Oliphant's political cartoons on display

Political cartoons featuring the late U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State Edmund S. Muskie drawn by nationally syndicated cartoonist Pat Oliphant will be on display in the Muskie Room of the Edmund S. Muskie Archives at Bates College through May 30. The public is invited to view the exhibit free of charge weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 207-786-6354.

The collection of Oliphant’s work includes 15 cartoons drawn between 1969 and 1996. Most offer commentary on Muskie’s activities from 1969 to 1972, when he was a frontrunner for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination. One large caricature of Muskie on display was unveiled at his 80th birthday celebration in 1994.

“While some of the cartoons seem to poke fun at Muskie, as Oliphant did with all political figures, Muskie generally took the attention in good humor,” said Christopher Beam, director of the Muskie Archives and lecturer in history at Bates. “Muskie enjoyed political cartoons, and appreciated the cartoonist’s craft and the difficulties of condensing sometimes complex commentary into a single rendering.”

The prints originally were published in a number of national newspapers and were later acquired by the Muskie Foundation in Washington, D.C., which has exhibited them at the Maine State House and has loaned them indefinitely to Bates College. The foundation was established in 1997 to promote the legacy of one of Maine’s leading citizens and to support the activities of both the Muskie Archives at Bates and the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.

Dedicated in 1985, the Edmund S. Muskie Archives documents the Bates alumnus’ career in public service from his first election to the Maine House of Representatives in 1946 to his appointment as U.S. Secretary of State in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter, and his activities after leaving public office. It holds a permanent collection of memorabilia from Muskie’s personal and public life and represents the first such facility in Maine to be established as a separate repository at an institution of higher education. Each year the Muskie Archives sponsors lectures, symposia and conferences on national and state politics, foreign policy and environmental issues.

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