Bob Chambers (cartoonist)

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Robert William Chambers (April 13, 1905 – 1996) was a cartoonist and illustrator from Nova Scotia whose work appeared in the Halifax Chronicle Herald. At his peak, Chambers produced nine cartoons week: six for morning papers and three for afternoon papers. His career lasted 53 years.

Early years[edit]

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. During the day, he drew cartoons. He went on to work at Fable 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.

Chronicle Herald[edit]

In 1932, Chambers returned to Halifax where he was hired as an editorial cartoonist for the Liberal newspaper, the Halifax Chronicle. He was fired after the provincial election in August that year. Chambers returned to New York for six months where he worked for the National Screen Services. 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. He continued to work for the Chronicle for the rest of his career.

His cartoons often featured Robert Stanfield, the Nova Scotian 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 who deals with life's daily challenges.

Retirement[edit]

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.

Awards[edit]

  • Chambers won two National Newspaper Awards for his work: one in 1953 for his drawing of then Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent in Washington
  • National Newspaper Award for his 1966 for a cartoon of John Diefenbaker swinging from a tree.
  • 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.

References[edit]

  • 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.