Louis Raemaekers “the world’s most famous cartoonist”

University Calendar 1923-1924 showing a list of honorary degrees awarded the previous session

On the 22 of June 1922 the University of Glasgow awarded a Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree to the Dutch painter and cartoonist Louis Raemaekers. He also designed the front cover of the 1922/23 SRC Student Handbook.

Raemaekers was born in Roermond, Netherlands, in 1869. He first worked as a cartoonist for the Dutch magazine Algemeen Handelsblad and the Amsterdam Telegraaf and is known for publishing anti-German cartoons during World War I. This angered the Germans and led to the German government offering a reward of 12,000 marks for his capture or death.

Raemaekers escaped death and capture (and was also acquitted by a jury after being put on trial for ‘endangering Dutch neutrality’) by moving to England to seek refuge. He continued to draw here and published his cartoons in the Times. His work grew in popularity in the UK following the British Government’s decision to arrange a touring exhibition of the cartoons and they were displayed to members of the public in cities throughout the UK. In 1919 he published a collection of cartoons, Raemaekers Cartoon History of the War. He died in 1956 in the Netherlands.

Cover of the SRC Student Handbook 1922/23 designed by Raemaekers (Ref DC157/18/32)

Cover of the SRC Student Handbook 1922/23 designed by Raemaekers (Ref DC157/18/32)

An exhibition of the life and work of Raemaekers will be held in the Casteelse Poort Museum, Wageningen in the Netherlands from 16 November 2012 – 31 March 2013. The website claims that the American media called Raemaekers ‘the most famous cartoonist in the world’ and that he was praised by the former President Theodore Roosevelt. More information about the exhibition can be found here.

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