October 13th would have been the hundredth birthday of Herbert Block, better known to the world as Herblock — the nation’s most widely influential political cartoonist and a polemicist of the highest caliber.

In honor of the centennial of the four time Pulitzer Prize winner’s birthday, the Library of Congress today launched a six-month retrospective entitled “Herblock!” that highlights some of the artist’s best and most poignant work. Featuring 82 never before exhibited original cartoons drawn from the Library’s own collection or on loan from the archives of the Post, the showcase will be free and open to the public from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Saturday until May 1, 2010. (You can even check the whole thing out in its entirety online here.)

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During his 72-year-stint at The Washington Post, Block lampooned every president from Herbert Hoover to George W. Bush, skewered Washington’s culture of political hand-wringing and swung public opinion with each stroke of his pen. He is, for instance credited with coining the term “McCarthyism” and exposing the communist witch hunt during the Red Scare.

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