Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Bill Mauldin today received one of the nation’s highest honors in being featured on a U.S. postage stamp. The 44-cents stamp was dedicated at the New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe, N.M., and goes on sale nationwide today.
During World War II, Mauldin’s cartoons, appearing in Stars and Stripes, made him a hero to many in the military. His sympathy for “dogfaces,” the slang term for soldiers in the infantry, was clearly expressed through his characters Willie and Joe, who gave their military audiences a hearty laugh and civilians an idea of what life was like for soldiers.
In 1945 Mauldin won the first of his two Pulitzers “for distinguished service as a cartoonist” and the Allied high command awarded him its Legion of Merit. His illustrated memoir, “Up Front,” was a bestseller. That same year, his “dogface” Willie appeared on the cover of Time.
In 1958, he took a job as a cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the following year he won a second Pulitzer for his cartoon portraying Boris Pasternak, author of “Doctor Zhivago,” as a Soviet prisoner.
U.S. Postal Service art director Terry McCaffrey chose to honor Mauldin through a combination of photography and an example of Mauldin’s art. The photo of Mauldin is by John Phillips, a photographer for Life magazine; it was taken in Italy on Dec. 31, 1943. Mauldin’s cartoon, showing his characters Willie and Joe, is used courtesy of the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.
EDITOR’S NOTE: My dad was one of those “dog faces” for whom Mauldin had sympathy. To read “My Father’s War Stories from World War II,” click here or on the photo of my father, above.