Tales from the Vault


40 Years / 40 Stories

From 1977 to 2017, the collections of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum grew to include millions of objects that document the history, artistry and influence of cartoons and comics. These objects each have a tale to tell about our society and politics; about our fads and follies; about our struggles, triumphs and failures. The artworks, artifacts and archives on display reflect a broad range of human experience.

We have chosen 40 stories from the many that could be told through our collections: stories about the cartoons and comics themselves, the artists and writers who created them, the people who collected them and their impact on the audience that read them.

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is dedicated to preserving these objects and uncovering the stories they have to tell. 

This digital exhibition is based on a physical exhibition created to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and displayed in the Robinson Gallery from March 25, 2017 – October 22, 2017. The exhibition was curated by Caitlin McGurk and Jenny Robb with assistance from Amy Chalmers. 


Start Exploring


Caption for header image
(Top row, left to right)
1 – Rube Goldberg, Rube Goldberg Views the News for His Latest Invention, March 31, 1951.
2 – Richard F. Outcault, Around the World with the Yellow Kid: The Yellow Kid Invades Germany, 1897.
3 – Al Capp, Li’l Abner, October 21, 1946.
4 – Lyn Chevli and Joyce Farmer, Abortion Eve, 1973.
(Bottom row, left to right)
1 – Various artists, All-Negro Comics No. 1, June 1947.
2 – Lynn Johnston, For Better or For Worse, April 10, 1995.
3 – Victor F. Gillam, Phryne before the Chicago Tribunal, June 4, 1884.