Library receives grant for original cartoon art

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), Syracuse University Library has been awarded a grant of $79,440 by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to support the arrangement and description of the library’s 134 unprocessed collections of original cartoon art. The funds will help support a full-time project archivist for a period of two years. The award to Syracuse was one of six “Detailed Processing Grants” awarded by NHPRC and the Archivist of the United States. Other recipients included Princeton University and the University of Chicago.

Syracuse’s collection of original cartoon art is among the most comprehensive in America. It includes original work by approximately 173 artists (more than 20,000 items) and comprises more than 1,000 linear feet of material. Spanning the course of the 20th century, it includes both serial and editorial cartoons. Among the serial cartoonists represented are: Bud Fisher, whose Mutt and Jeff was the earliest

successful daily comic strip; Mort Walker, whose Beetle Bailey anticipated the changing notions of American masculinity and militarism during the Cold War; Hal Foster, whose lavishly illustrated Prince Valiant elevated the artistic ambitions of the genre; and Morrie Turner whose Wee Pals was the first comic strip to chronicle the lives of racial and ethnic minorities in American life. The editorial and political cartoonists represented in the collection include: William Gropper, whose leftist political cartoons in the Daily Worker raised working class consciousness during World War II; F.O. Alexander, whose everyman alter-ego “Joe Doakes” experienced the turbulence of the 1960s in the pages of the Philadelphia Bulletin; and Carey Orr, whose editorial cartoons appeared in the Chicago Tribune for nearly fifty years straight.

Hat tip: E&P