WHEELING - The Ohio County Public Library has announced a new People's University lecture series, A Cartoon History of the United States, Aug. 27-Sept. 24 at the library located at 52 16th St.
The library also is hosting the Herblock Foundation exhibit "Democracy" through Sept. 17 near the main entrance.
Political cartoons have been part of journalism since Benjamin Franklin published a woodcut of a snake divided into segments with the words "Join, or Die," and cartoonist Thomas Nast had such an impact that his primary target, New York City's Boss Tweed reportedly said, "Stop them damn pictures. I don't care what the papers write about me. My constituents can't read. But, damn it, they can see the pictures."
In today's digital age, political cartoons still shape debates in social media.
The series will explore political cartoons from the founding period through the present using interactive analysis. It will use political cartoons to study history, incorporating some of the Library of Congress's online resources. This series will be highly interactive, with attendees asked to participate in the process of cartoon analysis.
Warren Bernard will be the instructor during the introductory class at 7 p.m. Aug. 27. Bernard has cataloged more than 800 cartoons in the Art Wood Collection at the Library of Congress. His most recent project consisted of compiling Herblock's works into a publication and DVD. He will provide background on Herblock and an introduction to political cartoons throughout American history from Thomas Nast to present.
Historian Hal Gorby will analyze cartoons from Wheeling newspapers and discuss what they say about local history Sept. 3.
Cartoons addressing Constitutional issues, including the Emancipation Proclamation, secession, suffrage, free speech, war powers and Equal Rights Amendment will be discussed Sept. 10.
Privacy verses security in social media and government access will be discussed Sept. 17.
Graphic novels, including Art Speigelman's "Maus" and "Maus II" and Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis" will be discussed Sept. 24. The class will examine graphic novels as works of art, as a literary genre, and as social and political commentary. As part of the library's "Banned Books Week" observance, the class will also explore a few of the graphic novels that have been placed on such lists over the years, including Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" and Craig Thompson's "Blankets."
The series is free and open to the public. Register by calling the library at (304) 232-0244 or emailing lunchwithbooks @yahoo.com.