Cartoon Library and Museum
The world's most comprehensive academic research facility dedicated to documenting printed cartoon art is in need of a facelift. The collection is housed at The Ohio State University and with the help of the widow of "Peanuts" creator Charles M. Schulz, the dream is becoming a reality. See the full press release on the challenge issued by Mrs. Shulz: http://cartoons.os u.edu/ ?q=news/donate-schulz-challenge
Tags: cartoons cartoon library Columbus Ohio cartoon library and museum Charles M. Schulz preservation
Added: 4 years ago
[scene opens inside of the Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University, as the camera pans across several cardboard boxes (many stacked up to the ceiling)]
LUCY: [in voice over] We're crammed full, we-we really are completely out of space.
[cut to sped-up footage of Lucy Shelton Caswell arranging some comic strip artwork in compact shelving]
LUCY: [in voice over] In our new building, which we will ... in which we will have forty thousand square feet, roughly.
[cut to a still image of an artist's rendering for what the renovated library space will look like]
LUCY: [in voice over] Uh, we will have three museum-quality galleries.
[cut to Lucy speaking directly to the camera]
LUCY: Jean Schulz has given a very generous gift of a million dollars. Um, with the additional offer of matching up to two-point-five million dollars, dollar for dollar. So, if we can raise another two-point-five million dollars from outside people, she will double that.
[cut to Lucy walking through the library's stacks area]
LUCY: The largest collection that we got here at Ohio State was the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection, which came in Nineteen Ninety Eight in six semi-trucks. It was seventy five tons of material. The heart of that collection is about two-point-five million comic strip clippings, and it's a wonderful treasure.
CAMERAMAN: [from off camera] Now, wait a minute. Seventy five tons?
LUCY: Seventy five tons.
CAMERAMAN: [from off camera] Where, where is all this stuff?
LUCY: Um, it's ... here.
[they both laugh, then cut to Lucy opening a drawer and taking out some artwork]
LUCY: Our founding donor was the cartoonist Milton Caniff, who was an alumnus of Ohio State. And he did, um, the comic strip "Terry and the Pirates," "Male Call," and "Steve Canyon."
[she pulls out an example of "Terry and the Pirates" marked "Jan 8"]
LUCY: And this is an original "Terry and the Pirates" page from Nineteen Thirty Nine.
[cut to Lucy displaying another piece of comic strip artwork]
CAMERAMAN: [from off camera] So, what years are we looking at here?
LUCY: We're looking at Nineteen Twenty Five, here.
CAMERAMAN: [from off camera] This is a Nineteen Twenty Five, and you're putting it up on the web ... Uh, you gotta be careful, I guess, with this, huh?
CAMERAMAN: [from off camera] You can't just reach out and touch.
[the cameraman reaches his hand into the shot, pretending to touch the artwork]
CAMERAMAN: [from off camera] No.
LUCY: We, we--
CAMERAMAN: [from off camera] You've got gloves, I see.
LUCY: We handle the original art very carefully.
[cut to Lucy opening a drawer filled with art supplies (charcoal pencils, paintbrushes, etc.)]
LUCY: [in voice over] It's important for us to house these works appropriately. It's also important for people to be able to find us, and right now, our door is very difficult to find.
[cut to a shot of a glass door reading "Cartoon Research Library", then to more shots of inside of the library (including a cardboard box marked "Dennis the Menace Box 20")]
LUCY: [in voice over] And finally, we think because this art is so beautiful and some of it is incredibly rare, we want to be able to exhibit it, and make it available to the wider public.
[cut to a shot of the book "Peanuts Jubilee" by Charles Shulz]
LUCY: [in voice over] Not digitally, but the real thing ... because digital art imaging reproductions on the web are wonderful.
[cut back to Lucy speaking directly to the camera]
LUCY: But seeing the real thing is really fun!
["Cartoon Library and Museum at The Ohio State University, cartoons dot osu dot edu" appears on screen]
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is a research library of American cartoons and comic art affiliated with the Ohio State University library system in Columbus, Ohio. Formerly known as the Cartoon Research Library and the Cartoon Library & Museum, it holds the world's largest and most comprehensive academic research facility documenting and displaying original and printed comic strips, editorial cartoons and cartoon art. The Museum is named after the Ohio cartoonist Billy Ireland.
Covering comic books, daily strips, Sunday strips, editorial cartoons, graphic novels, magazine cartoons and sports cartoons, the collection includes 450,000 original cartoons, 36,000 books, 51,000 serial titles and 3,000 feet (910 m) of manuscript materials, plus 2.5 million comic strip clippings and tear sheets.
In 2011, the Museum became the source for a new publication, The Sunday Funnies, devoted to large-size (22"x16") color reprints of vintage Sunday pages.
Curator and collections
Jenny E. Robb is the Museum's curator, as of January 1, 2011. Before arriving at Ohio State in 2005, Robb was curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco for five years. She has Masters degrees in history and museum studies from Syracuse University. Wendy Pflug joined the staff as Associate Curator in December 2011. Visiting Curator Caitlin McGurk, who started February 2012, manages the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Blog.
The Museum's founder and former curator is Lucy Shelton Caswell, author of several books on cartooning, including Illusions: Ethnicity in American Cartoon Art (Ohio State Libraries, 1992) and Arnold Roth: Free Lance (Fantagraphics, 2001). The Cartoon Library began in 1977 when the Milton Caniff Collection was donated to Ohio State and delivered to the School of Journalism, which was headed by Caswell.
The Caniff Collection consists of 12,000 original artworks by Caniff, 85 boxes of memorabilia and more than 450 boxes of manuscript materials, fan letters and business records. From two classrooms off the back hallway of the Journalism Building in 1977, the collection expanded to three classrooms and became part of the University Libraries. By 1989, the three classrooms were filled, and the Library moved into a larger space, eventually requiring the use of off-site storage as the collection continued to expand. Interviewed by Matt Tauber, Caswell detailed the Museum's origins and how she became involved:
"Caniff loved his university very much and truly believed that without the education he got here he would not have achieved the things that he did. So his sense of gratitude to the university was palpable... Somebody had to be responsible to make sure it was all there, and all the boxes had my name on it. When funding was made available to work on Caniff, I was offered a six-month appointment. I've been here ever since. The original collection was housed in the Journalism building. When I started working with it, we were in two classrooms that had been converted, a door cut between them, so that one was a reading room and one was a storage area... At the time that I started, there weren't really the kinds of resources to teach and learn about comics that we have now. So I basically had to make it up as we went along. There just wasn't anything else out there. As a good librarian and scholar I started writing around to other places that said they had cartoon collections to see how they did things, because you don't want to reinvent the wheel if somebody's already figured it out. It turned out that nobody had the kind of thing that we had in the Caniff collection, i.e. so extensive, and the combination of art and manuscript materials. And nobody else was trying to grow it the way we were."
As the Museum's collection of original art and manuscripts evolved and expanded, it added the Nick Anderson Collection, the Jim Borgman Collection, the Eldon Dedini Collection, the Edwina Dumm Collection, the Will Eisner Collection, the Woody Gelman Collection of Winsor McCay cartoons, the Walt Kelly Collection, the Collection of agent Toni Mendez and the Bill Watterson Collection. The Jay Kennedy Collection has more than 9,500 underground comic books. The Bud Blake Collection includes more than 5,800 of the cartoon panels he drew for King Features Syndicate from 1954 to 1965, plus 10,000 daily and Sunday Tiger originals. In 1992, United Media donated the Robert Roy Metz Collection of 83,034 original cartoons by 113 cartoonists. In 2007, King Features Syndicate donated its proof sheet collection, consisting of over two million strips (a duplicate set was donated to Michigan State University's Comic Art Collection).
Comic strips and mergers
The San Francisco Academy of Comic Art Collection was acquired from its director, Bill Blackbeard, giving the library the largest collection of newspaper comic strip tear sheets and clippings in the world. In 1998, six semi-trailer trucks transported this collection from California to Ohio.
In June 2008, the collection of the International Museum of Cartoon Art (more than 200,000 originals with an estimated value of $20 million) was transferred to the Cartoon Library & Museum. Founded in 1973 by cartoonist Mort Walker, the IMCA collection includes a wide variety of original cartoon art (comic strips, comic books, animation, editorial, advertising, sport, caricature, greeting cards, graphic novels, and illustrations), display figures, toys and collectibles, plus works on film and tape, CDs and DVDs.The 2009 exhibition From Yellow Kid to Conan: American Cartoons from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection was held from June to August.
Archives and exhibitions
Archival professional records include the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, National Cartoonists Society, Newspaper Features Council and the Cartoonists Guild. A biographical registry of cartoonists contains files for more than 5,000 cartoonists and clipping files organized by cartoon-related subjects.
The library sponsors programs related to cartoon art by staging exhibitions, lending for exhibits elsewhere, and hosting speakers, seminars, workshops and conferences. Some physical exhibitions have been made available as digital exhibitions.
The Festival of Cartoon Art has been held triennially since 1983. Featuring two days of lectures, panel discussions, exhibitions and receptions, it attracts cartoonists, comics scholars, fans, collectors and students. Leading cartoonists have spoken at the Festival, including Lynda Barry, Milton Caniff, Will Eisner, Jules Feiffer, Ben Katchor, Patrick Oliphant, Jeff Smith, Art Spiegelman, Garry Trudeau and Bill Watterson.
The museum's collection includes work by Anne Mergen, who was the only female editorial cartoonist in the United States for much of her career.
In May 2010, the Ohio State University Press announced Studies in Comics and Cartoons, a series of books edited by Caswell and Jared Gardner, Associate Professor in the Department of English. Books published in this series will focus on comics and graphic literature with monographs and edited collections covering the history of comics and cartoons from the editorial cartoon and early sequential comics of the 19th century through contemporary international comics and online comics.
Expansion plans include the renovation of historic Sullivant Hall located on High Street adjacent to the Wexner Center for the Arts. This proposed facility will expand from its current 6,808 square feet (632.5 m2) to more than 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2). When completed, it will feature a reading room for researchers, three museum-quality galleries and expanded storage space with state-of-the-art environmental and security controls.
In May 2009, Jean Schulz, widow of Charles M. Schulz, made a donation of $1 million with a promise of a matching grant if more funds were raised. Her challenge was that she would provide an additional gift of $2.5 million if Ohio State raises the same amount from other sources to reach a $6 million total. Cartoonist Bil Keane and his family have answered the Schulz Challenge with a $50,000 gift.
In September 2009, it was announced that the Ohio State University Board of Trustees approved a new name, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, in recognition of a $7 million gift from an anonymous donor to support the renovation of Sullivant Hall.
The $20.6 million project will be completed in 2013, at which time Sullivant Hall will house both the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum and Ohio State's Department of Dance. A native of Chillicothe, Ohio, Billy Ireland (1880–1935) was a self-taught cartoonist who was hired by The Columbus Dispatch shortly after his 1898 high school graduation. Until his death on May 29, 1935, Ireland worked in Columbus, Ohio for the Dispatch, drawing both editorial cartoons and his Sunday feature, The Passing Show. His work was exhibited by the Museum in 2003.
Jenny E. Robb became the Museum's new curator on January 1, 2011, following the December 31, 2010, retirement of Lucy Caswell, who returned as curator of Special Projects in March 2011.
The Ohio State University received a gift of $1 million from Jean Schulz, the widow of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, to support the renovation of Sullivant Hall, the future home of the world's most comprehensive academic research facility dedicated to documenting printed cartoon art.
Along with her generous gift, Mrs. Schulz issued a challenge: she will provide an additional matching gift of $2.5 million if Ohio State raises the same amount from other sources, making the total impact of her gift $6 million.
"By helping to underwrite a state-of-the-art facility for the University's renowned Cartoon Library and Museum, Jean Schulz advances the work of students, faculty, and scholars, and deepens our understanding of the importance of the genre," said Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. "Her gift is an especially fitting way to honor the remarkable creative legacy of her late husband, Charles."
Located at a highly visible location along High Street and adjacent to the Wexner Center for the Arts, the historic Sullivant Hall is in dire need of repair. The planned renovation will provide 40,000 gross square feet of space for the new Cartoon Library and Museum that will include a spacious reading room for researchers, three museum-quality galleries, and expanded storage with state-of-the-art environmental and security controls. A dedicated ground-level entry will allow for easy access to the new facility. The addition of exhibition galleries dedicated to cartoon art will facilitate public display of the Library's extraordinary collection.
When asked what inspired her to give to the Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State, Jean Schulz said, "Lucy Caswell has done a marvelous job in collecting and preserving works in the cartoon medium. I was pleased at the opportunity to help provide a fitting home for this important collection and to recognize her contribution in the field."
The Sullivant renovation will also provide new spaces for the Department of Dance and the Music/Dance Library, and an upgraded auditorium, which will be used for numerous community, academic, and performance purposes.
Total renovation cost is estimated at $ 20.6 million, with architectural design to take 12 months, followed by 6 months for bidding and contracts, and 24 months for construction.
Due to its outstanding reputation, growing collection and a surge of scholarly interest in comics and cartoons, the Cartoon Library and Museum - formerly known as the Cartoon Research Library - is a destination location for researchers from around the world.
With a founding gift of the Milton Caniff Collection, Ohio State's Cartoon Library and Museum was established in 1977 in two converted classrooms in the University's Journalism Building. From this small beginning, founding curator Lucy Shelton Caswell has spent more than thirty years building the Library into the widely renowned facility it is today.
The Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State is one of the most admired and sought-after caretakers of legacy collections. Thousands of donors have contributed to the collection, with gifts ranging from one item to tens of thousands. In 1992, the Robert Roy Metz Collection of 83,034 original cartoons by 113 cartoonists was donated by United Media, and in 2007, the entire collection of the International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA), numbering more than 200,000 originals, was transferred to the Cartoon Library and Museum.
With the addition of the IMCA's extensive permanent collection, the Cartoon Library and Museum now houses more than 400,000 works of original cartoon and comic art, 35,000 books, 51,000 serial titles, 2,800 linear feet of manuscript materials, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings and newspaper pages. Moving into its new home from its current location, a 6,800-square-foot basement north of Mershon Auditorium, will allow more of the collection to be displayed and readily accessible.
"We are very grateful to Jean Schulz for her generous gift and for her challenge which will encourage everyone who cares about cartoon art to become involved in our project," said Lucy Shelton Caswell. "The new Cartoon Library and Museum will be a place of learning and enjoyment for the public and scholars alike."