Pulitzer Prize Winning Vaughn Shoemaker Too

As Christianity’s most holy season approaches the Assembly of God
celebrates the life of two-time Pulitzer Prize winning, and man of God,
editorial cartoonist Vaughn Richard Shoemaker (1902-1991).


Exhibiting more confidence than he felt, Shoemaker went to the offices of the Chicago Daily News to ask for a job. Told there were no openings, Shoemaker returned the next day, and the next, and the next, until his presence became annoying. One day he was waiting in the office to see if there were any openings when one of the newspaper artists, an alcoholic who often failed to meet his deadline, did not appear for work and the editor was in a bind. He looked at the 19-year-old Shoemaker and put him immediately to work, with a seat next to Chet Gould, the eventual creator of the Dick Tracy cartoon strip.

Three years later, the chief cartoonist at the Daily News took a job at the New York Herald. Two weeks later, his replacement was offered a job with King Features Syndicate. The third man to try the job was distracted with family issues and failed to meet deadline three days in a row leaving the presses on hold while the art department tried to find a cartoon for the front page. With the staff decimated, the art director looked at Shoemaker and said, “Kid, do you think you can draw the cartoon while I try to send out of town for a cartoonist?”

Not even knowing if the paper was Democratic or Republican, Shoemaker said, “Sure I can!” When he marched into the chief cartoonist’s office, he realized he had just offered to draw his first political cartoon for a paper with a staff of 3,000 and more than half a million readers. Shoemaker later said, “I froze up. My stomach was churning and I started to sweat. Then I remembered my mother, who prayed to God every day. I was desperate. So I got down on my knees, alone in the middle of the chief cartoonist’s office, and asked God for help. And He gave it to me.”

The Assembly of God remembers Vaughn Shoemaker
who appeared in the February 24, 1940 issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.



Additional reading:
“Shoes & John Q. Public” by R. C. Harvey from The Comics Journal

2 thoughts on “Pulitzer Prize Winning Vaughn Shoemaker Too

  1. It would be interesting to see that first editorial cartoon he did, if it isn’t one that’s already on the page here.

  2. Tried to find that 1922 cartoon but failed,
    it doesn’t seem to be on the internet.
    Maybe in a Chicago library?

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