Edward Sorel

Edward Sorel (b. 1929) is an American cartoonist and writer. His work usually focuses on political topics, though occasionally it touches on other subjects, and it is enlivened with his sardonic humor. The cartoons are pen-and-ink sketches, filled out with watercolors and pastels. The best of them, in his words, are “spontaneous drawings”. Among the numerous magazines in which his work has appeared are The Nation, The Village Voice, Esquire and Vanity Fair. Sorel has published children’s books, Hollywood histories and autobiographies, in collaboration with others or on his own, including Johnny-on-the-Spot, Superpen: the Cartoons and Caricatures of Edward Sorel and Profusely Illustrated: a Memoir. He is also known for his mural at the Waverly Inn in Greenwich Village. Sorel has exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery, the Art Institute of Boston and Galerie Bartsch & Chariau. His honors include the Auguste St. Gaudens Medal for Professional Achievement, the Page One Award and the National Cartoonist Society Advertising and Illustration Award.

Sorel began attending Morningside Meeting in New York City in 1963. After he separated from his first wife and lost his job, he had been going through a dark period. Ed Hilpern, his therapist and a member of the Meeting, recommended that he explore Quaker worship. He met Nancy Caldwell, the love of his life, at the Meeting, and they were married there in 1965. (Below is a cartoon of the Sunday morning they met). Sorel participated in anti-Vietnam War marches in Washington DC with Friends and joined with them when they walked across the Peace Bridge at Rochester to deliver medical supplies for North and South Vietnamese civilians to Canadians Friends, who had agreed to forward the supplies. When he and his family moved upstate in the early 1970’s, they attended Bulls Head-Oswego Meeting. A gleeful atheist, Sorel is known for his anticlerical cartoons and has sat on the board of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. He felt, however, that he could become a member of the Friends because of Quaker social witness.

I have always loved Edward Sorel’s cartoons. I first saw them in Ramparts magazine in the mid-1960’s and enjoy them still in The New Yorker magazine. And I was delighted to see the cartoon below. I had worshiped at Morningside Meeting several times when I lived in New York City.

A quote from Sorel about his first Friends Meeting for Worship:

“What I remember best is the silence. It seemed to charge the room with a connectedness of yearning”.

Gary Sandman

August 2022

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