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President Kennedy Welcomes Cartoonists to White House

May 9, 1963 - President Kennedy today welcomed members of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists to the White House and engaged in playful banter with them. “You see, the hair is much less than you have it,” the President quipped, referring to the cartoonists’ habit of picturing him with a boyish shock falling over his eyes. He was also thinner than the cartoonists drew him, Mr. Kennedy said. “I deliberately took off about five pounds before this meeting,” he said with a laugh. The President praised the newspaper artists for their ability to pack “conviction and humor and passion” plus a message into one picture. “I think it makes you really the most exceptional commentators on the American scene today,” he declared. The cartoonists gave the President an original woodblock drawing by Thomas Nast, the cartoonist. It showed a woman, posed by Nast’s mother, darning a flag. There were also, for the Kennedy children, some drawings of Santa Claus by Nast, who originated the American conception of St. Nick. Mr. Kennedy thanked the association for the gifts and autographed several caricatures of himself which artists produced on the spot.


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