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H.F. Hammon, George Lainhart, the author’s great-grandfather George Wells Potter, William Lanehart, Dr. Richard Potter and Ellen Potter were among Palm Beach’s earliest pioneers [click to enlarge].

My 25-minute, illustrated book presentation always begins with a few early photos of the successive Palm Beach generations of my family. Actually, I could do an entire presentation on them and the community they carved out of one of the most naturally beautiful spots in South Florida, and probably will sometime in the near future.

Audience members are often surprised, not only because they thought they were going to see a presentation full of cartoons (that comes soon enough), but because many were unaware of any local history before Henry M. Flagler arrived with wealthy high society in tow. The story actually began more than 20 years earlier and these early settlers built a bustling and sophisticated little community before the arrival of Flagler’s railroad.

I begin with early Palm Beach history because it is very important to the opinions I express in my editorial cartoon for the Palm Beach Daily News (a.k.a. the Shiny Sheet) every Sunday. I grew up steeped in local history, partly from stories passed down from generation to generation but also because my great-grandfather, George Wells Potter, was an artist and, yes, a cartoonist as well. His drawings, paintings, published illustrations and some box camera photographs like this one documented early Palm Beach life in a way that puts you right there, 120-years-ago. When I draw cartoons about today’s culture and politics, it’s always with the long view, incorporating ideas about all the changes this community and human beings have gone through— and believe me, that presents a lot of conundrums.

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I had no idea the gig would last more than 20 years when I started doing one freelance cartoon a week for the Shiny Sheet. It wasn’t until I started writing my Cartoonistry columns for the newspaper five years ago that I really took a look at the amassed collection as a whole and realized, not only would a retrospective book be funny and insightful, but publishing it would represent my own community legacy in the tradition of earlier family members.

I love sharing some of the best stories I’ve covered in cartoons over the years with the public. So please, if you have a group in the Palm Beach County vicinity, contact me about a presentation. It is highly visual, and I guarantee the audience will be entertained. And I always enjoy meeting everyone and signing copies of my book, Billionaires and Butterfly Ballots, A 20-Year Palm Beach ‘Cartoonspective,’ afterward.

 

 Untitled-1I purposely chose cartoons and stories from my 20-year archive that anyone from anywhere would love, so you don’t have to be from Palm Beach to enjoy Billionaires and Butterfly Ballots, A 20-Year Palm Beach ‘Cartoonspective.  You can buy a signed copy right here on PalmBeachCartoons.com. And the book is currently ON SALE for the summer. Don’t forget to check out the many cartoon art originals and fine art prints that are also available on PalmBeachCartoons.com.