Sunday, January 11, 2015

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum—Conestoga trip

Today our Conestoga group had a tour of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum in Sullivant Hall on the OSU Campus.  I like libraries and I like art, so I was in “hog heaven.” The building is beautiful, and the “back room” peek at the moving stacks, specially designed boxes and equipment, was amazing.  It is open 1-5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is open to the public if you’d like to visit.  None of the books circulate.

The current show is "King of the comics: William Randolph Hearst and 100 years of King Features." It will be on display until March 15. Hearst bought the New York Journal in 1895 and soon dropped the price of a paper to a penny, increasing circulation 7x. When the competition collapsed, he hired their people including the best cartoonist. Soon he was shipping the Sunday comic section to other cities with his comic characters becoming national celebrities. The display is divided by decade, and anyone my age will remember a lot of these. Although some I know only from a book of cartoons my mother had from the 1940s.  It is my opinion that after the 50s, the quality of the drawings became less complex--but this is an art form about which I know nothing. But at 5 pm I sure know more than I knew at 2 pm. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum is the largest cartoon library in the world. I think the building opened in late 2013 and is really magnificent--before that it was in the Wexner Center.

Billy Ireland Lucy CaswellLucy Caswell, Professor Emeritus and founding curator of the library.

Billy Ireland Stacks

Staff of the library in the stacks.

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