Cartooning At UNC Topic Of Lecture, Exhibition

Political cartoonist John Branch will speak about his career in a lecture titled “A Tar Heel Cartoonist in Texas: Drawing the Line in the Lone Star State” on April 17 at 5:45 p.m. in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Branch has been the editorial cartoonist of the San Antonio Express-News since 1981. He graduated in 1976 from UNC, where he launched his cartooning career at the The Daily Tar Heel. Branch’s work has been reprinted in The New York Times, USA Today, and Newsweek, and he has published two collections of his work: Out on a Limb (1976) and Would You Buy a Used Cartoon from this Man? (1979).

A reception and viewing of the exhibition “Lines of Humor, Shades of Controversy: A Century of Student Cartooning at UNC” will begin at 5 p.m. in the North Carolina Collection Gallery of Wilson Library. The event is free and open to the public.

“Lines of Humor, Shades of Controversy” presents 177 cartoons from undergraduate publications at UNC between 1907 and 2006. The earliest cartoons appeared in yearbooks around the turn of the twentieth century and student humor magazines by the 1920s. The Daily Tar Heel first introduced student-drawn cartoons on its editorial page in the late 1950s. Many of the topics—freshmen, campus food, athletics—are quite consistent over time; however, many of the older cartoons provide a window on attitudes that would today be considered racist, sexist, or otherwise offensive.

Exhibit highlights include two original cartoons by Jeff MacNelly, Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist and creator of the comic strip Shoe. MacNelly attended UNC from 1965 to 1969. One cartoon depicts the student strikes and boycotts of the University’s dining services in 1969. The other is a watercolor painting featuring Shoe characters in front of Howell Hall to commemorate UNC’s bicentennial in 1993.

Non-Conformists in North Carolina

I found this interesting detail of Piedmont North Carolina on a 1778 map of the eastern United States published in Paris:


The French phrase at the center translates to something like “New Garden where the non-conformists meet.” New Garden was a town at the time — the name was later changed to Guilford College and it is now part of greater Greensboro. But the question remains: who were the non-conformists? It’s probably not the Moravians — the area where they settled was farther to the west. So that leaves the Quakers, but, as you can see from the detail shown here, Quaker assemblies were clearly labeled as such. Did the French also refer to the Quakers as non-conformists? Or was there another group there at the time?