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June 11, 1993

Traveling Exhibition Features "Party Animals" as Political Symbols

In recent years, the menagerie of American political symbols has been reduced to the familiar Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant. But a traveling exhibition developed by the Library of Congress reminds us that many other beasts once roamed the American political landscape.

"Party Animals: A Political Primer" displays 41 examples of historic American political cartoons from the last 150 years.

The first depiction of the Republican elephant and one of the earliest Democratic donkeys are represented, as created by 19th century artists Thomas Nast and Edward Clay, respectively. So are many other species: the Democratic rooster (still the official party emblem on several state ballots), Henry Clay's raccoon, the Tammany tiger, the Populist goat, the Silver Party pig, the Bull Moose, and the Prohibition camel all put in an appearance.

Many of the cartoons are original drawings, selected from the extensive collections of the Library's Prints and Photographs Division. The exhibition was on view at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., from August to November 1992.

The traveling version of the exhibition will visit four presidential libraries during 1993 and 1994. The schedule follows:

July 2 - Aug. 13, 1993 Jimmy Carter Library Atlanta, Ga.
Sept. 3 - Dec. 17, 1993 Harry S. Truman Library Independence, Mo.
Feb. 27 - April 10, 1994 Gerald Ford Museum Grand Rapids, Mich.
May 1 - June 26, 1994 Ronald Reagan Library Simi Valley, Calif.

Through its traveling exhibition program, the Library of Congress shares the richness of its collections -- now numbering more than 101 million items -- with other libraries and cultural institutions around the nation to reach even wider and more varied audiences.

The Library's Interpretive Programs Office offers three types of presentations: small, freestanding facsimile exhibitions exploring ideas and issues of contemporary significance that are ideally suited for libraries, schools and universities; medium-sized exhibitions that combine facsimiles and original materials, which are appropriate for museums and other facilities that can meet certain security and environmental requirements; and major interpretive exhibitions containing original and often valuable artifacts that are suitable only for those institutions that can offer high security for the exhibitions.

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PR 93-069
ISSN 0731-3527

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