Tag Archives: cartoonists

It’s Donald Day!

No, not that Donald.  June 9 is National Donald Duck Day, marking the screen debut in 1934 of the sailor-suited and often “fowl”-tempered Disney cartoon character.

Cartoons created by both professionals and amateurs can be found in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.

Some, like the sketches of Kentucky governor James Proctor Knott, could be both artistic and satirical.  There’s also Richard Outcault, who sent a get-well wish to his friend’s young daughter via his famous creations, “Buster Brown” and his dog “Tige.”

Buster Brown and Tige

Buster Brown and Tige

And there’s Bill “Whitey” Sanders, cartoonist for WKU’s College Heights Herald and later longtime editorial cartoonist for the Milwaukee Journal, who depicted the joys of student life.

Whitey Sanders, College Heights Herald, Nov. 19, 1954

Whitey Sanders, College Heights Herald, Nov. 19, 1954

And there’s WKU art professor Ivan Wilson, who passed the time during a long illness drawing whimsical cartoons featuring himself and his good friend, English professor John H. Clagett.  The two enjoyed hunting, fishing and hiking together, and apparently Wilson also grabbed some shears from time to time and trimmed Clagett’s hair (no word on whether the mane was a comb-over).

Ivan Wilson and John Clagett

Ivan Wilson, barber, and John Clagett

And there’s Staff Sergeant Jay Maschak, serving in 1990 with the 101st Airborne during Operation Desert Shield, who drew his own version of Donald Duck for his pen pal, Elizabethtown, Kentucky Girl Scout Kelly Butler.

Jay Maschak to Kelly Butler

Jay Maschak to Kelly Butler

Click on the links to access finding aids for these collections.  For more collections about artists and cartoonists, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Speaking with Pictures

James Proctor Knott cartoons

James Proctor Knott cartoons

James Proctor Knott (1830-1911) was a native of Marion County, Kentucky who practiced law in Memphis, Missouri before being elected attorney general of that state in 1860.  As the country moved toward civil war, he did not adopt the pieties of either side; he disapproved of secession but declined to take a prescribed loyalty oath to the U.S. government, an act that led to his disbarment and a brief stay in prison.  Knott then moved back to Kentucky (his second wife’s home town was Bowling Green), where he became a member of Congress and then governor.

James Proctor Knott sketch of man readingKnott also liked to draw.  A collection of his sketches and cartoons is part of the Knott Collection in the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives holdings of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Executed in pencil, ink and watercolor, they show Knott’s appreciation of human, plant, animal and architectural forms.  On one small rendering of a landscape, he has added these lines from Hamlet: “We must speak by the card [precisely, that is], or equivocation will undo us.”

James Proctor Knott landscape with Hamlet quote

Click here for a collection finding aid.  For more collections relating to artists and cartoonists, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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