Low, David, 1891-1963

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David Alexander Cecil Low, illustrator, caricaturist, and journalist was born in 1891 in Dunedin, New Zealand. One of the most famous political caricaturists of the 20th century, he produced two dozen compilations of previously published drawings, including A Cartoon History of Our Times (1939), Low on the War (1941), and Years of Wrath (1946). The 1943 film The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, was based on Low's most famous cartoon character. Low died in London on September 19, 1963.

From the description of David Low papers, 1897-1985 (inclusive) 1920-1963 (bulk). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702131702

David Alexander Cecil Low was born in 1891 in Dunedin, New Zealand, to David Brown and Caroline Flanagan Low. At an early age the Low children were removed from school because their parents felt that the educational system inhibited their natural intellectual curiosity and growth. Thereafter the children were educated by their parents at home and encouraged to develop their talents; David's was drawing. At the age of eleven he sold his first cartoon. This was the beginning of a career as one of the most famous political caricaturist of the twentieth century.

As an adolescent, Low sold drawings, cartoons, and caricatures of local individuals to various illustrated publications in New Zealand. At seventeen he landed his first full-time job as political cartoonist with the Christchurch Spectator, where he worked for three years. In 1911 Low left for Australia to work on the Bulletin, where for the next nine years he thoroughly learned his trade and produced The Billy Book, a compilation of caricatures of Billy Hughes, Australia's colorful prime minister. This was the first of dozens of similar works Low would produce throughout his life. Having gained recognition as one of the most talented young cartoonists in the Empire, Low accepted an invitation to work in London, arriving there in December 1919.

He began his London career with the Star . Soon after his arrival he married Madeline Kenning of Auckland, New Zealand, whom he had met on the trip. In 1927 Low began his twenty-three-year association with Lord Beaverbrook's Evening Standard . This union of an arch-liberal caricaturist with an arch-conservative newspaper proved highly successful. Low established a worldwide reputation as a champion of democracy and freedom against the forces of aggression and fascism. His caricatures of Mussolini and Hitler stirred the hearts of millions. During this same period Low created his most famous cartoon character, Colonel Blimp. He left the Tory Evening Standard in 1950 for the Labour Daily Herald and in 1953 joined the Manchester Guardian, with which he remained associated until his death in 1963.

During his professional career Low developed friendships with many leading individuals in literature, the arts, journalism, and politics. Toward the end of his life he received numerous honors, including a knighthood in 1962. David Low died in London on September 19, 1963.

For further biographical information, see Low's Autobiography (1957).

From the guide to the David Low papers, 1897-1985 (inclusive), 1920-1963, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Low, David 1891-1963. Cartoon Entitled H. G. Drive - Pressure Increasing. University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
creatorOf Low, David, 1891-1963. David Low papers, 1897-1985 (inclusive) 1920-1963 (bulk). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn [David Low : Australian Art and Artists file]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Beerbohm, Max, Sir, 1872-1956. Great Britain Papers (literary), 1806-1936. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
creatorOf Low, David, 1891-1963. Letter [manuscript]. Libraries Australia
referencedIn Osborne, E. Allen (Eric Allen), 1906-. Eric Allen Osborne papers concerning In letters of red, 1935-1938. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Wardell, Michael. Correspondence with Michael Wardell : 1956-1958. University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Harriet Irving Library
referencedIn Arnold Bennett collection of papers, 1881-1955, 1894-1953 The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.
creatorOf Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946. [Letters and cartoon] / H. G. Wells. Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn National Cartoonists Society Interviews, 1959-1962 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Osborne, E. Allen (Eric Allen), 1906-. Eric Allen Osborne papers concerning In letters of red, 1935-1938. Yale University Library
referencedIn Crawford, Bill, 1913-1982. National Cartoonists Society Living Library 1962. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924. [Letter and etching] Smith College, Neilson Library
referencedIn Clippings regarding cartoonist David Low, 1939-1945. Holocaust Center of Northern California, Holocaust Library and Research Center
creatorOf David Low papers, 1897-1985 (inclusive), 1920-1963 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Papers, 1912-1970 (inclusive), 1912-1954 (bulk). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Eric Allen Osborne papers concerning In letters of red, 1935-1938 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Low, David, 1891-1963. David Low : artist file : study photographs and reproductions of works of art with accompanying documentation 1930?-1990 [graphic] [compiled by staff of The Museum of Modern Art, New York]. Frick Art Reference Library of The Frick Collection
referencedIn Inventory of The Legion Papers: Rare MSS 00149 ., 1927-1935 Cushing Memorial Library,
referencedIn Ohio State University. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. David Low 1891-1963 biographical file. Ohio State University Libraries
creatorOf Shaw, Bernard, 1856-1950. [Note and cartoon] Smith College, Neilson Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Direct Relationships
Relation Name
associatedWith Artists' International Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Azcárate, Pablo de, 1890-1971. person
associatedWith Beaverbrook, Max Aitken, Baron, 1879-1964. person
associatedWith Bennett, Arnold, 1867-1931. person
associatedWith Bird, Kenneth, 1887-1965. person
associatedWith British Broadcasting Corporation. corporateBody
associatedWith Brittain, Vera, 1893-1970. person
associatedWith Cape, Herbert Jonathan, 1879-1960. person
associatedWith Catlin, George Edward Gordon, Sir, 1896- person
associatedWith Chen, Jack, 1908- person
associatedWith Churchill, Winston, Sir, 1874-1965. person
associatedWith Conrad, Joseph, 1857-1924. person
associatedWith Efimov, Boris, 1900- person
associatedWith Eliot, T. S(Thomas Stearns), 1888-1965. person
associatedWith Express Newspapers. corporateBody
associatedWith Fearon, Percy. person
associatedWith Fearon, Percy. person
associatedWith Fitzpatrick, D. R. person
associatedWith Fitzpatrick, D. R. person
associatedWith Forster, E. M. (Edward Morgan), 1879-1970 person
associatedWith Gollancz, Victor, 1893-1967. person
associatedWith Horrabin, James Francis, 1884- person
associatedWith Hungerford, Cyrus. person
associatedWith Hungerford, Cyrus. person
associatedWith Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963. person
associatedWith Huxley, Julian, 1887-1975. person
associatedWith Innes, Guy. person
associatedWith Innes, Guy. person
associatedWith Jonathan Cape Limited. corporateBody
associatedWith Keynes, John Maynard, 1883-1946. person
correspondedWith Komisarjevsky, Theodore, 1882-1954 person
associatedWith Laski, Harold Joseph, 1893-1950. person
associatedWith Lewis, Wyndham, 1882-1957. person
associatedWith Lorant, Stefan, 1901- person
associatedWith MacDonald, James Ramsay, 1866-1937. person
associatedWith Mackworth, Margaret Haig Thomas, Viscountess Rhondda, b. 1883. person
associatedWith Maĭskiĭ, I. M(Ivan Mikhaĭlovich), 1884-1975. person
associatedWith Martin, Kingsley, 1897-1969. person
associatedWith Minchin, Humphrey Cotton person
associatedWith Morrison, Herbert, 1888-1965. person
associatedWith Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Nash, Walter. person
associatedWith Nash, Walter. person
associatedWith National Cartoonists Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Osborne, E. Allen (Eric Allen), 1906- person
associatedWith Priestley, J. B. (John Boynton), 1894- person
associatedWith Priestley, J. B(John Boynton), 1894- person
associatedWith Robertson, W. H. person
associatedWith Robertson, W. H. person
associatedWith Rothenstein, John, Sir, 1901- person
associatedWith Shaw, Bernard, 1856-1950. person
associatedWith Stopes, Marie Carmichael, 1880-1958. person
associatedWith Strube, George, 1891-1956. person
associatedWith Wardell, Michael. person
associatedWith Wedgwood, Josiah C(Josiah Clement), 1872-1943. person
associatedWith Wells, H. G. (Herbert George), 1866-1946. person
associatedWith West, Rebecca, 1892-1983. person
associatedWith Williamson, W. Kennedy person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Australia
Great Britain
Australia
New Zealand
New Zealand
Great Britain
New Zealand
Spain
Spain
Subject
Art--British (?)--Reproductions
World War, 1939-1945--Journalists
English newspapers--GreatBritain
Cartoonists--Correspondence
Caricatures and cartoons
Cartoon characters
English newspapers
Caricatures and cartoons--History
Political cartoons
Art, British
Caricatures and cartoons--Great Britain
Journalism--Great Britain
Cartooncharacters--Great Britain
Journalism
Political satire, English
National socialism
World War, 1939-1945--Caricatures and cartoons
Occupation
Artists
Cartoonists--Great Britain
Authors--Great Britain
Function

Person

Birth 1891-04-07

Death 1963-09-19

Britons

English

Information

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