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Al Jaffee donates life’s work to Columbia University

Al Jaffee, perhaps best known for his three-panel fold-ins for MAD Magazine, is donating the vast majority of his cartoon originals and personal archives to Columbia University.

From the New York Times:

Karen Green, a Columbia librarian, approached Mr. Jaffee at last year’s New York Comic Con, a gathering place for popular-culture fans, and asked him if was interested in giving his papers to the university.

“I realized it was a good idea,” he said in a recent interview in his studio on East 56th Street in Manhattan. “It would keep my stuff in New York City, which has been very good to me. The city gave me my first break at the High School of Music and Art, which jump-started my cartooning and got me into the world of art.”

Community Comments

#1 Doug Bratton
October/7/2013
@ 5:28 pm

Al Jaffee is a great cartoonist and a great person. Columbia University and the NYC cartooning community will benefit from this generous gift of his work. Kudos to Al and Karen.

#2 Tom Richmond
October/9/2013
@ 11:39 am

I am not saying this was Al’s motivation for doing this, but the tax implications on ones heirs with regard to the “taxable” value of original artwork is significant. If I have it right, Uncle Sam taxes the inheritors of an artist’s body of work on its estimated sale value… which in the case of some cartoonists might be staggering. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few universities, especially OSU, receive collections like this to spare the kids of ultra-successful cartoonists having to either pay a gigantic tax bill or sell half their parent’s work immediately to afford to keep the other half.

Funny, Uncle Sam only allows you to deduct the cost of the materials used to create a piece of art, and not the actual estimated value of the art itself, when you donate it to a charity or cause.

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