The Library of Congress has long collected original cartoon art so that scholars, fans, and the general public may study, understand, and then share information about the Ninth Art. The Prints & Photographs Division makes more than 125,000 original cartoon drawings and prints available to researchers in person in its reading room. It has scanned selected works to improve access to those who cannot trek to Washington, D.C., to see them in person. In addition, the Library encourages researchers to use millions of cartoon images through its vast holdings of such print publications as periodicals, newspaper microfilm, comic books, and book compilations.
The Library of Congress, founded in 1800, serves as the national library for the United States as well as an information resource for Congress. Since acquiring a large trove of copyright deposit satirical prints in the nineteenth century and 10,000 British cartoon prints in the 1920s, special attention has been devoted to cartoons as works of art on paper. The Library has reached out to individual cartoonists to acquire original drawings and also taken on impressive collections compiled by Caroline and Erwin Swann, Art Wood, Ben and Beatrice Goldstein, and Herblock. From the late 1600s to the present day, on just about any topic you can name, the Library has cartoons. Studying the art form and content of these original works of art on paper has been an exciting experience for people who visit the Prints & Photographs Division from many different countries.