Cataloguing of International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA) Collection complete

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 11, 2017
Cataloguing of International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA) Collection complete

Mort Walker, founder of the International Museum of Cartoon Art, with BICLM founding curator Lucy Caswell at the Billy Ireland’s Sullivant Hall Grand Opening party in 2013.

The International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA) was founded by Mort Walker, the creator of Beetle Bailey and many other comic strips, in 1974. Originally named the Museum of Cartoon Art (MCA) when it opened, it was the first museum dedicated to collecting and exhibiting cartoons. The museum organized many wonderful exhibitions and programs and pioneered the idea that cartoon art belonged in museums and should be enjoyed and appreciated just as other art forms are. The institution underwent several relocations before unfortunately closing in 2002.

In 2008, Mort and Catherine Walker, along with the IMCA board, made the generous decision to transfer the museum’s collection to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, so that we could carry forward the work they had done. “We have been processing, cataloguing and rehousing this impressive and extensive collection since 2008, and we are thrilled to announce that the project is finally complete,” said Assistant Curator Ann Lennon, who has been leading the project.

When it first arrived in 2008, the IMCA collection filled the library at our former location. Boxes upon boxes of materials underwent an initial sort before cataloguing could begin.

IMCA’s collection consists of approximately 200,000 items, including 83,214 original drawings from all genres of cartoon art (comic strips, comic books, animation, editorial, advertising, sport, caricature, greeting cards, graphic novels, and illustrations), display figures, toys and collectibles, and works on film and tape.

The collection includes roughly 500 animation cels and many more original animation drawings, including work by greats such as Disney and Hanna Barbera, backgrounds by Robert Little, and work by Russian animators. 2,587 books and comic books are now in the OSU Libraries’ catalogue, and over 130 boxes of merchandise, including comic strip character memorabilia, are listed in a finding aid.

“Included in the IMCA Collection are an array of treasures, which we are honored to house and are excited to share in our exhibitions, in our digital collections, and in our teaching work at OSU,” said Curator and Associate Professor Jenny Robb. “Many pieces are included in our current exhibits and some you will have seen in our programming to date. All are available for research and study to anyone who visits our facility. We are so grateful to Mort Walker and the team of the International Museum of Cartoon Art for collecting and caring for these objects for so many years and making it possible for us to share them now with our researchers and visitors.”

Original art for Beetle Bailey by Mort Walker. June 10, 1962. International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection.

The original art in the collection is numerous, varied, and represents iconic moments in comics history: Dick Tracy artwork from the 1930s to 1970s (5,744 strips!), Prince Valiant pages from the 1940s to the 1970s, New Yorker cartoonist Barbara Shermund’s cartoons from the 1920s, Toby Press romance comic book pages from the 1950s, and many more. The collection also includes Michael Berry travel drawings, work by A.B.Walker for Harper’s Bazaar, and of course, IMCA founder Mort Walker’s beloved strips Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois.

In order to catalog the original art in the collection and make it discoverable online, BICLM staff first completed a physical reorganization and rehousing, then entered data for all original art items into our database. Every item was identified as completely as possible, with titles, artists, dates, and measurements. Each one was then assigned subject headings for ease of searching, and imaged so that thumbnails appear beside the records. The whole collection is interleaved with acid-free paper and housed in acid-free boxes in our temperature-controlled archive space. Custom-made mounts encase the animation cels.

Now we want to share the collection with you! Everything is available to search on the BICLM website. A finding aid is coming soon, but in the meantime follow the Art link to search original art and follow the Books link to find IMCA books, comic books and catalogues. Or visit the Reading Room to see any part of the collection in person. Contact cartoons@osu.edu for more information.

About the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: The BICLM is one of The Ohio State University Libraries’ special collections. Its primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection of materials documenting American printed cartoon art (editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons) and to provide access to the collections.  The BICLM is housed in a renovated 30,000 square foot space in Sullivant Hall that includes a museum with three exhibition galleries, a reading room for researchers and a state-of-the-art collections storage space. The library reading room is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 – 5 p.m. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m. See http://cartoons.osu.edu/ for further information.

Celebrating 40 Years at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

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Contact: Caitlin McGurk
The Ohio State University
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
1813 N High St.
Columbus OH 43210-1393
614-292-0538
cartoons@osu.edu

For Immediate Release: Upcoming Exhibit at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

TALES FROM THE VAULT:
CELEBRATING 40 YEARS AT THE BILLY IRELAND CARTOON LIBRARY & MUSEUM

March 25, 2017 – October 22, 2017

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum will celebrate its 40th anniversary with two new exhibits that explore the history and highlights of the institution and collections.

40 Years/40 Stories
Robinson Gallery

Explore 40 stories about fascinating collectors, groundbreaking comics, controversial cartoons, influential characters, innovative cartoonists, and more from 40 years of collecting at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. This exhibition will feature a selection of works spanning over 250 years and the tales that bring them to life. From Civil War era magic lantern slides to the underground comix women’s liberation movement, learn the stories behind the storytellers and the tales that BICLM is dedicated to preserving. Curated by Jenny Robb and Caitlin McGurk.

FOUNDING COLLECTIONS: 1977-1987
Friends of the Libraries Gallery

This exhibition celebrates the story of the library’s founding and its first decade of collecting, beginning with works from its original collections, the archives of Milton Caniff, creator of Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon and illustrator Jon Whitcomb.   The tale continues with important national figures in the history of American cartoon art such as pioneering licensing agent Toni Mendez, and preeminent cartoonists Will Eisner, Edwina Dumm, and Walt Kelly, whose early donations helped to establish Ohio State University as the premier institutional collector of comics and cartoon art. The exhibit will also feature art and archival materials from OSU alumni, Ohio cartoonists, student cartoonists from The Lantern, and the Archives of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists and the National Cartoonists Society. Curated by BICLM’s founding curator, Lucy Shelton Caswell.

Founding donor Milton Caniff in the original Milton Caniff Research Room in the OSU Journalism Building

SAVE THE DATE for an exhibit reception and 40th anniversary celebration!

Monday, May 1, 2017
4:00 – 7:00 pm

On May 1, 1977, work began on what would eventually become The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Join us for a special celebration, exactly 40 years later!


About the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum:  The BICLM is one of The Ohio State University Libraries’ special collections. Its primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection of materials documenting American printed cartoon art (editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons) and to provide access to the collections.  The BICLM is housed in a renovated 30,000 square foot space in Sullivant Hall that includes a museum with three exhibition galleries, a reading room for researchers and a state-of-the-art collections storage space. The library reading room is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 – 5 p.m. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 1 – 5 p.m.  See http://cartoons.osu.edu/ for further information.

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