Skip to content

About John T. McCutcheon

About the author: John Tinney McCutcheon (May 6, 1870 — June 10, 1949) reporter and editorial cartoonist. The William Henry Smith Memorial Library of the Indiana Historical Society, in its guide to its collection of his papers, prepared this biographical sketch:

John Tinney McCutcheon chronicled significant events of the late nineteenth century and twentieth century as a cartoonist and foreign correspondent for Chicago newspapers. He was born near South Raub in Tippecanoe County, Indiana on 6 May 1870. His father, John Barr McCutcheon, was a Civil War veteran and a sheriff for Tippecanoe County. His mother was Clara Glick McCutcheon, and his brother George Barr McCutcheon was a noted novelist. John T. McCutcheon attended Purdue University and earned a B.S. in 1889.

Upon graduation McCutcheon joined the Chicago Morning News, later known as the Chicago Record and the Chicago Record-Herald. His first front page cartoon came in 1895. In 1903, he moved to the Chicago Tribune.

McCutcheon’s cartoons often appeared on the front page of the newspaper and covered political events, local, national and international news, and the daily lives of Americans. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his cartoon “A Wise Economist Asks a Question.” McCutcheon remained with the Tribune until his retirement in 1946. During his career, he published volumes of his cartoons as well as several books. He also illustrated stories for George Ade and his brother George Barr McCutcheon.

McCutcheon regularly traveled abroad, both for business and for pleasure, and often submitted articles to his paper as a foreign correspondent. In 1898, he witnessed the Battle of Manila Bay. He traveled to Africa to observe the Boer War in 1900 and toured Africa in 1909 on a hunting excursion, part of which he shared with Teddy Roosevelt. In 1914 he visited Belgium and was one of only a handful of reporters to witness the German Army’s invasion of that country. McCutcheon was in Paris for the Peace Conference in 1918 and 1919. He would continue to travel all over the world throughout his life.

McCutcheon also owned and frequently visited his private island in the Bahamas, Salt Cay. He purchased the island in 1916 and first visited during his honeymoon. McCutcheon married Evelyn Shaw on 20 January 1917. The couple had 4 children, John Jr., Shaw, Barr, and Evelyn who died as a young child. McCutcheon died on 10 June 1949. He was well respected among colleagues and known as the “Dean of American Cartoonists.”

The John T. McCutcheon Papers are held by Syracuse University.

About the diary: Published in The Chicago Record in 1898 as “Three Days to Manila.”