Chattanooga, B.C. (Before Clay)

Jerry Summers, a lifelong Chattanoogan and historian of the city,
remembers the editorial cartoonists of The Chattanooga Times.

Chattanooga over the past 59 years has been fortunate to have at least three editorial cartoonists who have entertained the public with humor, sarcasm, ridicule and suggestions of often ignored recommendations on politics, sports and other subjects that would hopefully improve the image of the community,

Clay Bennett, a Pulitzer Prize recipient for Editorial Cartooning in 2002, of the current Chattanooga Times/Free Press since 2007, has inherited the burdens of informing the public on the above items and many others in his cartoons that are enjoyed by some readers and criticized by others.

But Jerry remember a time before Clay.

Prior to Clay joining the Times, the paper’s editorial cartoonist was Bruce Plante, beginning in 1985 who teased the increasingly conservative reading public with the Chattanooga Times prior to leaving for the Tulsa World in 2007. Bruce’s cartoons had a much more liberal point of view, but he dodged no one or any issue with his creative comments.

And before Bruce was another Bruce.

The third member of the cartoon cartel who provided entertainment to our area was Bruce Bledsoe who claimed to be “a survivor of Highland Park,” and was also a Chattanooga illustrator in the community before Plante and Bennett.

Read Jerry’s nostalgic piece about Chattanooga cartoonists here.


But Jerry is a youngster and wasn’t around when illustrator Leo Hershfield was drawing cartoons for The Chattanooga Times before moving on to become a famed courthouse artist.