John R. Fischetti Editorial Cartoon and Illustration Collection

About the Collection

John Fischetti

The John R. Fischetti Collection contains sketchbooks, original drawings, and photomechanically reproduced drawings by the editorial cartoonist, including approximately 3,300 digitized works from more than thirty of his working notebooks from 1960 to 1980 containing political cartoon sketches.

The College Archives & Special Collections at Columbia College Chicago hold the definitive collection of Fischetti notebooks and the sketches illustrating his creative process. These notebooks have been digitized by the College Archives for research use.

As a long-time Chicagoan, Fischetti’s work touched on local issues, but it also addressed national issues such as the Watergate scandal, the energy crisis, the economy, and terrorism.

In 1982 the College established the John Fischetti Editorial Cartoon Competition, an annual event honoring outstanding professional editorial cartoonists.

Funding to digitize the Fischetti working notebooks was awarded through a grant from the Illinois State Library (ISL), a Department of the Office of Secretary of State, using funds provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), under the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).


John Fischetti was born in Brooklyn in 1916 and died in Chicago in 1980. After graduating from Pratt Institute, he went to work for Disney Studios as an animator and later moved to Chicago where he was an illustrator for the Chicago Sun. He entered the U.S. Army in 1942 where he worked for Stars & Stripes.He also moonlighted at the Paris Post. After his return from Europe in 1946, he went to New York to do freelance work for advertising agencies and magazines.

Between 1951 and 1962, he worked with the Newspaper Enterprise Association in New York as an editorial artist. In 1962, Fischetti joined the New York Herald Tribune where he popularized the horizontal cartoon format with grey tones, now a standard of the field. With the demise of the Herald Tribune in 1967, Fischetti returned to Chicago to work as a political cartoonist for the Chicago Daily News. When that paper folded in 1978, he worked for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Fischetti was the recipient of the National Headliners Club medal in 1951, two awards from Sigma Delta Chi society of professional journalists in 1956 and 1958, and four consecutive awards from the National Cartoonists Society from 1962 thorough 1965. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for the body of cartoons he drew in 1968. By the time he died in 1980, his cartoons had appeared in publications such as the Chicago Sun, Chicago Daily News, Chicago Sun-Times, The New York Times, The New York Herald Tribune, and Stars and Stripes. He also illustrated several books, a number of them for children, and his non-editorial work appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Woman's Home Companion, Cosmopolitan, and Punch.

Collection Inventory

Want to see more of the John Fischetti Collection's materials at Columbia College Chicago? Access the online finding aid to see the holdings of the entire collection. Please contact us with any questions and requests to view materials.

Related Resources

Chicago History Museum

The Newberry Library

Syracuse University


Browse the John R. Fischetti Editorial Cartoon and Illustration Collection:

Editorial Cartoons


Travel Sketches