John T. McCutcheon

May 6, 1870
Date of Death
June 10, 1949
United States

[John T. McCutcheon] Introduction

John Tinney McCutcheon (1870–1949) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning American newspaper political cartoonist and author, who was widely recognised as the ‘Dean of American Cartoonists’ before his death. After graduating from Purdue University, McCutcheon moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1890 to work as an artist and writer for the Chicago Morning News. He quickly made a name for himself by introducing human interest themes into cartoons, and in 1903 joined the staff of the Chicago Tribune. Over the next forty years, he became renowned for his cartoons, such as ‘Injun Summer’, ‘The Colors’, and the ‘Bird Center’ series. Also a war correspondent and combat artist, McCutcheon reported from Europe during World War I and the Spanish–American War, and also made trips to Mexico, Africa, and the Bahamas. Following his retirement in 1946, McCutcheon published his autobiography, Drawn From Memory, posthumously in 1950. He remained a top figure in U. S. political cartooning until his death in 1949.

[John T. McCutcheon] Early life and education

John Tinney McCutcheon was born on May 6, 1870 in rural Tippecanoe County, Indiana to Captain John Barr McCutcheon and Clara (Glick) McCutcheon. His father was an American Civil War veteran, a farmer, stock raiser, and sheriff of Tippecanoe County. The family moved to Lafayette, Indiana in 1876, when John Barr McCutcheon was named the first director of Purdue University's farming operations. McCutcheon had two brothers and one sister - novelist George Barr McCutcheon (1866–1928), columnist and commercial editor Ben Frederick McCutcheon, and their sister Jessie (McCutcheon) Nelson. They all wrote and drew from a young age. McCutcheon attended Purdue University, graduating in 1889 with a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial arts. While at Purdue, he was a founding member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and helped to establish the Exponent student newspaper and the Debris yearbook, of which he was co-editor.

[John T. McCutcheon] Career

Paragraph One: John T. McCutcheon wrote local news columns for the Lafayette Journal in Indiana and later moved to Chicago where he worked as an artist for the Chicago Morning News. McCutcheon collaborated with friend and Sigma Chi fraternity brother George Ade on "All Roads Lead to the Fair" and "Stories of the Streets and the Town" and the duo had several collections of their work published. McCutcheon's first front-page cartoon appeared in 1895 and his five-column work featured humorous cartoons, as well as the signature appearance of a non-descript dog. McCutcheon introduced a new type of cartoon with human-interest themes in 1902 and began a famous series of boy-themed cartoons. He left the Record-Herald in 1903 to work for the Chicago Tribune, bringing along his recognizable cartoons, and was eventually awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his 1931 editorial cartoon "A Wise Economist Asks A Question."

Paragraph Two: In addition to his work as a newspaper cartoonist, McCutcheon experienced many adventures during his lifetime. He was a war correspondent and combat artist who covered the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, and the Second Boer War in South Africa, as well as Europe during World War I. McCutcheon and Ade also collaborated on illustrated stories during their 1895 European journey and McCutcheon was an eye-witness to the Battle of Manila Bay during his 1898 trip around the world. He also took part in big-game hunting with Theodore Roosevelt during their 1909-10 Africa safari and met and drew a portrait of Pancho Villa in Mexico in 1914. McCutcheon experienced the German invasion of Belgium first-hand during his 1914-16 war correspondent trip to Europe and returned to his post as a cartoonist in Chicago upon his return.

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 Educated at

  • Purdue University


  • Journalist