Tag: Sullivant Hall

…And we’re back!

The Cartoon Library relocation into Sullivant Hall is now officially complete! 


Hello again, old friends! After a busy summer of busting out our move, we are thrilled to be reporting from our new home where we’re setting up our collections, settling into our new offices, and showing off a little more upper-arm strength than we had before it all began.

This week marks the Cartoon Library’s very first week in our new home, and we’ll be preparing  to officially open to the public on Monday, September 16th. Patrons will be able to visit the reading room and access the collections after this date, while we continue to work on our inaugural exhibits which will debut for the Grand Opening Festival in November.

We can’t begin this post without a shout out of thanks to the companies we worked side by side with over the past month during the long days of the move: Andrews, who transferred all of our office materials, Carney McNicholas, who carefully moved our precious collections, and Patterson Pope, who built our dazzling new shelving in Sullivant Hall. Additional thank yous are due for their willingness to star in some of the photos below, and for treating our comics and cartoons like their own.

Before we get to the real eye-candy images of our new home, for your viewing enjoyment below is just a small sampling of how to move a Cartoon Library:


The bulk of our collection was moved via book carts, bins, and on dollies. Shelf-by-shelf, keeping close attention to call numbers, millions of materials were packed onto the book carts, wrapped in plastic for protection, loaded onto the moving trucks, and brought over to our loading dock at Sullivant Hall.

Flat files packed with original artwork were hand-lifted, wrapped, and transferred on dollies, collection boxes made their way over in bins, and merchandise and decorations were all cocooned in plastic for their journey.

The move continued as such for weeks, gradually shifting to one of our offsite storage facilities that we were able to consolidate into Sullivant Hall as well. As our old home progressively emptied out before our eyes, the new one emerged.
BICLM entrance
We’re still in the process of setting up for the opening of our reading room, and there is much to be done before our big party in November, but here is a tiny sneak preview of the new home of The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum to whet your appetite:

Step into our lobby on Monday, or peruse the reference section of our reading room as we begin to fill the shelves…
main lobby (2)

Lucy Shelton Caswell Reading Room
…stay tuned for many more to come, as we continue to set up our new home!

We will be attending Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland this weekend, so if you are planning to be there please say hello! The year marks the one year anniversary of the Dylan Williams Collection, so we’ll be collecting mini comics donations, and spreading the word about our new facility and Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art.

For more information, contact mcgurk.17@osu.edu

Preparing Our Offsite Collections for the Move

If you are among the lucky who have set foot behind the scenes of the current location of the Cartoon Library, you know that our massive collection holdings cannot be contained to just this space. For many years, the Cartoon Library has occupied two offsite storage facilities for housing proofs, merchandise, and many of our bound volumes, as seen in the images below.

The expanded storage space in our new home in Sullivant Hall will afford us the ability to consolidate one of these entire additional housing areas into our archive home-base. Over the past few months, Assistant Curator Susan Liberator and Associate Curator Wendy Pflug have led our dedicated team of student workers in preparing these offsite materials to prepare for our move at the beginning of August.

The students have been sorting and rehousing items that will be relocating with us, and have come across a number of gems along the way. Of particular delight for the students was a large collection of various pop culture merchandise and memorabilia from the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, containing figurines, board games, oddities and artwork.

Below, some of our favorite finds:


Colorforms Star Trek Adventure Set. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

We swear we fought the urge to play with the Star Trek Colorforms. Except for just a little–for the sake of making sure all pieces were accounted for, of course.


Warner Brothers plush toys and Smokey the Bear Appli-Press set. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

The students also came across some vastly varying Disney memorabilia of yore:


Disney-inspired Mexican souvenir. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum


Giant Disney wall watch. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Eddie Pisarczyk unpacking a wood wall decoration from Disney's Jungle Book. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Student assistant Eddie Pisarczyk unpacking a wood wall decoration from Disney’s Jungle Book. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Hannah Schobel with a Disney toy shovel. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Student assistant Hannah Schobel with a Disney toy shovel. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Mickey's Haunted House antique pin-ball game. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Mickey’s Haunted House antique pin-ball game. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

All of these items and more have been wrapped in archival packing materials and rehoused in storage boxes, to be ready to go on moving day.

We truly could not be making this move without the help of all of our student assistants, who have accomplished so much during this process and kept us laughing the whole way. Thank you for all of your help!

Construction in Sullivant Hall is Nearly Complete!

Comics friends, fans, and family: the moment we have all been waiting for seems to be right around the corner; dressed as Ignatz and ready to throw one of the construction bricks at our enamored and awestruck heads.

On the latest hardhat tour of our soon-to-be home in Sullivant Hall, the carefully calculated rooms now had walls, the cement flooring had settled, and the windows were all in place. The dream home dreamt up since the 1970s is now almost fully realized, with just a little over a month left before the moving process will begin.

We were joined on this final hardhat tour by the great Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer of Cartoon Books, our other mighty alliances in the comics city of Columbus. Below, they are pictured in our large new seminar room, named for Will Eisner.


And now we invite you, dear readers, to join us on a virtual walk through of this incredible structure dedicated to the largest cartoon and comic art collection in the world. As you follow along, we hope you’ll envision yourself in here with us, cocktail in hand (but not near the artwork!), for our Grand Opening Festival this coming fall.

As you click through the images below, you will be walking through the north entrance to Sullivant Hall, which is the main entrance into the lobby of the Cartoon Library, shown in the architectural rendering here. To your right, the entrance to our reading room, separated from the lobby by a beautiful, large stained-glass window of Billy Ireland cartoons. To your left, the entrance to our offices and collection processing areas, where you will first be greeted by a receptionist in our waiting room. Directly in front of you, on the outside wall of one of our many massively expanded state-of-the-art collection storage areas, is a staircase leading up to the galleries, seminar room, and other public areas. The open second floor walkway wraps around, as seen in the top right photograph.

Although the details may all be hard to visualize when staring at photos of these wide, open spaces, the images below should give you an idea of the enormity of our new home. Our hearts and imaginations soar far wider than these camera angles can capture. Taken on the first floor of the building, the images below (in order) show a portion of our processing space that leads to our offices, the main (but not only!) collection storage area, and a gaze out into our reading room:

On the east side of Sullivant Hall, there is an entrance to the building through a gorgeous rotunda with an additional staircase leading up to our second floor. Up here, our three cartoon art galleries, exhibit prep room, seminar room, more storage, and a massive theater to be shared with the other departments. Below, a small portion of the rooms found along the second floor walk:

There is so much more to see, but we hope that for now this will wet your appetite for what’s to come for us at the end of the summer. As construction reaches a close, we are busy putting the finishing touches on our plans for relocating the collections, and arranging our exhibits and grand opening. These are busy and exciting days for all of us at the Cartoon Library, and we can’t wait to share the bounty of all of this hard work with you in the fall!

If you have not marked your calendars already, be sure to plan on joining us for the Grand Opening Festival on November 14th-17th. We know you are anxiously awaiting the details, and your patience shall soon be rewarded! Keep up with our blog for more information this summer as we pack, plan, and prepare to party in celebration of the world’s greatest home of cartoon art.

Below, two of the main people who could not be happier about this new era for the Cartoon Library; Founding Curator Lucy Shelton Caswell, and her former student at OSU, cartoonist and hard-hat-decorator Jeff Smith.

Cartoonist Jeff Smith and Founding Curator Lucy Shelton Caswell

Cartoonist Jeff Smith and Founding Curator Lucy Shelton Caswell


Sullivant Hall Hard Hat Tour

We came, we saw, we imagined walls where none have been built yet, hiked dusty staircases to our three heavenly cartoon museum galleries, stood stupefied and tried to envision where we would hang the limited edition full-color lithograph of Nancy dreaming about eating an ice cream cone.

The exterior of our new home, Sullivant Hall, facing N. High Street.

Curator Jenny Robb and architect Pete Confar look over the blueprints for the 2nd floor of the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum project.

Yes, our most recent hard hat tour of the Sullivant Hall building project was overwhelmingly exciting. Currently, demolition has been completed in the space, and construction begins soon.

Wandering across the North High Street pavilion from our current 6,000 sq-ft facility to the new just-under 30,000 sq-ft facility for the Cartoon Library felt like every metaphor from a college graduation to opening up a birthday gift or running into the living room on Christmas morning. The plans have been over 7 years in the making, and we’re finally just a year away, with something real to behold.

It is particularly thrilling to imagine what this must feel like for the invincible Lucy Caswell, our founding curator, to see this all start coming to fruition.

Founding Curator Lucy Shelton Caswell, in her hard hat lovingly decorated by cartoonist Jeff Smith.




Lucy, who started it all and has been here since Milton Caniff showed up with his collection in the 1970s, will finally see this long-deserved home for the Cartoon Library fully realized. After so many decades of dedicated hard work at preserving and promoting the comics form, the payoff is sure to feel beyond gratifying.

One of multiple collection storage areas.





The expansion of the Cartoon Library into Sullivant Hall offers us boundless potential. Not only will the space have three museum-quality exhibit galleries (complete with security guards, gorgeous custom made cases, and sleek benches), but every other aspect of what we do here will be enhanced.

The immensely expanded storage areas will allow us to consolidate an entire offsite facility we have been using for years. We will have a large seminar room dedicated to Will Eisner for programming as well as a conference room, giving us the potential for all new community outreach opportunities, event hosting, classes and more. We’ll have massive processing facilities for tackling the collection and comfortably accommodating more workers and volunteers. Extensive reading room space, with all new ergonomic furniture to make for the most agreeable researching experience possible. Exhibit preparation, framing, and encapsulation facilities. A gorgeous lobby (architect rendering below) with Billy Ireland’s drawing table prominently displayed in a glass case as you walk in.

Architectural rendering of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum’s north lobby.

Furthermore, we will have two large exquisitely hand-made stained-glass windows of Billy Ireland’s cartoons from The Passing Show, one of which will be back-lit and displayed at the entrance on North High Street, and the other of which will separate the reading room from the north entrance lobby.

This is indeed an exciting time for all of us here at the Cartoon Library, and we hope that all of you out there reading this can share in our glee, let alone join us for our opening festivities next fall! The three galleries in our new building will rotate three times per year, and we have some extremely riveting exhibits in the works. The opening show will be guest curated by the great Brian Walker, whose father’s International Museum of Cartoon Art collection resides here at OSU. Brian came in from Connecticut and spent the past week with us at the Cartoon Library choosing items for the show, and take it from us- it’s going to be something else.

Thank you to all who have supported us in this massive endeavor, we truly cannot wait to be able to give back with bigger and better programming and exhibits than ever before. Fall of 2013 can’t come quicker!

Library and Architecture staff in the soon-to-be home of the Cartoon Library

To see more images of the Sullivant Hall construction project, visit our Facebook page and check out the album “Sullivant Hall Hard Hat Tour”

PRESS RELEASE: The Hershey Foundation Answers Schulz Challenge

The Ohio State University logo

Contact: Jenny Robb
The Ohio State University
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
27 W. 17th Avenue Mall
Columbus OH 43210-1343

For Immediate Release: April 10th, 2012

Hershey Foundation Answers Schulz Challenge

The Ohio State University Libraries is thrilled to announce that The Hershey Foundation of Northeast Ohio has answered the Schulz Challenge with a multi-year grant of $100,000 to support the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (BICLM) facility, part of the Sullivant Hall renovation at OSU. The Hershey Foundation gift will be matched dollar for dollar by Jean Schulz, widow of Peanuts’ creator Charles M. Schulz, giving it a $200,000 impact on the project. Schulz has pledged to match all donations to the new facility up to $2.5 million. This generous grant from the Hershey Foundation brings the total raised or pledged for the Schulz Challenge to $2,380,000.

In recognition of this gift, the new BICLM office and cataloging suite will be named in honor of Peter Guren. Guren is a cartoonist and creator of the syndicated comic strip Ask Shagg, an educational feature in which his character Shagg E. Dawg answers reader’s questions about animals. Guren’s strip runs in 150 newspapers, and has provided a platform for raising awareness on environmental topics and encouraging children’s curiosity in the animal kingdom. As the husband of Debra Hershey Guren, the President and CEO of The Hershey Foundation, Guren has been the foundation’s creative force and designer for over 22 years as well as serving as their IT technician.

Since 1986, The Hershey Foundation has provided Northeast Ohio with support for children’s programming in schools, museums, and other institutions that work to enhance learning and improve the quality of children’s lives from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. To learn more, visit The Hershey Foundation website.

“The Hershey Foundation is pleased to support the capital campaign for the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum in honor of Peter Guren, my cartoonist husband, who created a cartoon strip for children of all ages,” said Debra Hershey Guren, President of The Hershey Foundation. “As The Hershey Foundation supports projects that benefit children in Ohio, we know the Cartoon Library will be a great way to connect school and youth groups to the wonderful world of cartooning.”

The Sullivant Hall renovation is estimated to cost $26 million and will be completed in 2013, at which time Sullivant Hall will house the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, the Department of Dance and the Department of Art Education. Upon completion of the Schulz Challenge, the Sullivant Hall renovation will be completely funded.

About the BICLM: Established in 1977 with a founding gift of the Milton Caniff Collection, the Cartoon Library & Museum was housed originally in two converted classrooms in Ohio State’s Journalism Building. Since then, thousands of donors have contributed to the collection with gifts ranging from one item to tens of thousands. The Cartoon Library & Museum now houses more than 450,000 works of original cartoon art, 45,000 books, 67,000 serials (including 29,000 comic books), 3,000 linear feet of manuscript materials, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings and newspaper pages.

Now the world’s largest collection of cartoon art and comics material, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is currently located in the lower level of the Wexner Center for the Arts complex. Its new, permanent home in Sullivant Hall will expand its space from 6,808 square feet to 30,000 square feet, providing much-needed additional storage and new exhibition galleries that will allow more of the collection to be displayed and made accessible to the public. For more information, see The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum website.

Download Press Release as PDF

To find out more about our expansion into Sullivant Hall in 2013, see these earlier blog posts:

Demolition underway at Sullivant Hall

We have never been happier to see a wrecking ball!

Construction at Sullivant Hall, which will house the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

As of this past week, the stairs on the north entrance of the building have been taken down. We’re changing this aspect of the building to ensure easy accessability, and make the entrance feel as welcoming as possible to the public. Below, you can see a shot of the demolition on the stairs, and a detail of what the entrance will look like in a rendering of the plans.

Demolition of the stairs at the north entrance of Sullivant Hall

Rendering detail of the new entrance to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum by George Acock.

We’re all very excited to watch renovations progress on our beautiful new home, and will continue to post updates about it through the move!

Blog Launch, and the Construction of Our New Home in Sullivant Hall

Welcome to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Blog! We’re very excited to join the comics blogosphere, and keep you all informed on what we’re up to. This blog will generally be updated at least twice a week with a smattering of events and activities of the Cartoon Library, highlights from our collection, interviews, and more. We hope you will add us to your feed, and continue to check back for the latest news. Please click the “About Us” tab find out more details about who we are.

For our debut post, I’d like to give a quick background on the history of the collection, culminating in some very exciting news about the move to our new home in 2013.

The Milton Caniff Reading Room opened in 1977  in two renovated classrooms in the Journalism Building of Ohio State University. Caniff [Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon] had donated in multiple installments his entire collection to OSU: 696 cubic feet of original art, correspondence, research files, photographs, memorabilia, merchandise, realia, awards, audio/visual material and scrapbooks.

Founding Curator Lucy Shelton Caswell, and Milton Caniff

Although there was no structure for collecting such materials from cartoonists, and few (if any) institutions in America were, Caniff was a proud OSU graduate and felt compelled to leave his legacy material with his beloved Alma mater. Lucy Caswell had worked in the journalism library and was hired to catalog the Caniff collection.  Caswell recognized how precious these materials were and saw that they were under-appreciated in academic institutions and museums at large.   She set out to establish an appropriate home for the collecting and preservation of cartoon art, and nearly 40 years later this altruistic goal has grown into the largest collection of cartoons and comics in the world.

The Cartoon Library in its original 1977 home in the Journalism Building. Note the ancient computer, and telephone cable wired from the ceiling!

Having grown exponentially by the early 1990s, by then containing 200,000 original cartoons and more than 1,000 linear feet of manuscript materials, the library moved into a new temperature and humidity controlled state-of-the-art facility to better house and preserve materials.


Cartoon Library Reading Room.  This space doubles as our exhibition gallery.  (click to enlarge)

A small portion of our art cases for originals, with single-issue comics storage in the background (click to enlarge)









This 6,800 square-foot space has remained our home through today.   As the storage area filled up, the Library was given the opportunity to store some of its materials at a new off-site, high-density remote depository that is shared by all the Ohio State University Libraries.

Offsite Storage (click to enlarge)

Offsite Storage (click to enlarge)








Although it may seem hard to imagine , by 2012 we have almost completely run out of space.  Our current holdings have reached over 300,000 originals, nearly 45,000 books, 67,000 serial titles, 3,000 linear feet of manuscript material, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings and tearsheets– making us the largest comprehensive research collection documenting cartoon art in the world.

This is why we are in the process of building a new facility to house the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.  In 2013, we will be moving into a beautiful new home in Sullivant Hall, at the gateway to campus. This new facility will include three exhibition galleries, a large new reading room, a seminar room for educational programming, and much larger office and collection storage facilities. Our square footage will be increased from 6,800 to almost 30,000- a dream come true for a long and lovingly harvested collection that has striven to give the deserved recognition to the underdog medium that is cartoon art.  We are so incredibly thrilled and excited to settle into our new home, and endlessly thankful to those who have made the funding possible. Below, you can enjoy some artist renderings of our soon-to-be home, done by architect George Acock:

North entrance rendering

Gallery Rendering (one of 3 exhibit spaces!)

Please continue to check back here for updates and photos as the construction moves along. We hope you’ll come celebrate with us in 2013!