Earle Bowden’s Drawing From an Editor's Life: More than Forty Years of Editorial Cartoons, Caricatures and Illustrations, Pensacola News Journal, 1950s-1990s
Art and text by Jesse Earle Bowden
November 1996 publication
It's rare for a newspaper editor to draw his own editorial cartoons. But Editor Emeritus Jesse Earle Bowden of the Pensacola News Journal has been his own cartoonist for 55 years.
The politics, personalities and many editorial page crusades of the retired News Journal Editor and vice president, chairman of the editorial board and cartoonist—more than 1,250 cartoons and caricatures from more than forty years at the drawing board—spill over 472 pages of this historic graphic treasure. The journalist/illustrator presents drawings from his sportswriting /cartooning years of 1950s to more than thirty years of his editorial-page cartoon commentary from the early 1960s to the 1990s.
Among the many humorous and satirical images are the strong symbolism of the American heritage and patriotism and the native Floridian's devotion to the region of his birth. Here are graphic symbolism of Bowden's many editorial dreams and two-barreled approach to his editorial persuasiveness.
His editorials and editorial cartoons demonstrate his convictions about Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola's historical preservation movement, the Pensacola bayfront and downtown redevelopment, preservation of Scenic Highway, University of West Florida and quality education, the cultural arts and the many emotion-charged battles to reform Escambia County government.
Bowden’’s cartoons demonstrates his love of history; he has opened his many scrapbooks of pen-and-ink memories—some drawings never before published—from the presidency of John F. Kennedy to Bill Clinton, from the Florida governorship of Haydon Burns to Lawton Chiles. The cartoon images chronicle the history of the people in the public arena of political change in Florida's First Place City, the western Panhandle, Tallahassee and in Washington.
Along the way, meet many Pensacolians, Floridians and national figures - ably caricatured -from Bowden's sketchbooks who peopled the cartoons that have appeared on News Journal sports, news and editorial pages since 1953. Bowden includes many News Journal personalities from the eras of Publisher Braden Ball and Editor Marion T. Gaines in the 1950s to Publisher Denise Bannister’s years of the 1990s.
Besides his text for a historic time line of the four decades—the books show the busy left hand of Bowden—the other serious interest of the journalist, author of eleven books and teacher of writing at the University of West Florida.