John T. McCutcheon

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John T. McCutcheon, 1902

John Tinney McCutcheon (May 6, 1870 – June 10, 1949) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American newspaper political cartoonist who was known as the "Dean of American Cartoonists".


McCutcheon was born near South Raub, Tippecanoe County, Indiana to Captain John Barr McCutcheon and Clara Glick McCutcheon, he was the younger brother of novelist George Barr McCutcheon, writer of the Graustark books. His son, Shaw McCutcheon was an editorial cartoonist.

He attended Purdue University, where he became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, and graduated in 1889 with a Bachelor of Science degree. At Purdue, he worked with typographer Bruce Rogers on the student newspaper and yearbook. On the Purdue campus, McCutcheon is memorialized in a coeducational dormitory, John T. McCutcheon Hall; the lobby displays an original of one of his drawings, a nearly life-size drawing of a young man.

Baby New Year 1905 chases old 1904 into the history books in this John T. McCutcheon cartoon.


McCutcheon moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he worked at the Chicago Morning News (later named the Chicago Record) and then at the Chicago Tribune from 1903 until his retirement in 1946. In 1907, his famous cartoon, "Injun Summer," was first published, it would make annual appearances in the Tribune for decades.

During World War I, McCutcheon worked as a correspondent and combat artist, flying over battlefields in a bi-plane to research and then provide artwork about the war for publication.

From 1916 to 1979, the McCutcheon family owned Blue Lagoon Island, a cay off Nassau in the Bahamas. In 1917, McCutcheon married Evelyn Shaw, the daughter of his friend Howard Van Doren Shaw, despite being twenty-four years older. McCutcheon introduced Carl Sandburg to the Bahamian song The John B. Sails which subsequently became a standard.

He was the first President of the Chicago Zoological Society from 1921 until 1948, overseeing the construction, opening and early years of Brookfield Zoo. There was talk of renaming the zoo after him, but he refused the offer, he enjoyed traveling the world throughout his life.


McCutcheon received the Pulitzer Prize for Cartoons in 1932 for his Depression-era cartoon about a victim of bank failure. McCutcheon High School in his home county Tippecanoe is named in his honor.

Travel Plaza 1, Mile Post 22 at Portage, Indiana of the Indiana Toll Road is named after John T. McCutcheon.[1]

McCutcheon died in Lake Forest, Illinois.


George Ade (left) and McCutcheon, circa 1894-95
  • Cartoons: A Selection of One Hundred Drawings[2] (1903); with introduction by George Ade
  • Army Song Book. Washington, DC: War Department Commission on Training Camp Activities, 1918.[3]
  • Bird Center Cartoons; A Chronicle of Social Happenings at Bird Center Illinois, 1904.
  • The Mysterious Stranger and Other Cartoons,[4] 1905.
  • Injun Summer,[5] 1907.
  • T.R. in Cartoons,[6] 1910.
  • Doing the Grand Canyon, illustrated, with cartoons by the author, published by Fred Harvey, 1922.
  • The Island Song Book, illustrated with photographs and cartoons by the author. Self-published, 1927.
  • Drawn from Memory: The Autobiography of John T. McCutcheon, Bobbs-Merrill, 1950.
  • Slow Ball Cartoonist: The Extraordinary Life of Indiana Native and Pulitzer Prize Winner John T. McCutcheon of the Chicago Tribune, ISBN 9781557537300, Purdue University Press, 2016


  1. ^ "Travel Plazas / Rest Stops". Archived from the original on 2015-10-13. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  2. ^ John Tinney McCutcheon (1 January 1903). "Cartoons by McCutcheon: A Selection of One Hundred Drawings". A.C. McClurg – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ "Army song book".
  4. ^ McCutcheon, John Tinney (1 January 1905). "The Mysterious Stranger and Other Cartoons". McClure, Phillips & Company – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Injun Summer - John T. McCutcheon".
  6. ^ "T. R. in Cartoons". A. C. McClurg & Company. 1 January 1910 – via Google Books.

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