January 22, 2022

Special Collections: Pulitzer Prize Winning Political Cartoonist Patrick Oliphant Donates an “Extensive, Well-Preserved Archive” of His Material to the University of Virginia

From the University of Virginia:

[Patrick] Oliphant, who began his editorial career as a copy boy in his native Adelaide, Australia at age 18, is lauded as one of today’s most influential political cartoonists. In the span of his more-than-60-year career, he has drawn more than 10,000 cartoons, which were syndicated to newspapers around the U.S. as well as abroad.

Many of these – along with a variety of other original media – will now live at the University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library.

“The collection is massive,” Special Collections Curator Molly Schwartzburg said. “It is what we dream of when we imagine what a creative person’s archive might look like – a wide range of materials with great research potential.”


“We’re acquiring this archive at a really critical moment: we don’t know what the future is for this genre,” Schwartzburg said. “Now we have, here at UVA, a remarkable archive to show us what that past was, through one of the most influential editorial cartoonists of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.”

The collection’s breadth and depth are significant. Yet what is perhaps more remarkable is the pristine condition in which it was preserved.

For this, we can thank Oliphant’s wife, Susan. Conservator by trade, she preserved and maintained the collection. “Without her and her background as a conservator, we wouldn’t have what we [do],” Schwartzburg said. “Not only did she keep and arrange a huge range of Oliphant’s work, she kept it in exquisite condition.”

The archive will be available to researchers after it has been processed; the library is in the process of planning an exhibition to showcase the collection as soon as possible.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement 

LISTEN ONLINE: Radio Interview with Special Collections Curator Molly Schwartzburg and Slideshow: “Oliphant’s Archive to Live at UVA” (via WVTF)


About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.