Monday, December 04, 2006

Cartoon America "Why No Trudeau?" answered

Co-curator Sara Duke kindly wrote to me this morning to answer the question posed to me by a visitor to the exhibition.


The question of "Why no...?" in Cartoon America, I think is especially true of the comic strip section of the exhibition, because people are passionate about their favorite artists and strips. We could not display all the best comic strips that have been produced since 1895 when the Yellow Kid first made his appearance in the Sunday newspapers. There are simply too many. We selected highlights from the wide range of cartoon art Art Wood collected to provide people with an overview to the collection and introduce the casual visitor to cartoon art in general.

Art Wood compiled a brilliant selection of comic strips by the greatest artists, and for some of the creators the depth of his collecting was magnificent. Repeat visitors to the Library of Congress exhibitions can expect to see cartoon art from the Art Wood collection for years to come.

Qualified researchers may view original works of art in the Art Wood Collection by applying for "Access to Unprocessed Collections" ( We make every effort to serve researchers in a timely manner. Some 500 drawings from over 36,000 original drawings that Mr. Wood sold and donated to the Library of Congress are available (as thumbnails) through the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC):

While there is one comic strip drawing Trudeau in Art Wood's collection, it was not selected for exhibition. However, Mr. Trudeau has been extremely generous to the Library of Congress over the years. The Library featured the work of Garry Trudeau in 1986 in an Oval Gallery exhibition "Comics that Bite: Doonesbury and Pogo." The press clippings in the file are limited to announcements, but based on the hard copy text, Bernard Reilly, Jr., the curator emphasized the political nature and social satire in the dialogue as well as the distinctive style of the art.

Both Doonesbury and Pogo have been processed into the Prints & Photographs "Cartoon Drawing" filing series. 86 original works by Garry Trudeau are described in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog, but of course the thumbnails for those works that have been reproduced are impossible to read. There are 115 original drawings by Walt Kelly described in PPOC, and these too, are represented off campus by impossibly small gif files. Why? Because the Library of Congress is dedicated to protecting copyright. We do welcome researchers who wish to view the originals.

Sara W. Duke
Curator, Popular & Applied Graphic Art
Prints & Photographs Division
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540-4730

(202) 707-3630 - voice
(202) 707-6647 - fax

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