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It Was Self-Defense...He Drew On Me,, 1994

 File — Box: 91-92
Identifier: XVI
From the Collection:

This collection consists of over 20,000 original cartoons drawn by Charlie Daniel during his career as the editorial cartoonist at the Knoxville Journal (from 1958) and the Knoxville News-Sentinel (from 1992). In these cartoons, Daniel has offered comments upon life in general and politics in particular, through a cast of characters that includes – in addition to real people – Rosie the diner cook, Elmo Smidlap the everyman, and someone who looks remarkably like the artist himself. The cartoons look at topics from holidays and local charity events to national scandals and international conflicts.

Series I: Causes covers situations such as the weather and holidays, voter apathy, drug use, family life, television, education in general, the postal service, driving, the space program, and crime. There are three folders with his tributes to celebrities upon their deaths, and a folder of cartoons poking fun at himself.

Series II: Sports includes football, basketball, and baseball, as well as assorted other sports. It looks at the Olympics, steroid scandals, and local teams. There are three boxes of cartoons about University of Tennessee sports, including coaches, rivalries, and scalpers at Neyland Stadium.

Series III: University of Tennessee is primarily about academic life, financial issues, and personnel, but it also has one folder of general UT Sports that are part of the digitized portion of this collection.

Series IV: Knoxville and Knox County presents a wide swath of local history through the lens of humor and quirky insights. There are cartoons about political corruption, bootlegging and liquor raids, mayors and other local politicians, and the long history of annexation and government consolidation. There are many cartoons about the 1982 World’s Fair, especially the less savory aspects of the process and event. Besides problems such as air quality and road construction, there are celebrations of charitable giving and the Dogwood Arts Festival. And, of course, the intersection if Church and State Streets gets a cartoon poke.

Series V: Tennessee begins with cartoons about past governors, congressmen, and other politicians before moving to legislative issues such as gambling, medical insurance, redistricting and taxes. It also includes state-wide education issues and Smoky Mountain topics, both tourism and pollution.

Series VI: TVA has cartoons about energy topics, nuclear power, flood control, personnel, financial situations, and political negotiations.

Series VII: Labor and Unions looks at strikes, struggles, laws, and personnel for various types of industries and businesses. Walter Reuther, George Meany and Jimmy Hoffa were each popular enough topics to justify folders devoted to them.

Series VIII: Taxes and Economy includes financial issues that aren’t tied to a particular president, to the state of Tennessee, or to Knoxville or Knox County. There are jokes about tax returns and April 15, Alan Greenspan, the federal budget in general, consumers’ issues, and the farming industry.

Series IX: National Politics is the largest series in this collection. It begins by looking at government in general, with jokes about political parties, campaigning, congress, and various departments and agencies. It then turns to each president’s term of office and the topics that dominated that time. Cartoons about particular campaigns are interspersed between presidential terms. After the presidents, there are a few politicians whose perennial careers defied chronological placement, and then a section about various states and regions of the country.

Series X: International begins with the United Nations, Henry Kissinger, and peace efforts, before looking at the world by continental region. Egypt and Africa come first; then the Middle East, including the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center; then China, Asia, and Europe; then an extended look at Russia and Cuba; ending with a few folders about Central and South America.

Series XI: Chronological is organized by date beginning in 2008 and runs through the current cartoons. The majority of these cartoons were digitized by the News-Sentinel and so are organized by publication date instead of by topic.

Series XII: An addition of editorial cartoons, dating from the late 1950s to 2003. These cartoons are organized by publication date within each year and cover various topics.

Series XIII: Correspondence and Personal Papers also includes a book of editorial cartoons, church papers, and documents from a White House Press Secretary meeting and information from the Savings Bond Division.

Series XIV: Cartoon Photographs, Negatives, and Plates include a few photographs of Daniel at work, negatives of his various cartoons, and original cartoon plates dating from 1969 to 1972.

Series XV: Framed Cartoons includes 12 original framed cartoons, organized in alphabetical order based on title.

Series XVI: Cartoon Books features copies of Daniel's "It Was Self-Defense...He Drew On Me" book of cartoons, published in 1994.

Series XVII: Oversize includes additional personal papers, cartoon negatives, photographs, and original sketches. Also included are colored and black and white prints of Daniel's work and a collection of prints and sketches of work from other artists.


  • 1994

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


From the Collection: 90 Linear Feet (96 boxes)

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA