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Cartoonist's career begins


On this day in 1905, political cartoonist John Francis Knott began his career with the Dallas Morning News. Born in Austria, Knott grew up in Iowa and honed his drawing skills in Chicago before journeying to Dallas, where he illustrated harness and saddlery catalogs. He met Morning News managing editor and artist D. Prescott Toomey and went to work for the newspaper. Over the years Knott gained national and international recognition for his daily cartoons during the Woodrow Wilson presidential campaigns and during World War I, and he greatly contributed to the war effort through increased Liberty Bond sales. His “Old Man Texas,” a cartoon character first devised in 1906, became an enduring symbol of rural Texas, honest government, low taxes, and property ownership. He published a book of his work, War Cartoons, in 1918. The Society of Professional Journalists honored Knott as best cartoonist in 1951, and he retired from the Morning News in 1957.

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