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Powell, Doane

Doane Powell, an Omaha-born cartoonist, illustrator, and artist, was graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in art in 1904. He later studied in Paris art academies and was an instructor at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. Powell, although primarily an illustrator, during his later career made masks of many notables, including Mae West, Gen. Hugh Johnson, Huey Long, and Greta Garbo.

While in Nebraska he was active in the art world. In 1911 he organized the Omaha Art Guild and served as its first president. His political cartoons appeared sporadically in the Omaha Bee between 1910 and the early 1920s, when he left the state.

Powell was already cartooning during his student days at NU. He was identified in the 1904 Sombrero, the school yearbook, as staff artist for the annual. Two of his early cartoons date from 1902 and were published in the Omaha World-Herald (on microfilm at the Nebraska State Historical Society). The first (from the issue of July 6, 1902) is a collage of drawings depicting comic twists on current events of the week. The second series of drawings ran a week later on July 13, 1902, and illustrated an article entitled "How Business Men Enjoy a Picnic-Outings That make Some People Glad, Others Not."

Powell's later cartoons for the Omaha Bee were political, often run on the front page. One, entitled "Real Protection," published September 30, 1919, expressed Omaha's gratitude for federal military assistance during the 1919 riot in which a mob hanged accused rapist Will Brown and burned the Douglas County Court House. Powell died in New York City in 1951.

(June 1996)



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