University of Texas at Arlington

Scholarly Communication

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Drawn to Politics

by Samantha Dodd January 16, 2018
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Newly added to the vast holdings of the Special Collections at the University of Texas at Arlington is the work of long-time Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial cartoonist Etta Hulme. Gifted to the University from the Hulme family, this collection consists of over ten thousand original cartoons, sketches, and other artwork.

Etta Hulme (1923 -2014) grew up in Sommerville, Texas, and went on to major in Fine Arts at the University of Texas. After graduation, Etta headed west to California to begin her cartooning career in the animation department at Walt Disney Studios. Etta traveled to Chicago where she worked for Dearfield Publishing Company drawing a spin-off comic book called “Red” Rabbit, a parody of the popular cartoon Red Ryder.

Her first editorial cartoons appeared in the Texas Observer during the 1950s. After her family moved back to North Texas, Etta contacted the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The paper agreed to print a few of her cartoons on a freelance basis. By 1972 Hulme was producing six cartoons a week for the afternoon edition of the paper. When Hulme joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, she became the first woman in the paper’s editorial department. For a time, she was the only female editorial cartoonist working for a major metropolitan paper, and in 1982 she was one of three female editorial cartoonists in the country. Her work won her best editorial cartoonist of the year by the National Cartoonist Society in 1982 and 1998. Her final cartoon appeared in the December 2008 edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Described as sharp and smart, witty and well-read, Etta Hulme’s work did not shy away from the issues. Her edginess and liberal ideology offended some, mesmerized others, and gave Hulme a platform on which to voice her opinion. For Hulme, the important issues concerned the equal rights amendment, gun control, and education, though she never missed an opportunity to examine other issues such as environmental protection and health care. While her work predominately covered local, state, and national topics, she also ventured into international politics examining issues such as the Cold War, apartheid, and the struggles in the Middle East.

This collection of Etta Hulme’s work spans from the 1940s-2000s and provides an in depth look at culture, politics, and society. In addition to the original work, this donation of archival materials also includes correspondence, news clippings, photographs, awards, books and literature about cartooning, as well as some periodicals.

Opening this week is an exhibition of her collection: Drawn to Politics-The Editorial Art of Etta Hulme. This exhibit is free and open to the public on the sixth floor of the Central Library.

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