The Billy Ireland cartoon Library and Museum, located in Columbus, Ohio, has been in existence since 1977. Nearly four decades on it has grown, through a succession of gifts of artwork, papers and funding, to the largest and most comprehensive facility for documented, printed cartoon art in the world.
From small beginnings of two converted classrooms the facility is now housed in an impressive building fit for such a huge catalogue of work. With over 300,000 original cartoons and a staggering 2.5 million comic strip clippings this is an amazing collection of cartoon artwork. Administratively the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum is part of Ohio State University Libraries.
In 2009 the facility was named after American cartoonist William (Billy) Addison Ireland (1880 –1935) a native of Chillicothe, Ohio. Billy Ireland made a lifelong career with the Columbus Despatch in Columbus Ohio and was well known for his illustrative take on local characters, political and sporting life.
His work output was phenomenal with a weekly four to seven editorial cartoons plus his revered feature ‘The Passing Show’. Comic strip historian Alan Holtz sums up the feature and Billy Irelands style of cartooning wit perfectly:
‘The feature was a much-beloved fixture of the Sunday Dispatch, both for its graphic inventiveness (the mastheads alone are worth the price of admission) and all the local color. Ireland seemingly knew everyone and everything in Columbus, and he lovingly lampooned it all each Sunday. The pages were always jam-packed… filled to the brim with local happenings, oddball news and personal anecdotes…’
It is a suitable tribute for the Cartoon Library and Museum to bear his name for his great contribution to Ohio lives to live on.
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum web site is a great resource for cartoonists and those interested in cartooning. The following pages on the on the website are particularly useful for cartoonists and collectors:
- Preserving cartoon art: advice for cartoonists and collectors – with some specific guidance on preserving paper based and digital cartoon work. Particularly useful for cartoonists and collectors of cartoon art to be able to preserve artwork correctly.
- Digital exhibitions – with information and dates of the frequent cartoon exhibitions and displays.
- Schedule a classroom visit – particularly useful if you teach art to students. You can take your class to the Museum for some practical interaction exploring your subject matter through the cartoon medium.
If you would like to find out more or visit this fantastic collection of cartoon artwork the Library is open Monday-Friday – 9am to 5pm and the museum Tuesday-Sunday – 1pm to 5pm
1813 N. High Street
Phone: (614) 292-0538
Fax: (614) 292-9101
Visit the Web Site at: