father purchased the paper and placed him on staff. He received his baccalaureate in science from Iowa State College, but moved to Minneapolis afterwards to pursue writing. He later enrolled in classes at the Minneapolis Art School, working with Burt Harwood and Douglas Volk. Bartholomew started working at the independently-owned and Republican-leaning Minneapolis Journal as a reporter and sometimes illustrator before he was able to convince editor J.S. McClain that a full-time cartoonist was just what the Journal needed. Later on, he also lectured at and served as the dean of the Federal School of Illustrating and Cartooning, organized Bart Supplies art supply store, wrote and edited twelve textbooks on illustration and cartooning, as well as six illustrated story books for children.

At the time that he joined the staff of the Journal, political cartooning was just beginning to take root on the East coast, but few Midwestern newspapers had full-time cartoonists of their own. The Journal was no different, as editor McClain apparently told Bartholomew when he asked about the possibility of such a position, “Bart, you had just as well give it up. There will not be a time in next ten years that a man can devote that much time to picture-work for the Journal.” Bartholomew continued to do spot pieces for the Journal, until he was finally able to convince his editors that cartooning could be a way for the paper to connect with its readers. Starting in 1890, McClain and the young Bartholomew engaged in daily meetings to figure out what issue of the day should feature in his front-page cartoons. The illustrations published for the afternoon Journal often dealt with news right off the presses, and it was this, as well as Bartholomew’s wit and courage with the pen that made the cartoons so popular both in Minneapolis as well as other national papers and journals. His cartoons ran nearly every day from 1890-1915, and the Bartholomew Collection at the Hennepin County Library now consists of over 6,000 prints from the Journal’s archives of his time there. By the time Bartholomew left the Journal, the illustration department had expanded to a staff of seven and was known around the world for its biting cartoon editorializing of current events.

After his retirement from the newspaper, Bartholomew continued to give large lecture-style chalk talks for students and everyday citizens at the Federal School, served as dean of the Illustrating and Cartooning school, and dedicated himself to the service of his Congregationalist church in Minneapolis as church clerk. Bartholomew married Ella L. Henderson of Monticello in 1890, and together they had three boys: Orlo Alf, Robert Henderson, and Charles Lewis Jr. In addition to formal teaching, Bartholomew also delivered general lectures to the public using ‘chalk talks and crayon presentation’, and traded correspondence with amateur and aspiring artists in the Minneapolis area, writing and signing each letter as he would have had done for the daily cartoons that had won himself and his paper fame as one of the sharp wits and sharper pens of the early cartooning era.


7.33 Linear Feet (16 boxes)

Language of Materials



The cartoon proofs in boxes 1-15 are arranged chronologically starting with February 1, 1901 and continuing to September 16, 1915. The proofs are not in numerical order by identifier.

Related Materials in Hennepin County Library Special Collections

The following books are in Special Collections Minneapolis Collection:

Bartholomew, Charles Lewis. Amiable libels : more than one hundred sketches of Minneapolitans. Chicago : Reilly & Britton, 1916. 741.5 W76.4

Bartholomew, Charles Lewis. Bart's cartoons. [Minneapolis, Minn.] : The Journal Printing Co., 1905. NC1429.B34

Bartholomew, Charles Lewis. Cartoons of the Spanish-American War. Minneapolis, Minn., The Journal Printing Co., 1899. E735.B28

Bartholomew, Charles Lewis. Expansion, being Bart's best cartoons for 1899 : taken from the Minneapolis journal. Minneapolis, Minn. : Journal Print. Co, 1900. 741.5 B28.3

These books are located on the 3rd floor of Central Library in the Arts and Literature stacks.

Bartholomew, Charles Lewis. Illustrating and cartooning. Minneapolis, Minn. : Federal Schools, c1923. NC640 .M63 1923

Bartholomew, Charles Lewis. Modern Illustrating. Minneapolis, Minn. : Federated Schools, Inc. NC640 .M63

Processing Information

This collection was processed by originally processed by Ian Stade in 2010. Published materials added to box 1 by Jenna Himsl in June 2018.


Charles L. Bartholomew Cartoon Proofs and Biographical Material
Ian Stade, revised by Jenna Himsl
June 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hennepin County Library Special Collections Repository

Minneapolis Central Library
300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis MN 55401 U.S.A.