Cartooning Evolution Home




Darwin and

Evolution as
Social Comment



The Scopes
Trial: Northern

The Scopes Trial: National

The Scopes
Trial: Southern

My E-Mail

Welcome to Cartooning Evolution. The images on this web site all, in one way or another, deal with Darwin and his ideas or with related scientific issues. For ease of perusal I have divided them into the broad categories at left. Thus the early cartoons that simply note or comment on evolution I have placed in "Darwin and Evolution." Those that use evolution to make some other point are in "Evolution as Social Comment," unless they are pretty clearly linked to the events surrounding the Scopes Trial. The Fundamentalist publications that opposed evolution are in a separate section.

Viewers should note several things about these images. First, I collected them mostly as a byproduct of searching for old political cartoons on railroads. To these I have added a more systematic search for Fundamentalist cartoons and drawings related to the Scopes Trial. Collectively however, these images are not the result of an especially thorough search and they are not a random sample.

One result of my search is that the cartoons from the major newspapers and national magazines here are disproportionately weighted towards the Scopes trial. Very few of these are sympathetic to the anti-evolutionists, but that may accurately reflect newspaper opinion of the day. Besides the major big-city northern newspapers, I looked at the Dallas Morning News, New Orleans Times-Picayune, Nashville Banner, Atlanta Constitution and the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Only the latter paper ran pro-Bryan images.

The best sources for cartoons that reflect the anti-evolutionist perspective are the Fundamentalist publications. These include especially the Sunday School Times, but also the Moody Bible Institute Monthly and similar works. Thanks to Professor Edward Davis for drawing my attention to these sources and to his own works, "Science and Religious Fundamentalism in the 1920s" and "Religion and the Culture of Print in Modern America", both available at his web site.

I have cleaned up the cartoons a bit, but with a couple of exceptions (noted on the relevant images) I have not modified them in any way. I give the source for each image but -- as I am an economist not an historian of science -- I have made few comments on them. Such comments and citations as are included are largely the result of the erudition of my wife, Michele Aldrich, who is an historian of science. As far as I know, all the images are in the public domain but if I have stepped on anyone's copyright toes please let me know and I will remove the offender.

Some of these images are reasonably easily available. They may be downloaded from Darwin Online, Evolution, the Library of Congress or from the magazine Fun at the University of Florida, or Judy in the British Periodicals Index available at major research libraries. The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Defender and Los Angeles Times are also available through Proquest at major libraries. Images in magazines available through the American Periodical Series tend to be of poor quality. I can also supply images of reasonably good quality; contact me via e-mail at left. If you have an image you thing belongs up send it to me.

These cartoons are evidence of the popularization of Darwin's ideas. My understanding of these and related issues has been shaped by the work of Peter Bowler, Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons; Janet Browne, "Darwin in Caricature" and her "Looking at Darwin"; Edward Caudill, Darwinism in the Press; Constance Clark, God or Gorilla and her "...Language of Cartoons"; Alvar Ellegard, Darwin and the General Reader; Edward Larson, Summer for the Gods; Lawrence Levine, Defender of the Faith: William Jennings Bryan, the Last Decade. Also helpful is Michael Ghiselin, Darwin, A Reader's Guide in Occasional Papers of the California Academy of Sciences 155 (February 12, 2009).