Category: New Acquisitions (page 1 of 12)

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 For press inquiries, contact

Pittsburgh Courier, August 4, 1951

Underground Cartoonist “Hurricane Nancy” Burton Donates Collection


Early Underground Cartoonist “Hurricane Nancy” Burton Donates Collection to
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

Hurricane Nancy original art, unpublished, 1969

COLUMBUS – Cartoonist Nancy Burton has donated 65 pieces of original underground comix art to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Known by her pennames Hurricane Nancy, Nancy Kalish and Panzika, Nancy Burton is considered one of the first published women cartoonists of the underground comix era. Her donation includes the original art from Gentle’s Tripout, published in the East Village Other beginning in 1966, as well as Busy Boxes, which was published in Gothic Blimpworks (1969), and other unpublished early work. In 1970, Burton’s work was included in the seminal women’s liberation underground comic, It Ain’t Me Babe, edited by Trina Robbins. By 1971, Burton stopped creating comics but later picked the practice back up in 2009. The collection also reflects her more recent works.

Originally from the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, New York, Burton grew up in a liberal, activist family, marching with her father on union picket lines, and later on Washington in protest of the Vietnam War. She spent time traveling across Europe in the early 1960s, where she encountered the work of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, and then while living in New York, she found inspiration in the abstract art of Clifford Still as well as the art nouveau movement. A formative visit to San Francisco for the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival led to her living in California through the Summer of Love. On the West Coast, Burton’s work became more primitive and psychedelic, influenced by the iconic concert posters of the era and Native American art.

About her decision to donate her collection to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, Burton said, “It was clear from the outset we are a perfect match. Knowing that serious students, and some just for fun, will have access to my work is satisfying to say the least. I made the decision immediately to donate the work and am honored to do so.”

Writer Alex Dueben is editing a monograph about Burton set to be published by Fantagraphics, which collects work from throughout her career and includes an expansive interview detailing her life and artistic output. Dueben connected Burton and Associate Curator Caitlin McGurk after Burton expressed a desire for the material to be preserved. McGurk says, “I was over the moon to be connected with one of the pioneers of women’s underground comix – it is such an honor to us to be chosen as the home for preserving this important work. Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies courses as well as anyone interested in exploring the feminist history of comics will find this collection to be a treasure. It is imperative that we continue to document and preserve the history of women working in this and all eras of cartooning, and this collection is an invaluable part of those efforts.”

To learn more about the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and view the collections, visit

“Busy Boxes” original art by Hurricane Nancy, published in “Gothic Blimpworks”, 1969

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