Memorial Service set for September 28, 2014

A memorial service has been scheduled for Tony.

The memorial will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 28, at the Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Columbus Blvd in Philadelphia. Speakers will include writers from the Inquirer, folks from WHYY including Terry Gross, CNN’s Jake Tapper, Gov. Ed Rendell, Mayor Michael Nutter, Reese Palley, Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonists Pat Oliphant and Joel Pett, and members of Tony’s family.

The event will be free and open to the public. WHYY plans to simulcast the memorial on the web.

Tony Auth 1942 – 2014

Tony Auth, 72, the Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist who worked at the Philadelphia Inquirer for 41 years, and more recently as the Digital Artist in Residence for WHYY’s Newsworks, died Sunday September, 14, at University of Pennsylvania Hospital surrounded by his family.

Tony’s cartoons, covering the politics and culture of the city of Philadelphia, the state of Pennsylvania, and the country have influenced public opinion and politicians for more than 40 years. “Our job is not to amuse our readers,” Auth said when he accepted the 2005 Herblock Prize for excellence in editorial cartooning. “Our mission is to stir them, inform and inflame them.”

Tony was born on May 7, 1942 in Akron, Ohio.  He was bedridden for eighteen months at the age of five.  It was during this period that he began drawing, inspired by comic strips, children’s books and radio dramas.

At the age of nine, Tony moved with his family to Los Angeles. Tony attended UCLA, earning a bachelor’s degree in biological illustration in 1965.  Upon graduation he became a medical illustrator at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, a large teaching hospital associated with the University of Southern California.

While working as a medical illustrator, Tony began doing political cartoons. Initially he did one a week for a weekly alternative newspaper, and then, after being encouraged by Paul Conrad at the Los Angeles Times, three a week for the UCLA Daily Bruin.

Six years later, in 1971, Auth was hired as staff editorial cartoonist by The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 41 years. He decided to broaden his range of commentary, and in 2012 he became the first Digital Artist in Residence at WHYY’s At WHYY working on both cultural and political subjects, he pioneered a new form of online cartooning using an app on his iPad, while continuing to produce a steady stream of awarding-winning cartoons that appear first on NewsWorks before syndication across the country.

Over the course of his career, Auth has won many awards, including five Overseas Press Club Awards, the Sigma Delta Chi award for distinguished service in journalism, the Thomas Nast Prize, the Herblock Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2012, “To Stir, Inform, & Inflame: The Art of Tony Auth”, a museum retrospective of more than 150 of his cartoons and book illustrations was organized by the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and was seen by more than 85,000 visitors. A companion book, with a foreword by Jules Feiffer was published the same year. It joins two previous published collections of his political cartoons, and eleven children’s books he has illustrated. A Philadelphia History Museum exhibition, “AUTHentic Philly: Tony Auth’s Cartoons of Philadelphia” which opened in 2013 proved to be so popular it was held over four months.  On September 10, 2014 a new exhibition, “Front Lines: Treasures from the Tony Auth Archive” opened at the Philadelphia Foundation to kickoff a fund to acquire and maintain Tony’s archive of cartoons, paintings, prints, sketchbooks and ephemera at Temple University.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Tony Auth Archive Fund at the Philadelphia Foundation The Philadelphia Foundation, 1234 Market Street, Suite 1800, Philadelphia, PA 19107 or online at

Tony is survived by Eliza Drake Auth, a realist landscape and portrait painter, and their two daughters, Katie and Emily.

What’s Up With Tony & What You Can Do

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Many of you have noticed that Tony has not been posting cartoons regularly on this site or at WHYY or at GoComics. It is not because nothing has been happening for him to comment on. On July 4th he was hit with a case of neuropathy that left him unable to draw for a few weeks, but he was looking forward to rejoining the conversation soon. Unfortunately he has been battling cancer now for two years, and this week it took a turn for the worse. We do not have the specifics of what the future holds for Tony, but we will keep you up to date on his condition on this site. You can continue to send messages to him at

For the last three years, one of Tony’s biggest projects has been to find a home for his archive of cartoons. The Tony Auth Archive is an intact, career-spanning collection of his drawings, paintings, sketches, and ephemera that cover the last half century. In addition to its cultural and historical importance, the Auth Archive represents the most complete collection of work of an artist of his stature that I have seen in more than 20 years in the field. Not only is there a virtually uninterrupted series of daily drawings for more than forty years of work, the Archive includes roughs, preliminary sketches, and tear sheets for much of the finished work.

Here’s some details to give you some sense of what Tony’s Archive includes:
• nearly 10,000 editorial cartoons
• more than three dozen sketchbooks
• a complete set of prints and/or engraver negatives for the first thirty years of his career (1971 –2001) at the Philadelphia Inquirer
• high res digital files of editorial cartoons from 2001 to the present
• correspondence with editors, colleagues, and a considerable amount from readers
• earliest work from 1965 for alternative newspapers and UCLA’s Daily Bruin, including syndication material
• ink and watercolor illustrations, ephemera, and virtually every preliminary study (painting or drawing) for children’s books
• all the files of his iPad movies

A special fund has been started at the Philadelphia Foundation to keep this remarkable body of work intact and in Philadelphia. A free exhibition of more than 100 cartoons is on now through January 23, 2015 at the Foundation’s offices at 1234 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA (M-F 9-5) that gives visitors some sense of the richness of his archives. There you will not only see some great cartoons from the last half century, but ones you could swear he drew yesterday, or could draw tomorrow.

Temple University has agreed to become the home of the Archive, where it will exist alongside the Inquirer’s archive and many remarkable collections in the University’s library. After meeting with a number of institutions, Tony felt that Temple was the right place for his lifetime of work.

You can help make that dream come true by supporting the Archive Fund which will go to acquire and maintain the archive. It is planned that the work will be digitized so that people all over the world can learn about Tony’s history, and much more importantly, American and world history over the last 50 years. All donations, big and small, are tax deductible, greatly appreciated and will be acknowledged. With your support we can make this happen!

Click here to make donation:

David Leopold is an author and curator who has organized “To Stir, Inform, & Inflame: The Art of Tony Auth” museum retrospective at the James Michener Art Museum in 2012. He also edited the companion book of cartoons for Camino Press.