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October Surprise ProFile Friday

Anne Briardy Mergen (1906–1994) was an editorial cartoonist who lived in Miami, Florida. Hired by the Miami Daily News in 1933, she was the first woman mainstream editorial cartoonist in the United States, and for most of her career the only woman in the U.S. working as an editorial cartoonist.

Mergen was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1906. She studied commercial art in Chicago, before moving with her family to Miami in 1926. She worked as a fashion advertising artist for a local department store before joining the Miami Daily News, part of the Cox newspaper chain, in 1933 as its editorial cartoonist. She worked from a home studio and was the mother to two children (a dual role often emphasized in the contemporary press).

She retired in 1956, but continued publishing cartoons as late as 1959.[2] She produced more than 7,000 cartoons on a range of subjects from the Great Depression, World War II, nuclear power, the environment, and the Cold War, as well a general politics. Her work appeared in the Atlanta Journal, Dayton News, and Miami Daily News. She died in 1994.

Mergen’s cartoons were donated to the Cartoon Research Library by her grandchildren, Matthew Bernhardt and Christine Hoverman, and are held as the Anne Mergen Collection which contains 600 originals. Many newspapers containing her cartoons are collected at the Library of Congress, as well as the Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (now known as HistoryMiami). Mergen was a 2011/2012 nominee for the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.

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    I wish I knew about this woman when I was hardcore into political cartooning myself. Passing it on, because how awesome?
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