The Only Dirty Thing Ernie Bushmiller Ever Did

In 1961 Ernie Bushmiller, the creator of Nancy, contributed a comic to the Dutch Treat Club yearbook.

The privately printed edition of 750 copies was distributed to the attendees of the club’s annual dinner in the Sert room of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel New York on May 3 of that year. The Dutch Treat Club was (and is) a fraternal luncheon (and cocktail) organization founded in 1905, which boasted a prominent membership of creative professionals. The club maintained no home base, operating instead as a floating Tuesday afternoon soiree at designated Manhattan bistros. The yearbook was launched in 1920 as a souvenir program of its bacchanalian annual dinner, which traditionally included a full-fledged theatrical revue, produced by and starring its multitalented members.

Bushmiller joined the Dutch Treat Club in mid-career, long after the yearbook’s heyday. His name first appears in the membership rolls in 1944 and he remained a loyal member until shortly before his death. Despite this longtime affiliation, “How To Housebreak Your Dog” was Bushmiller’s sole Yearbook effort. Ernie later referred to this strip as “the only dirty thing I ever did.”

Produced and printed under old laws where a creator had to actively copyright a work, this piece became public domain, and “[i]n various modes and media over the past six decades, this mutt has stepped up to the couch again and again.”

Mark Newgarden, for The Comics Journal, details the many incarnations and variations this strip has had from shortly after its appearance to a fake pencil version being offered on eBay as the original just six weeks ago.



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