Comics, Cartoons, Drawings and Doodles

The Library/Archives Division holds the collections of various Nebraska artists and cartoonists.  One such collection is that of Guy Spencer, cartoonist for the Omaha World-Herald from 1899-1939.

Guy Spencer at his drawing board (RG1503.AM)
Guy Spencer (Omaha World-Herald, Jan. 15, 1939)

Born in Missouri in 1878, Spencer grew up in Falls City, Nebraska.  The only formal art education he received was the six months he spent at an Omaha penmanship school.  After submitting several drawings to the Omaha World-Herald, Spencer was hired on at $10 per week.  Guy Spencer worked for the Omaha World-Herald for 40 years, retiring in 1939.

The Guy Spencer collection contains several scrapbooks of cartoons and drawings cut out of the Omaha World-Herald, as well as various original pen and ink drawings.  Here are a few examples…

Cartoon about County Goverment (RG1503.AM) Cartoon about County Government (RG1503.AM)
The Raiders cartoon (RG1503.AM) The Raiders cartoon (RG1503.AM)

From these cartoons you can see that Spencer illustrated both local and statewide issues, but he also drew cartoons relating to national and international events.

War of the Worlds cartoon (RG1503.AM) “On the carpet” cartoon (RG1503.AM)
Hitler cartoon (RG1503.AM) “In the hollow of one man’s hand” cartoon (RG1503.AM)

In the Winter 2008 issue of Nebraska History, there is an article by Patricia Gaster entitled, “A 1914 Cartoon Calendar: Drawings by Guy R. Spencer.” You can see excerpts from this issue on our website. For additional information about this and other collections held by the Nebraska State Historical Society, visit our Search Collections page.

-Tom Mooney, Curator of Manuscripts

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3 Responses to Comics, Cartoons, Drawings and Doodles

  1. Michael Tan Creti says:

    can any one help me identify the debate between Rosewater and Gurley in 1902 which launched Spencer’s career

    • Tom Mooney says:

      According to Patricia Gaster’s article, “Eye on the Midwest: The 40-Year Career of Cartoonist Guy R. Spencer,” Nebraska History, vol. 62, no. 4 (Winter, 1981), Spencer became established after a series of cartoons depicting the Orpheum Theater debates between Edward Rosewater and William F. Gurley. This was taken from the Omaha World Herald article at the time of Spencer’s retirement on January 15, 1939. I’m not sure what the main subjects of the debates were, but I can check with Pat Gaster to see if she knows any more about the debates. You may have to go back to the microfilm of the Omaha World Herald for 1902 to see if you can find the original articles about the debates.

  2. Pat Gaster says:

    The Rosewater-Gurley debate concerned the congressional candidacy of Nebraska Republican David H. Mercer, who had been in office since 1893 and was seeking re-election. Rosewater didn’t support Mercer, and he was not re-elected in November 1902. See the Omaha World-Herald, May 10, 1902, for Spencer’s cartoon featuring Rosewater and Gurley in the boxing ring with Mercer and others watching from the sidelines.

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