Clifford K. Berryman: Political Cartoonist Extraordinaire
In 1886 at the age of 17, Clifford K. Berryman moved from Kentucky to Washington, DC, to work at the U.S. Patent Office, where he used his self-taught talents to draw patent illustrations. He left the Patent Office in 1891 to become a cartoonist’s understudy for the Washington Post. Within five years, Berryman was chief cartoonist, a position he held until 1907 when he became the front-page cartoonist at the Washington Evening Star. Berryman drew political cartoons for the Star until his death in 1949 at the age of 80.
Washington political circles embraced Berryman’s cartooning. Throughout his extraordinary career, he drew every Presidential administration from Grover Cleveland to Harry Truman. He satirized both Democratic and Republican political figures but never used outlandish caricature, which won him great respect from many politicians. With brilliantly simple pen strokes, Berryman created exacting portraiture that was both flattering and true to his subjects.
Berryman is most celebrated for his November 16, 1902, Washington Post cartoon, “Drawing the Line in Mississippi,” which portrayed an image of the teddy bear for the first time. By some estimates, Berryman drew over 15,000 cartoons in his lifetime and his work was formally recognized in 1944 with a Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning. In 1949, President Harry Truman honored Berryman with a well-deserved compliment, “You are a Washington Institution comparable to the Monument.”
- Portrait of Clifford Berryman - Click to Enlarge
- Clifford Berryman Self Portrait - Click to Enlarge
- Drawing the Line in Mississippi - Cartoon featuring Berryman’s iconic teddy bear