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OSU Cartoon Library changes name in honor of $7 Million gift

The Ohio State University Board of Trustees today approved the naming of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in recognition of a $7 million gift from the Elizabeth Ireland Graves Foundation to support the renovation of Sullivant Hall, an historic building located at a main gateway to the university’s campus.

The project is estimated to cost $20.6 million and will be completed in 2013, at which time Sullivant Hall will house both the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum and The Ohio State University Department of Dance.

“The Graves Foundation has made a critical investment to enhance the learning environment for students, faculty, and visitors from around the world,” said President E. Gordon Gee. “The revitalized Sullivant Hall will be a fitting home to two university treasures – the top-ranked Department of Dance and the world-renowned Cartoon Library and Museum. Naming the latter in Billy Ireland’s honor is a fitting tribute to a remarkable Ohioan.”

The Columbus Dispatch hired Ireland, a native of Chillicothe, Ohio, shortly after his high school graduation in 1898. A self-taught cartoonist, he worked for the Dispatch until his death in 1935 and was known both for his editorial cartoons and for his Sunday feature The Passing Show.

An exhibition of Ireland’s work will be held at Ohio State in the fall 2010.

“Billy Ireland was a Columbus celebrity during his lifetime,” according to Lucy Shelton Caswell, the cartoon library and museum’s founding curator. “He enjoyed a national reputation and his work is still delightful to read. This is a fitting honor for a great cartoonist. We look forward to sharing his work with a new generation of readers.”

Community Comments

#1 Steve Greenberg
@ 8:55 am

I’d never heard of Billy Ireland, and am often skeptical of “naming rights” situations, but since he was a professional cartoonist, and worked in Columbus to gain regional acclaim, this seems like a good match to preserve his legacy and to help fund OSU’s important cartoon collection.

#2 RobSmithJr
@ 11:49 am

My feelings exactly, Steve.

#3 Tom Heintjes
@ 2:01 pm

Billy Ireland is one of the greats. I don’t collect much original art, but one that I do have is a Passing Show original. Just beautiful work. This honor is well deserved.

#4 Paul Jon
@ 11:30 am

A friend gave me a book of Billy Ireland’s work that I treasure (and not just because it’s signed by Milt Caniff).

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