1st Female Cartoonist Wins Herblock Prize, But Why So Long?

By Maggie Freleng

There have been 100 editorial cartooning awards given since 1922, and only two women got a mention before 2014.

If you add Jen Sorensen, that number is now three - in the 90 years of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning and 10 years of the Herblock Prize. On Tuesday, March 4, the Herb Block Foundation announced Sorensen as the first woman to win the Herblock Prize, celebrating excellence in editorial cartooning.

Sorensen, a cartoonist whose work appears in publications such as the Daily Kos, NPR, Medium, Politico, AlterNet, Ms. Magazine, The Progressive, and The Nation, currently draws for the Austin Chronicle.

"The Herblock Prize is one of the highest honors in editorial cartooning," Sorensen told VITAMIN W. "So winning it is an incredible honor. I'm thrilled to be the first woman to do so, and hope I'm the first of many!"

Absolutely, it is wonderful that Sorensen won the prize; however, it’s 2014! The first woman has just won the Herblock prize? Although the Herblock has only been around since 2004, the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning has been around since 1922.

In 1992, Signe Wilkinson was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, and since then, only one other woman, Ann Telnaes, has won. That is pretty sad, considering there have been female editorial cartoonists as long as there have been male editorial cartoonists.

Jackie Ormes was the first African American female cartoonist, working for papers such as the Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier between 1937-56. Even further back, Nina Allender was a women's suffrage activist and the "official cartoonist" for the National Woman's Party's publications at the turn of the century.

Here is a list of current female editorial cartoonists who could have won the Herblock or the Pulitzer Prize. C’mon people, only three women have won the most prestigious awards?

Annette Balesteri has been a professional cartoonist for 25 years, drawing for California area newspapers. Her work has appeared in "The Best Editorial Cartoons of the Year" since 1993, and she has illustrated children's books, including "The Stowaway" and "Mitsey," both by Elizabeth Smith.

Ann Telnaes is an editorial cartoonist who does not draw for any one newspaper as many editorial cartoonists do; her cartoons are instead syndicated across the United States. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 2001, becoming the second woman ever to do so.

Liza Donnelly is best known for her work in The New Yorker, although her work has appeared in many other national publications, including The New York Times,T he Nation, Cosmopolitan, and more. She is the author of fifteen books, and has spoken at the United Nations on behalf of Cartooning For Peace and also spoke at the first TED Women conference.

Susie Cagle is a journalist and editorial cartoonist who has worked for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Awl, GOOD, and others. She is a graduate of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.

Anne Ganzis a freelance/independent cartoonist and illustrator based in Washington D.C. and Chilmark, Mass., currently creating cartoons for local publications.

Stephanie McMillan is a political cartoonist, editorialist, and activist from South Florida. In 2012, McMillan won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Editorial Cartoonists for her work as a political cartoonist.

Kate Palmer started doing political cartoons for The Greenville News in 1975. In 1976, she joined the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and attended her first AAEC convention. She was one of only two female cartoonists in attendance that year. Afterwards, she became a book illustrator and has illustrated more than twenty books.

Mikhaela Reid is an editorial cartoonist whose work has appeared in various alternative newspapers and magazines, including The Boston Phoenix, Bay Windows, Metro Times, and In These Times. She was also printed in the Los Angeles Times.

Elena Steier’s work has appeared locally in the nine Imprint papers of the Farmington Valley, nationally as part of DBR Media and internationally as a guest cartoonist in the Vladivostok News. She is the creator of Goth Scouts and The Vampire Bed and Breakfast.

Sage Stossel is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and draws the cartoon feature "Sage, Ink." She is author/illustrator of the graphic novel "Starling," and of the children's books "On the Loose in Boston" and "On the Loose in Washington, DC."

Pam Winters has been published in a variety of newspapers throughout California, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Sacramento Bee, as well as in the Washington Post National Weekly Edition. Pam's cartoons address a wide range of topics, particularly issues directly affecting women and children.