Saskatchewan Doctors' Strike 1962: Political Cartoons

INTERPRETING EVIDENCE

In order to understand history, we must interpret different types of evidence.  Primary source evidence -- evidence which was created for a purpose other than recording history, but which may reveal many things about the past -- comes in many varieties and in various formats.  In this study, political cartoons related to the 1962 Saskatchewan Doctors' Strike are examined as a primary source of evidence about that event.

HISTORY IS INTERPRETATION BASED ON INFERENCES MADE FROM PRIMARY SOURCES

We can begin to make some reasonable inferences about the history of the time by studying and making inferences about the cartoons themselves:

  • What actions are being shown in the cartoons?
  • What can you infer about the relationship between the people in these cartoons?
  • What details in the cartoons enable you to make these inferences? 

ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS

Asking good questions about a source can help turn that source into evidence.  For example, we can ask:

  • Who made these sources?
  • What kind of sources are they?
  • How, when and where were these sources created and for what purpose?
  • What was the artist's message?

Published in The Saskaton Star-Phoenix on June 3, 1960

Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan (PAS), F379 Ed Sebestyen fonds,  File 445


Published in The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on July 13, 1961

PAS, F379 Ed Sebestyen fonds,  File 647


Published in The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on October 21, 1961

PAS, F379 Ed Sebestyen fonds,  File 698


Published in The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on April 18, 1962

PAS, F379 Ed Sebestyen fonds,  File 1293: Is There A Doctor In The House?


Published in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on April 27, 1962

PAS, F379 Ed Sebestyen fonds,  File 1293: Is There A Doctor In The House?


Published in The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on May 2, 1962

PAS, F379 Ed Sebestyen fonds,  File 1293: Is There A Doctor In The House?



Published in The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on May 16, 1962

PAS, F379 Ed Sebestyen fonds,  File 1293: Is There A Doctor In The House?


CONTEXTUALIZING

Sources can only be understood in their historical context.  We can use other sources of information and other pieces of evidence to contextualize the cartoons.  For example, we can learn more about the cartoonist and try to understand his worldview.

About the Cartoonist 

Ed Sebestyen was hired by the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix in 1949, where he worked as a photographer, engraver, editorial cartoonist, reporter, news editor, managing editor, marketing and general manager, and Executive Vice President (Planning and Corporate Development), until he retired in 1991. His earliest job at the Star-Phoenix was engraving zinc plates to be used in the printing process. He tried his hand at drawing a few editorial cartoons that were well-received by the paper's editorial staff, and this developed into work as the Star-Phoenix's first and only full-time editorial cartoonist (c. 1957-1964). Sebestyen recalled this period as the best of his newspaper career.

Sebestyen and the Star-Phoenix published four books of his editorial cartoons: An Assortment of Sebestyen Cartoons from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix (1959); Another Assortment of Sebestyen Cartoons from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix (1960); and I (1961); and Is There A Doctor In The House: A Case History, In Cartoons, on Saskatchewan's Medical Care Plan (1962).

Click here to learn more about Ed Sebestyen, the Ed Sebestyen Collection at the Provincial Archives of Saskatchewan, and about the publication of Is There A Doctor in the House? by the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix in 1962. 


CORROBORATING INFERENCES USING OTHER EVIDENCE

The process of corroborating a source tests it against other sources of information to help us develop an interpretation.  The primary sources about Medicare and the 1962 Doctors' Strike provided below can be used to test what we inferred about the 1962 Doctor's Strike when we studied the cartoons.  

  • How do these new sources confirm what you already know or inferred about Medicare and the Doctors’ Strike of 1962?
  • Do these sources extend what you know about the topic? Do they challenge what you have already examined?
  • What makes these sources important pieces of evidence?

PRIMARY SOURCE EVIDENCE FOR CORROBORATION

Click on the images of the documents below to open PDF files with the entire contents of each document.

 

  

Public Voice for Medical Care Insurance, Issue No. 1, July 7, 1962, 
published by the Saskatchewan Citizens for Medical Care 
PAS, G. 261.1, Pamphlets of Saskatchewan Citizens for Medical Care

Public Voice for Medical Care Insurance, Issue No. 2, July 14, 1962,
published by the Saskatchewan Citizens for Medical Care
PAS
, G. 261.1, Pamphlets of Saskatchewan Citizens for Medical Care

 

Public Voice for Medical Care Insurance, Issue No. 4, August 1, 1962,
published by the Saskatchewan Citizens for Medical Care

PAS, G. 261.1, Pamphlets of Saskatchewan Citizens for Medical Care

     

“Political Medicine is Bad Medicine,” ca. 1962,
PAS, G. 268.1, Pamphlets related to Medicare

  

“More Abundant Living:  CCF Program for 1960,”
published by 
CCF Saskatchewan Section, 1960
PAS, G.1.1960.8, Pamphlets of the CCF – 1960

     

“A Pledge Had Been Broken! Prepaid Medical Insurance Must Be Acceptable Doctors and Patients,”
published by the Keep Our Doctors Committee

PAS, G.521.1, Pamphlets of the Keep Our Doctors Committee, ca. 1962

  

 “Your Right to Health:  What Will the Medical Care Plan Mean to You?,”
published by 
CCF Saskatchewan Section, 1960
PAS, G.1.1960.11, Pamphlets of the CCF – 1960

 

The SCAA virtual exhibit “Medicare:  A People’s Issue” at http://scaa.sk.ca/gallery/medicare/index.php
also includes an abundance of additional primary source documents 
that may be used as evidence to corroborate the inferences made about the cartoons.