William Gropper (1897-1977) was born on the Lower East Side of New York City into a working-class Jewish family. In high school he studied under the artists George Bellows and Robert Henri, and then attended the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts (now the Parsons School of Design) on a scholarship. He became a staff cartoonist for Morning Freiheit, a Yiddish newspaper, where he worked for two decades. He also contributed to left-wing periodicals such as the The Rebel Worker, the Daily Worker, and the World, and founded the leftist magazine New Masses. In 1953, Senator Joseph McCarthy subpoenaed and subsequently blacklisted Gropper as he believed Gropper's widely disseminated painting, William Gropper's America, was inspired by Communist ideas. In 1970, Gropper published his book The Shtetl, a series of color lithographs depicting Jewish village life. He died in Manhasset, New York.