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Herb Block

MDDC Hall of Fame Class of 2008: Washington Post Cartoonist Herb Block
Affectionately known as 'HerBlock' during his drawing career as The Washington Post's famed editorial cartoonist, Herb Block joins the Maryland-Delaware-DC (MDDC) Hall of Fame's class of 2008.
Born in Chicago in 1909, Herb Block went to work for the Chicago Tribune in 1929 at 19. He moved to the Newspaper Enterprise Association, Scripps-Howard’s feature service, in 1933 and won his first Pulitzer Prize in 1942. After serving in the Army in 1943 in World War II, he came to The Post in 1946 and stayed until his death in 2001. Block won two more Pulitzers on his own, and was one of four Post staff members cited by name when The Post won the prize for Public Service for its coverage of the Watergate scandal.
As Block's 50th anniversary at The Post was marked, Publisher Katharine Graham wrote the following editorial of Block's accomplishments:
“Underneath his genius for cartooning and writing lies a modest, sweet, aw-shucks personality. Underneath that lies a layer of iron and steel. For the publishers and editors over him - or under him, as it would be more accurate to say - it’s like having a tiger by the tail.”
“Herb fought for and earned a unique position at the paper: one of complete independence of anybody and anything. Journalistic enterprises run best when writers and editors have a lot of autonomy. But Herb’s case is extreme. And because he’s a genius, it works.”
“Since he arrived at The Post, five editors and five publishers have learned a cardinal rule: Don’t mess with Herb. He’s just as tough within the confines of The Post as he is in the political world outside.”
Herb Block was the most influential cartoonist of the 20th century – that’s no exaggeration.
Block is one of nine journalists who have earned induction in the MDDC's centennial year of 2008, commemorating the association's 100 years of service to member newspapers in Md., De. and DC.
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