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Herbert Lawrence Block "Herblock"

(1909 - 2001)


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Hebert Lawrence Block, known to his colleauges and audiences as “Herblock,” was born on October thirteenth, 1909 in Chicago, Illinois. He was the third son of David and Tessie Block.

At the age of twelve, Block was offered a scholarship to the Chicago Art Institute. He studied art there part time and finished his high school education.

After learning for only two years at Lake Forest College, Block dropped out of school and took a position at The Chicago Daily News.

Block began to work for the Newspaper Enterprise Association in 1933 and nine years later, he won a Pulitzer Prize for his work there.

From 1943 until 1946, Block served in the United States Army in their Information and Education Division where he put his cartooning skills to good use.

After being released from the army in 1946, Block took a job as a political cartoonist with the Washington Post and continued to work with the Post until his death.

Block is very well-known for his coining of the term “McCarthyism” in his 1950s satirical cartoons and is even more famous for his numerous caricatures and captions of former President Richard Nixon. He was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes for these depictions.

During his lifetime, Block received three individual Pulitzer Prize awards and one shared award for The Washington Post's coverage of the Watergate scandal. He was also given the honor of a Doctor of Laws degree from Colby College in Maine and the Elijah Parish Lovejoy award in 1986.

Because of his brutally honest political work, Block was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 by President Bill Clinton.

In addition to his many politcal cartoons, Block also published twelve books including Herbert Block Special Report. Nearly fifteen books containing Herblock's cartoons have been published since the 1950s.

Herbert Block died at age ninety-one on October seventh, 2001. He never married.

In 2008 Herblock's work was the subject of an exhibition entitled Herblock's Presidents at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.


Sources: The New York Times, Wikipedia.

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