Chester Commodore papers

Inclusive Dates: 
1914–2004

This record forms part of the Chicago’s Art-Related Archival Materials: A Terra Foundation Resource project funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. For this project, the Archives surveyed archival repositories throughout the Chicago region to identify art-related materials contained in their holdings. While the Archives of American Art does not own any of the materials described herein, information about those materials and links to the original repositories have been included when available.

Descriptive Summary

36 linear feet of material consisting of personal correspondence, photographs, original cartoon drawings, cartoon photocopies, clippings of cartoons and other items, and memorabilia documenting Chester Commodore's nearly fifty years at the Chicago Defender newspaper, most of that time as editorial cartoonist. The collection also reflects Commodore’s relationships with colleagues at the Defender, with members of other local and national media outlets, and with his extended family.

Biographical Historical Note

Chester Commodore was one of the most influential and acclaimed African-American cartoonists of the twentieth century. During the nearly 50 years his cartoons appeared in the Chicago Defender, Commodore used his art to advocate for racial justice, human rights, and equality of opportunity.

Additional Notes

Related collections: Timothy Jackson Papers, Chicago Public Library, Carter G. Woodson Regional Library, Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection