Clifford Berryman was a probably the most important political cartoonist of the early twentieth century. The National Archives, which maintains an extensive collection of more than 2,400 Berryman cartoons, describes him this way:
Berryman was one of Washington’s best-known and most-admired graphic political commentators in the first half of the 20th century. Berryman drew for the Washington Post from 1890 until 1907, and then for the Evening Star from 1907 until his death in 1949. His cartoons touched on a variety of subjects including politics, Presidential and congressional elections, both World Wars and even Washington weather.
This cartoon depicts the crowded field of Republican candidates vying for the 1920 Presidential nomination. When former President Theodore Roosevelt–the clear favorite for the 1920 Republican Presidential nomination–died suddenly in January, 1919, the race became wide open. With such a multitude of potential candidates having the proverbial “bee in their bonnets,” the G.O.P. Presidential bee could not keep up. The list of Republican candidates was long, including former President William Howard Taft, Senator William E. Borah, Senator Hiram Johnson, Governor Frank O. Lowden, Senator Warren G. Harding, Senator Albert Baird Cummins, Senator Philander C. Knox, former Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, and General Leonard Wood. In the end, Harding won the Republican nomination and, with Calvin Coolidge as his running mate, went on to become President.