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James F. Dent


Humorist and political cartoonist James Frederick Dent (December 29, 1928-July 17, 1992) was born in Charleston. His talent for turning daily events into delightful anecdotes gained him national fame. Reader’s Digest reprinted 194 items from his columns, and radio commentator Paul Harvey often used his work.

Dent was educated at Charleston’s Stonewall Jackson High School and at West Virginia University. While at WVU, he worked during the summers as a copy boy at the Charleston Gazette. In 1952, after graduation, he went to work there as a reporter. He eventually became the Gazette’s movie and book reviewer and political cartoonist. Under the byline Jay Fredericks, he wrote the Sunday Gazette-Mail’s television column. Gazette publisher W. E. Chilton once joked that if he could also get the versatile Dent to sweep up, he could dismiss the entire news department and janitorial staff. Dent began writing the newspaper’s ‘‘Gazetteer’’ column in 1962 and continued it until his death. His columns appear in two books, The Dog With the Cold Nose and Jim Dent Strikes Back. Dent’s cartoons usually took a liberal slant on events in the news, as did the Gazette. West Virginia State Archives is now the repository for 5,700 of his political cartoons.


  1. Gazetteer James F. Dent Dead at 63. Charleston Gazette, 7/18/1992.

  2. Knight, Wallace E. James F. Dent: An Appreciation. Charlestonian Magazine, (Spring 1993).