Happy 143rd Birthday, Winsor McCay!

Tomorrow will mark the great Winsor McCay’s 143rd birthday, and as the proud home of the world’s largest public collection of McCay originals, we’re glad to give him a shout out.

Back in the infancy of our blog, we featured McCay’s Tale of the Jungle Imps and the story of how five of the fully hand-colored originals came to arrive at the Cartoon Library in 2006- the first known originals to ever resurface. However, those five breathtaking pieces are a small sampling of over 90 original McCay works that reside in our collection.

Among these, more than 20 of the original animation cels from McCay’s groundbreaking early animation from 1914, Gertie the Dinosaur, which paved the way for later animators like Walt Disney and the Fleischer brothers who would also employ lovable anthropomorphic creatures and animals as the stars of their cartoons.

Original Winsor McCay production drawing for “Gertie The Dinosaur”. From the Woody Gelman Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Original Winsor McCay production drawing for “Gertie the Dinosaur”. Gift of Mrs. Henrietta Adam Brotherton. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Original Winsor McCay production drawing for “Gertie the Dinosaur”. Gift of Mrs. Henrietta Adam Brotherton. The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Our other McCay originals span almost the entirety of his cartooning career, including a large collection of pieces from Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, McCay’s editorial cartoons, A Pilgrim’s Progress, Hungry HenriettaLittle Sammy Sneeze and more.

McCay would use the same dinosaur character in his comic strips as well, as seen in the original below from Dino.

Winsor McCay original for “Dino”. From the Woody Gelman Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum