Monday, October 19, 2015

Web Resource: “Politics in Graphic Detail”

Detail from "The Downfall of Mother Bank," 1833  (Politics in Graphic Detail)
The Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP) has launched a new digital exhibit, "Politics in Graphic Detail: Exploring History through Political Cartoons." The HSP site contains about 125 cartoons; users can "search for cartoons on specific topics, analyze individual cartoons in depth, and follow links between cartoons and related contextual material." According to the HSP announcement:
The cartoons featured in the project span American history from the colonial period through the Progressive Era and represent a wide array of topics and situations. Many of the cartoons portray well-known public figures like presidents and politicians, while others depict fictional or generic characters, such as Uncle Sam or figures embodying ethnic stereotypes. Reflecting the evolution of the political cartoon genre, the selected cartoons encompass a variety of visual styles, ranging from intricate scenes with a great deal of text to stark images with few or no words.
The Society's launch announcement provides additional information and technical details. Project leaders created a specific viewer that allows users to view high-resolution images and annotations of each cartoon. Transcripts of text accompany the cartoons. The site also contains essays, teaching plans, and help sections.