2023 Lucy Shelton Caswell Research Award Winners: Galvan, Yezbick & Knopf

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (BICLM) is pleased to announce the winners of the annual Lucy Shelton Caswell Research Award for 2023. The award is named for Professor Emerita Lucy Shelton Caswell, the founding curator of BICLM, and provides $2500 to support researchers who need to travel to Columbus, Ohio to use the BICLM collections materials on site.

We were delighted to receive a robust and diverse range of proposals from both national and international scholars and artists. A panel of reviewers from a variety of disciplines at Ohio State was appointed to assess the proposals.

The recipients for 2023 are Margaret Galvan and Christina Knopf & Dan Yezbick (research team)

2023 Lucy Shelton Caswell Award Winner Margaret Galvan

Dr. Margaret Galvan is Assistant Professor of Visual Rhetoric in the Department of English at the University of Florida. Her research examines how visual culture operates within social movements and includes a first book, In Visible Archives: Queer and Feminist Visual Culture in the 1980s, out this fall with University of Minnesota Press. The award will support Galvan’s research toward her second book project, Comics in Movement, which examines how communities of LGBTQ cartoonists innovated comics in the 1980s-90s. Comics in Movement recovers a queer and trans history of comics by forming queer and trans theory from comics, examining how transnational communities of LGBTQ cartoonists innovated comics and built community together through various grassroots formats in the 1980s and 1990s to create a thriving publishing landscape. She will be utilizing our unparalleled underground comix collections, the Jay Kennedy Collection and Jay Lynch Collections in particular, as well as the Katherine Collins Collection and original art and biographical files of other key LGBTQ cartoonists.


Dan Yezbick is Professor of English and Communications and Intercultural Education Coordinator at Wildwood College outside of St. Louis, MO.  Dr. Christina M. Knopf is a professor, and the public speaking coordinator, in the Communication and Media Studies Department at the State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland. Yezbick and Knopf’s research project engages with BICLM founding donor Milton Caniff’s WWII-era fan correspondence, particularly relating to the role of Miss Lace in his comic strip Male Call. They will explore and evaluate the resonance of readers’ responses to such issues as: gendered identities in combat culture and social culture; disruption and uncertainty in domestic affairs and political affairs; ambivalent erotics of pin-up culture, and sex-centered comic strip narrative, as well as the general use of ribald situational comedy and risqué satire to deflate and defy the tragedies of injury, death, and loss in war.

Congratulations Margaret, Dan, and Christina!

The application process for the 2024 award will take place in Fall 2023.

Ongoing support of this award was made possible by a generous gift from the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation, which was matched by many additional donors to create an endowment. The endowment provides funding for one award to be given each year. Past awardees include Adrienne Resha, Eike Exner, Kevin Cooley, Dr. Susan Kirtley, Dr. Daniel Worden, Xavier Dapena and Frank Santoro.

New Acquisition: Collection of Jackie Ormes and Black Press Materials Acquired

Torchy in Heartbeats by Jackie Ormes, Pittsburgh Courier, April 12,1952

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 27, 2023

Collection of Jackie Ormes and Black Press
Materials Acquired by Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

COLUMBUS – The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum has acquired a collection of materials documenting the life of pioneering Black cartoonist Zelda “Jackie” Ormes as well as sections of Black press newspapers amassed by collector and biographer Nancy Goldstein. Ormes was the first Black woman cartoonist with a nationally-distributed comic strip in the United States.

The collection includes rare eight-page color comic sections from the Pittsburgh Courier that include Jackie Ormes’s adventure strip Torchy in Heartbeats, as well as other strips centered around Black life and characters. Of major significance in the collection is an original Patty-Jo doll produced by the Terri Lee Company in the late 1940s, based on Jackie Ormes’s single panel cartoon Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger which ran from 1945-1956. The Patty-Jo doll became the first African-American doll to have an extensive upscale wardrobe, in contrast to prior creations that adhered to racist stereotypes.

Goldstein collected these materials while conducting research for her seminal book, Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist (University of Michigan Press, 2008). Goldstein noted: “the collection is significant because it brings hard-to-find materials relating to Jackie Ormes’s life and work together in one place.” Other materials include Ormes’s FBI file and dozens of folders of Goldstein’s research materials, documents, interviews, and ephemera relating to Ormes’s life and work. “Some of the items could suggest new avenues for researchers, teachers, students, writers, and cartoonists. For instance, details about Ormes’s work in fundraising for the Urban League, housing, or the March of Dimes could inspire more exploration into Black women’s social activism of the era. Other information found in these materials could be a jumping off point for an in-depth history—or historical fiction or even a stage play—based on the fashionable mixed-race Sutherland Hotel where the Ormeses lived.”

Jenny Robb, Head Curator of Comics and Cartoon art said of the collection, “We are so excited to acquire this essential collection of materials related to comics trailblazer Zelda “Jackie” Ormes. There is so much interest in the work of Ormes, and we know this material will be in high-demand by researchers, educators, publishers, students and fans. This collection compliments our substantial holdings of work by Sam Milai, Ollie Harrington, and other cartoonists of the Black Press newspapers.”

To learn more about the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and view the collections, visit cartoons.osu.edu. For press inquiries, contact mcgurk.17@osu.edu.

Pittsburgh Courier, August 4, 1951

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