Bob Chambers (cartoonist)
Robert William Chambers (April 13, 1905 – March 27, 1996) was a cartoonist and illustrator from Nova Scotia whose work appeared in the Halifax Chronicle Herald. At his peak, Chambers produced nine cartoons every week: six for morning papers and three for afternoon papers. His career lasted 53 years.
Born in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Chambers began drawing at an early age. By age nineteen in 1924, Chambers traded the Annapolis Valley for New York City where he took night classes at the Art Students League of New York. During the day, he drew cartoons. He went on to work at Fables Pictures Inc. and illustrated Aesop's Fables. After two years, Chambers worked for Paul Terry whose company Terrytoons produced feature length animations during the 1930s and 1940s. To make ends meet, Chambers illustrated covers for sheet music and created drawings for tabloid magazines as well as United Features Syndicate and the New York Evening Graphic.
In 1932, Chambers returned to Nova Scotia where he was hired as an editorial cartoonist for the Liberal newspaper, the Halifax Chronicle. He was fired after the Liberals won the provincial election in August 1933. Chambers returned to New York for six months where he worked for the National Screen Service. After returning to Halifax, Chambers was rehired to the Chronicle but on May 17, 1937 he joined the rival Conservative newspaper, the Halifax Herald for better pay, replacing Donald McRitchie. The two newspapers merged in 1949 and Chambers continued to work for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald for the rest of his career.
His cartoons often featured Robert Stanfield, the Nova Scotia premier and leader of the federal Conservative party; Gerald Regan; and G.I. Smith's government in the late 1960s. He was known for his depiction of the Little Man, a regular citizen wearing only a barrel and dealing with life's daily challenges.
While working for the Chronicle-Herald, he published several anthologies of his editorial cartoons, as well as a small paperback booklet entitled Halifax In Wartime, A Collection of Drawings by Robert W. Chambers.
In May 1976, Chambers retired at the age of 71, fifty-three years after publishing his first cartoon with the Chronicle on May 2, 1923. Chambers died in March 1996, two weeks before his ninety-first birthday.
- Chambers won two National Newspaper Awards for his work: one in 1953 for his drawing of Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent in Washington, and again in 1966 for a cartoon of John Diefenbaker levitating.
- Honorary degrees from St. Francis Xavier University in 1965, Dalhousie University in 1976, and Acadia University in 1995.
- In 1976 Chambers became a Member of the Order of Canada
- In 1977 he was inducted into the Canadian News Hall of Fame.
- Desbarats, Peter and Terry Mosher. The Hecklers. A History of Canadian Political Cartooning and a Cartoonists' History of Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, National Film Board of Canada, 1979.
- Grant, Dorothy. Captivating artist’s conception of wartime Halifax. Halifax: The Chronicle Herald, 2014.
- Conrad, Margaret, "The Art of Regional Protest: The Political Cartoons of Donald McRitchie, 1904-1937", Acadiensis, 1991.