Growing Up Cartoonist in the Baby-Boom South:
A Memoir and Cartoon Retrospective

by Kate Salley Palmer

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About the Book

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Kate Salley Palmer was an inadvertent trailblazer. In the early 1970s, she was a freelance artist living in Clemson, South Carolina. Then the nationally televised Watergate hearings took hold of her, and she found herself drawing cartoon after cartoon about the scandal, whose latest developments she followed as religiously as other people follow soap operas. She started selling a few of the cartoons she couldn't stop drawing to whatever local newspapers would buy them. In 1975, The Greenville News hired her part-time. She was, it turned out, that paper's first-ever political cartoonist. By the next year, the News was running her cartoons regularly, making her South Carolina’s first full-time political cartoonist—and, she discovered, one of only two women then employed as full-time political cartoonists in all of North America.

In Growing Up Cartoonist in the Baby-Boom South, Kate Salley Palmer relates her unique and often funny adventures as a political cartoonist, as well as her efforts "to stay married and raise decent children" while making the 35-mile daily commute from her home in Clemson to the job she loved. Growing Up Cartoonist in the Baby-Boom South is part funny, bittersweet memoir, part visual romp, with fully half of its pages devoted to reproductions of Palmer's cartoons and drawings—including several recent creations appearing in print for the first time. The cartoons are arranged chronologically by year, making it easy to follow the development of political and social issues over time. Despite the passage of years or even decades, however, a surprising number of Palmer's cartoons could still run today.


(All links below are to PDFs)

Part One - What are Little Cartoonists Made of?

Part Two - Adventures in Political Cartooning: The Greenville News (and Beyond)

About the Author

Kate Salley PalmerKate Salley Palmer is a former political cartoonist with The Greenville News and Field Newspaper Syndicate. Today, she runs a publishing company, Warbranch Press, with her husband, retired Clemson agronomist James H. Palmer. Her most recent Warbranch Press books—including Palmetto: Symbol of Courage (2005), Francis Marion and the Legend of the Swamp Fox (2005), and Almost Invisible: Black Patriots of the American Revolution (2008)—bring South Carolina history to life for young readers. Born and raised in Orangeburg, South Carolina, she has lived in Clemson, South Carolina, since 1969.