The Historian's Craft: Race & Comics, 1865-1945
History 203
Professor Joshua Paddison
Spring 2014
Wittenberg University

Race and Comics Resources

In his syllabus Professor Paddison talks about how comics and cartoons came into being after the American Civil War due to improvements in the technology of printing. These improvements led to the establishment of weekly newspapers such as Harper's Weekly and others such as Puck and Judge. The development of comics as we know them began in Great Britain in the 1840s-1850s with the introduction of the magazine, Punch. The use of comics as source material in historical research is important as it reflects the views and beliefs of not only the editors and publishers, but also the population at large. Some of the images and language may be offensive, but it is a window into a different time in America and the world and should be viewed through a scholarly lens.

Primary sources versus secondary sources

What is the difference between a primary source and a secondary source? A primary source is typically one written or recorded by a participant in the event, while a secondary source is compiled by an author from primary or secondary sources. An example of a primary source in the history of race and comics would be an oral history or memoir by an illustrator. This is a document recounted by an illustrator about his carreer and life. A secondary source would be a book written by a historian about race or comics.

Manuscripts and letters are primary sources as they were written by the person observing the event. Books may be a collection of primary sources such as copies of letters or documents relating to an event. Reports of events made by the participants would be primary sources, even though they may be printed in books. Newspaper and magazine articles may be considered primary sources, if they are eye-witness accounts of an event. If not, then you may need to consider them a secondary source.

Finding Books

EZRA– Wittenberg’s library catalog

OhioLINK – Ohio academic libraries catalog

WorldCat – used for materials not found in the above catalogs

Subject Headings: Library of Congress Subject Headings

Selected Reference Books

The World Encyclopedia of Cartoons
Main NC 1325 .W67 1980

Comic Art of the United States Through 2000, Animation and Cartoons
Main NC 1420 .L47 2005

Other Print Resources

All the Views Fit to Print : Changing Images of the U.S. in Pravda Political Cartoons, 1917-1991
Main E 183.8 .S65 M379 2001

The Aesthetics of Comics
Main PN 6710 .C35 2000

Caricature: From Leonardo to Picasso
Main NC 1340 .H63 1957

Cartoons and Caricatures
Main NC 1340 .H54

The Comics Studies Reader
Main PN 6710 .C667 2009

English Caricaturists and Graphic Humorists of the Nineteeth Century: How They Illustrated and Interpreted Their Times
Main NC 1475 .E8 1972

Harper's Weekly
Storage v.1:1 (1857)-v.65:3169 (1976)

Mightier Than the Sword
Main NC 1340 .R6 1969

The Political Cartoon
Main NC 1763 .P66 P73

T.H. Nast: His Period and His Pictures
Main NC 1429 .N3 P14

Them Damned Pictures: Explorations in American Political Cartoon Art
Main NC 1425 .F57 1996

Theses & Dissertations

In the course of your research you may encounter items described as "thesis" or "dissertation". These are the culmination of a masters or doctoral student's research. A thesis is written by a student completing a master's degree in a subject, while a dissertation is written by a student completing their doctoral studies. Many times a doctoral dissertation will ultimately be published (with certain revisions) as a book. A thesis or a dissertation is subject to a review of scholars in the field before it is accepted by the university providing the degree. These documents may prove to be good sources of information, as they often look at very specific issues or problems. Libraries (including Thomas Library) do not typically purchase copies of theses or dissertations, but they are may available through OhioLINK or Inter-Library Loan.

Proquest, a company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, provides microfilming and distribution of theses and dissertations. Their database, Digital Dissertations, may be searched to determine if a dissertation exists and if it is available. Some recent theses and dissertations are available online through this database.

Electronic Books

The library has access to a collection of electronic books which you may encounter as part of your research. They are identified with the words [Computer File] in the title.


Thomas Library has a large collection of microforms, including microfilm and microfiche. Occasionally an article or book you need may be in a microform format. The Library has microfilm and microfiche reader/printers that you can use to print the article or relevant pages of a book. The cost is $.15 per page.

Finding journal articles

Online Indexes

America: History and Life - indexes scholarly journals dealing with the history of the United States and Canada. The period of time covered dates from pre-history to the present.

American Periodical Series Online 1740-1900 - indexes numerous periodicals from the 18th and 19th centuries and provides full-text of the articles.

Ethnic NewsWatch - provides full-text of newspapers, journals and magazines of the minority, ethnic and native press.

HarpWeek - HarpWeek is an online version of Harper's Weekly, one of the most famous American papers of the 19th century. Subtitled "A journal of civilization."

Historical Abstracts - indexes scholarly articles dealing with world history, exclusive of the United States and Canada. The period of time covered is from 1450 to the present.

Jewish Studies Source - includes over 400 full-text titles, including many that are unique to this resource.

JSTOR – JSTOR is an electronic full-text archive of journals in various disciplines, including history.

New York Times - Historical - indexes the New York Times from 1851-present with full-text of the articles.

Electronic Resources

JSTOR – JSTOR is an electronic full-text archive of journals in various disciplines, including history.

Library of Congress American Memory - this web site contains a variety of primary source materials regarding African American history and sports history. It includes a section on Jackie Robinson and the integration of the major leagues.

Ohiolink Electronic Journal Collection – the EJC is provided by Ohiolink and is an electronic full-text archive of journals in various disciplines, including history.

Using "Journals The Library has"

Thomas Library has access to several thousand journals in a variety of formats. The "Journals the Library Has" function allows you to search for the title of a journal to see if Thomas Library owns it, in what format and what the dates of coverage are for the title. You should always check "Journals the Library Has" before requesting an item via OhioLINK or Inter-Library Loan.

Scholarly vs. Popular Articles

When conducting research it is critical to know the difference between scholarly and popular articles. Depending on the class and the research topic faculty may not accept popular articles as a basis for your research. Be sure to talk with your professor if you have any questions about the articles you wish to use. The Library has a web page which can provide assistance to you in making the distinction between scholarly and popular articles.

Web Sites

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers - A joint project of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress this site contains full-text of many United States newspapers published from 1836- to 1922. With over 7,000,000 digitized pages available this is a good source for newspaper articles from around the nation.

Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia - Housed at Ferris State University in the FLITE Library. The Museum was founded by, and is curated by, Dr. David Pilgrim, Vice-President for Diversity and Inclusion at Ferris State University.

Judge - an American humor magazine with illustrations it was published from 1881 to 1947. There is no one site for the archives or cartoons, but a search on Google for "Judge magazine" will retrieve a number of sites where issues of Judge may be found.

Puck - published from 1871 to 1918 was the first successful American humor magazine. There is no one site for the archives or cartoons, but a search on Google for "Puck magazine" will retrieve a number of sites where issues of Puck may be found.

Punch (Cartoon Library) - the official site of Punch cartoons.

Inter-Library Loan (ILL)

As a student at Wittenberg you have access to a large number of resources, but sometimes the article you want is not available here or via full-text online or the book or video you want is not available here or in Ohiolink. When that happens you need to use our inter-library loan service. By using ILL you can request a copy of an article or a book or video from another library. Most journal articles may not be requested through Ohiolink so you will need to request them on the Thomas Library periodicals ILL form. Check with a Reference Librarian to see if the article you need is available through Ohiolink. Books and videos should be requested on the Thomas Library book ILL form. Items will be delivered at the Circulation desk where you can pick them up and use them. Remember, it can take a few weeks for ILL to be delivered so plan ahead.

Audio-Visual Resources

You may also find audio-visual resources which may be of use to you. These may be videotapes, DVDs, or audio recordings. These are housed in the Audio-Visual Department of the Library and may have special rules about their usage.

Personal Research Consultation (PeRC)

These are one hour appointments with a librarian to discuss your topic and how to proceed with your research. You may schedule them by e-mail, phone or in-person at the reference desk. Doug Lehman is the liaison librarian for the History Department.

Return to Thomas Library Web Page

Web page by Doug Lehman, Wittenberg University
phone: 327-7016

February 10, 2014