Skip to main content

Patrick B. Oliphant collection

Identifier: COU:1218

Scope and Contents

The Patrick B. Oliphant Editorial Cartoon Collection holds originals of Oliphant editorial cartoons that ran in the Denver Post between March 1965 and December 1968. Photocopies are available for researchers’ use; access to the originals is by the curator’s permission only. The cartoons are filed chronologically in eleven folders.


  • Creation: 1965 - 1968

Biographical Note

Patrick Bruce Oliphant was born in Adelaide, Australia, on July 24, 1935. His father was a draftsman for the Ministry of Lands. Oliphant spent most of his childhood in a rural area one hour outside of Adelaide. At age eleven, he began to commute to Adelaide for school.

After high school Pat Oliphant began a job with Rupert Murdoch’s Adelaide News. Four months later he moved to the Adelaide Advertiser, where he became the press artist for the paper’s agricultural supplement; his responsibilities included touch-ups and weather maps. He became the paper’s editorial cartoonist in 1955. In 1959, the paper sent him on a trip around the world to study trends in cartooning.

Oliphant came to the United States in 1964 as an editorial cartoonist for the Denver Post. In 1967 he won the Pulitzer Prize. He left Denver in 1975 to take a position with the Washington Star in Washington, D.C. He had found presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon easy targets for caricature, but the amiable Gerald Ford troubled him until he seized on Ford’s verbal and physical awkwardness. His depiction of Jimmy Carter “helped to define the public perception of Carter as one who simply was overwhelmed by the demands of the presidency.” For Oliphant, the Reagan era was particularly rich with material. Oliphant has satirized both Democrats and Republicans. According to Jules Feiffer, “He doesn’t have anybody’s politics, but he has a point of view, or rather, a million points of view, and he shines a sneering spotlight on each and every one.”

In 1965, the Los Angeles Times syndicated his work; by the time the Washington Star folded in 1981, his cartoons were appearing in more than 500 newspapers and magazines worldwide. Punk the Penguin—the tiny figure who comments from the corners of many Oliphant drawings—is now, according to Wayne King, “an institution.” Oliphant’s work has been featured at the National Portrait Gallery and the Library of Congress. In addition to the Pulitzer, he has won the National Cartoonist Society Editorial Cartoon Award, the Reuben Award, and the Thomas Nast Prize.


.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



Patrick B. Oliphant is a widely influential political cartoonist. His work has been syndicated internationally since 1965. Born in Adelaide, Australia, Oliphant is most closely associated with Washington, D.C., the town where many of his subject politicians reside. However, Oliphant’s first home in the United States was in Denver, where he spent three years on the Denver Post staff. The Patrick B. Oliphant Editorial Cartoon Collection consists of original editorial cartoons from the Denver Post dating from March 1965 through December 1968, significant years in U.S. political life and in Oliphant’s career. The collection’s cartoons feature national politics, international relations, and the Vietnam War. Researchers have access to photocopies of the original cartoons; access to the originals requires the curator’s permission.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Rare and Distinctive Collections Repository

1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States