By: Dave Astor
Three 80-something men who have been members of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists since its 1957 founding made some impromptu remarks Wednesday night at the opening reception of the AAEC’s 50th-anniversary
Hy Rosen, formerly of the Albany, N.Y. Times Union, joked that he’s been around so long that he drew with Benjamin Franklin — whose 1754 “Join or Die” drawing (showing the American colonies as a snake in various parts) was considered the first editorial cartoon when published in the Pennsylvania Gazette in 1754.
Rosen told attendees that “it’s great to see so many young people” in the room, and added: “We have a great, very unique profession. Hopefully we’ll have a future.”
He was undoubtedly referring to the way staff editorial cartoon jobs have been dwindling in recent years.
“I’m delighted the AAEC is still going,” added Jim Ivey, another founding member. He noted that editorial cartoonists are also known as political cartoonists — meaning the organization could also be called the AAPC. Ivey said he hopes those initials never mean the “American Association of the Politically Correct.”
Ivey worked for the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, the St. Petersburg Times, the San Francisco Examiner, and the Washington Star.
The third founding member, Jim Lange, still draws for The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City — though he’s cut back from seven cartoons a week to a still-full workload of five.
Lange recalled that he didn’t stay at the convention hotel during the AAEC’s initial 1957 meeting in D.C. — instead opting for a motel that cost $11 a night.
The three original AAECers were introduced at the podium by organization president Rob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and United Media.