Louisville cartoonist immortalized through art, legacy


by Jacob Ryan


Posted on December 20, 2013 at 5:47 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A famous political cartoon that has ran on Christmas Eve in the Courier-Journal since 1961 is not your average Christmas story.

The artist, Hugh Haynie, became a national icon for his cartoons.  His work is now on display at the Frazier History Museum.

Haynie’s son said it’s quite a miracle that it all came together in time for Christmas.  The one cartoon among the many that lampooned presidents, created national dialogues and even changed opinions, the one cartoon that people want to see and oftentimes refer to as his Mona Lisa, was missing until 1999.

It is a cartoon of Christ that Haynie drew in 1955 that gets people talking.  He first penned the cartoon for a newspaper in Atlanta, but they never ran it due to fears it would offend advertisers.  When Haynie began working for the Courier-Journal, however, that all changed.

Editor Barry Bingham Sr. began running the cartoon in 1961 and it has been printed on Christmas Eve ever since.

But there is more to the story.

For nearly 38 years, the original was missing.  Neither newspaper officials or the family had a clue as to where it could be.  Haynie was famous for giving things away, but eventually, the print came back to the family at Haynie’s funeral I n1999.

Haynie had given it to a neighbor and adorned the cartoon with a personal note.  The son of that lucky neighbor returned the art to the family at the funeral and was unaware the family had been looking for it.

The last piece to the puzzle of the cartoon was the missing engraving plate used by the Courier to print the Christmas cartoon.  It was returned after nearly 50 years by another friend of Haynie’s who had received the plate as a gift.  He used it when he ran the cartoon in Ballarmine’s newspaper in the early 60’s.

Haynie’s son said this is a great, merry Christmas and especially thanks the friends who helped make this Christmas so special.

The Haynie exhibit will run through January 26 and the cartoon will be printed in the Courier-Journal this Christmas Eve.