This collection of more than 400 Lincoln-related cartoons is derived from HarpWeek’s Lincoln and the Civil database of 49 Civil War era periodicals.  The cartoons have been scanned at high resolution and come from 21 illustrated journals that varied in type and allegiance.  They include the three prominent American weeklies of the period—Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, Harper’s Weekly, and New York Illustrated News; campaign newspapers such as The Rail Splitter, Campaign Plain Dealer, and Strong’s Campaign Pictorial; satirical publications such as The Comic Monthly, The Phunny Phellow, and Vanity Fair; and pro-Confederate journals published in the American South—Southern Illustrated News and Southern Punch—and in Britain—Fun and Punch.  The vast majority of the cartoons include images of Lincoln, but a few only reference him textually.  In all, Abraham Lincoln spans the period from his presidential campaign in 1860 through the major events of the Civil War to his assassination in 1865. 

The index consists of main and sub-entries, with the main entries organized into six categories:

People:  important individuals who appear in the cartoons (e.g., William Henry Seward).

Symbols:  nations, groups of people (e.g., Black Americans), or concepts (e.g., peace) represented by human or mythological figures, animals, or objects.

Geographic Places:  nations, states, regions, cities, neighborhoods, or streets of importance (e.g., Wall Street) referenced in the cartoons; the main entries are often further refined by topical descriptors (e.g., “Chicago, government and politics”).

Topics:  a wide range of subjects that comprise the central and supporting features of the cartoons; essentially, anything that is not an individual person, symbol, or geographic place.  The following list gives an idea of the diverse types of cartoon topics that have been indexed, with main entry examples of each:


Land battles and skirmishes, Civil War

New York City, riots and civil disturbances

Parades and processions, United States

Presidential campaign and election, 1860

Thanksgiving Day

Business and the economy

Civil War, Union, public finances

Dry goods business and stores

Greenbacks and paper currency

Types of people

Freedmen (emancipated slaves)


Irish immigrants and Irish-Americans

Physicians and the medical profession

Buildings and venues

White House


Barrooms, grogshops, saloons, and taverns

Activities, behaviors, and conditions

Diseases, illnesses, and medical conditions

Fighting and brawling

Morality and ethics

Stagecoach travel, United States


Higher Law

Memory and remembrance, Civil War

States rights


Lectures, orations, and speeches

Mottoes, banners, slogans, and epigraphs


Publishing and the arts

Literary references, Shakespeare

New York Herald


Verse illustrated


Democratic Party, national

Sanitary Commission, United States


Government and politics, comparison-contrast

United States and Britain, foreign affairs




Natural phenomena


Snow and snowstorms


Cabs and carriages, horse-drawn

Clothing and fashion, men's


Musical instruments

Publications: all index entries organized by the journal title in which they appeared (e.g., Vanity Fair).

Artists: each identified cartoonist (e.g., Frank Bellew) is a main entry, with sub-entries of cartoon titles and subjects (since illustrators and cartoonists often worked for more than one publication, this category offers a way to view the scope of their work).

Biographies:  In order for viewers to know about the people depicted in the cartoons, the index also provides links to biographical sketches created by HarpWeek of more than 60 public figures of importance.


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