Alternate Views: Perspectives on the American Civil War | Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and MuseumBilly Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

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Alternate Views: Perspectives on the American Civil War

An Exhibition at The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
May 13 – July 12, 2013

The 150th anniversary on the American Civil War is commemorated in this exhibition, which highlights the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum’s growing collection of nineteenth century prints.  Editorial cartoons were not published in newspapers until after the Civil War, when technology made it possible to publish them economicallyin a timely way.  Prior to that, broadsheet prints — etchings, engravings and lithographs — were the means cartoonists used for political commentary.  Popular magazines such as Harper’s Weekly relied on wood engravings to provide illustrations.

Both sides of the conflict are represented in Alternate Views.  As was true during the war, most of the materials represent the views of Union supporters.  There was only one cartoonist who published works favoring of the Confederate States of America:   Adelbert Volck, who published under the pseudonym V. Blada.  Selected examples of his etchings are included in the exhibition.

The complexity of many of the works displayed in this exhibition is striking.  Intricate visual metaphors demand close reading in order to comprehend the meaning of the cartoon.  These images were produced when the pace of life was much different.  These were intended to be read, reread, and then, perhaps, read again.  When we step back in time to consider these works, their messages are clear, passions are heated, and a complex period in our history is revealed.

Alternate Views:  Perspectives on the American Civil War can be viewed from Monday-Friday, 9am to 5 pm.

About the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum:  Our primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection of materials documenting American printed cartoon art (editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons) and to provide access to these collections.  The library is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  It is free and open to the public.  See for further information. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is located at 27 W. 17th Avenue, north of the Wexner Center’s main entrance.  Parking is available at the Ohio Union garage.

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