Clifford K. Berryman

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Clifford K. Berryman

Clifford Kennedy Berryman (April 2, 1869 – December 11, 1949) was a Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist with the Washington Star newspaper from 1907 to 1949. He was also a cartoonist for The Washington Post from 1891 to 1907.

Berryman was born on April 2, 1869, in Clifton, Kentucky, to James Thomas Berryman and Sallie Church Berryman. He married Kate Geddes Durfee in July, 1893, and they had three children: Mary Belle (died as an infant), Florence Seville (an art critic), and James Thomas (a Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist). Berryman was an active member of the Washington Heights Presbyterian Church. He was the first cartoonist member of the Gridiron Club and served as the president in 1926.[1]

Berryman died December 11, 1949, from a heart ailment, and is buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Washington, D.C.[2] He was a Presbyterian.

Editorial cartoons[edit]

Clifford Berryman's 1902 political cartoon in The Washington Post spawned the Teddy bear.

Berryman's father, James, often entertained friends and neighbors with drawings of "hillbillies" from their hometown. Clifford inherited his father's knack for drawing, and was appointed draftsman to the United States Patent Office in Washington, D.C. from 1886 to 1891. During his tenure, Berryman submitted sketches to The Washington Post, and in 1891, he became an understudy of the Post's political cartoonist, George Y. Coffin. After Coffin died in 1896, Berryman took the Post cartoonist position until 1907, at which time he was hired by the Washington Star. He continued to draw political cartoons for the Star until his death in 1949.[1] During his career, Berryman drew thousands of cartoons commenting on American Presidents and politics. Presidential figures included former Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman. The cartoons satirized both Democrats and Republicans and covered topics such as drought, farm relief, and food prices; representation of the District of Columbia in Congress; labor strikes and legislation; campaigning and elections; political patronage; European coronations; the America's Cup; and the atomic bomb.

Berryman was a prominent figure in Washington, D.C., and President Harry S. Truman once told him, "You are ageless and timeless. Presidents, senators and even Supreme Court justices come and go, but the Monument and Berryman stand."[3] Berryman's cartoons can be found at the Library of Congress, National Archives and George Washington University, as well as archives that house presidential collections.[4]

The teddy bear[edit]

Grave of Clifford Berryman at Glenwood Cemetery.

In his November 16, 1902 Washington Post cartoon, "Drawing the Line in Mississippi," Berryman depicted President Theodore Roosevelt showing compassion for a small bear cub. The cartoon inspired New York store owner Morris Michtom to create a new toy and call it the teddy bear.[5]


In 1944, Berryman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning for his drawing "Where is the Boat Going."[6] The cartoon depicted President Franklin D. Roosevelt and other government officials trying to steer the USS Mississippi in several different directions.


  1. ^ a b Guide to the Clifford K. Berryman cartoon collection, 1899–1949 Collection number MS2024, Special Collections Research Center, Estelle and Melvin Gelman Library, The George Washington University, accessed April 2011
  2. ^ "National Figures Among Hundreds at Berryman Rites". The Evening Star. December 13, 1949. p. 2. 
  3. ^ The Washington Post
  4. ^ George Washington University
  5. ^ Theodore Roosevelt Association: Teddy Bear
  6. ^ Pulitzer


External links[edit]