Bill Graham Biography

Bill Graham working at desk

Bill Graham working at desk

William Karr “Bill” Graham was born Dec 14, 1920, in Coshocton, Ohio.  He attended public schools in Coshocton and later graduated from Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he served as editor of the college yearbook, “Yoncopin”.

Enlisting in the Army during World War II, he was a Training Aid Illustrator and was stationed at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas. He also served as an artist for the Camp Chaffee newspaper, The Armodier, and was author of the camp comic strip, “Stinky.”

Coming to Little Rock from the newsroom of his hometown newspaper, the Coshocton Tribune, Graham joined the Arkansas Gazette in 1948. He worked as the editorial cartoonist, but he also drew cartoons for the sports pages and other sections of the newspaper, such as the Servants of the People column and the Arkansas Press Roundup.

Retirement portrait of Bill Graham standing in front of political cartoons. 1985.

Arkansas Gazette retirement portrait of Bill Graham standing in front of political cartoons. 1985.

After 37 years, Graham retired from the Gazette in May 1985. His daily editorial cartoons had become a landmark on the Gazette’s editorial page when he and the rest of the newspaper’s staff rocketed to national attention concerning their treatment and commentary on the Little Rock school integration crisis from 1957 to 1960.

Graham’s works are included in the contemporary cartoon collections at the University of Kansas, Wayne State University, Virginia Military Institute, Syracuse University, University of Missouri, University of Cincinnati, University of Texas, Ohio State University, Centenary College, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His work has appeared in Crisis in the South (1959) and in a book of his cartoons, A Little Drum Roll Please… (1974).

A member of the National Cartoonists Society and the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists, he is also listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest and in Who’s Who in American Art.

Graham married the former Wilma Lee Been. Together they had two sons. Graham passed away September 9, 1994. He was 73 years old.

Learn more about Graham as a cartoonist in John Deering’s commentary.