Collection Development Policy

The mission of The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is to build a comprehensive research collection of materials documenting printed cartoon art in the United States and to provide access to the collections. Animation materials are collected very selectively. The purpose of this document is to define broadly what the acquisition strategy is for the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Decisions about any individual item or collection will consider the research value as well as the costs of preserving, storing, and making it available. Gifts-in-kind that have extraordinary costs associated with accepting them will be reviewed by the Collection Donation Review Committee which must approve their acquisition.

In general, our acquisition funds are used for published materials. Original cartoon art is purchased very selectively. The vast majority of our holdings of original cartoon art has been acquired as gifts-in-kind, and this is expected to continue.

Early American Printed Cartoon Art

Original cartoon art and works published prior to the Civil War will be collected as feasible, primarily as gifts-in-kind. Full runs of 18th and 19th century serials containing cartoons will be collected as feasible.

Original Artwork and Manuscript Collections

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum seeks to collect representative samples of all cartoonists’ original artwork. In addition, the original artwork and manuscript collections, including digital files, of major cartoonists are collected as comprehensively as possible. Special consideration will be given to the work of Ohio cartoonists as part of our land grant mission. These guidelines apply to the following genres:

  • Caricature
  • Editorial Cartoons
  • Comic Strips
  • Comic Books
  • Magazine Cartoons [gag cartoons and cartoon illustrations]
  • Sports Cartoons
  • Underground Cartoons/Comics
  • Graphic Novels

Cartoon Books

Published collections of editorial cartoons and caricatures will be purchased comprehensively. Reprint volumes of major comic strips will be purchased as feasible. Comic books and comic book reprint trade paperbacks are purchased very selectively. Gifts-in-kind of comic books are not accepted, except in rare instances when they are part of larger collections. Reprint collections of magazine cartoons, sports cartoons, and underground cartoons/comics will be collected selectively. Published underground comics will be acquired only as gifts-in-kind.

Graphic novels published in North America are collected comprehensively. Volumes collecting and reprinting comics previously published as serials will be acquired selectively. Wood-cut narratives and wordless stories are collected selectively.


Original limited edition prints by major American cartoonists are collected comprehensively.

Proofs and Other Syndicate Records

Syndicate proofs of comic strips, panel cartoons, and editorial cartoons will be collected as gifts-in-kind in cooperation with the major syndicates. Related archival material that documents the business of cartooning will also be acquired from the syndicates as gifts-in-kind.


Original animation production art and secondary sources related to animation are acquired only as gifts-in-kind.

Cartoonists’ Professional Associations

Archives documenting national professional cartoonists associations and related groups will be collected comprehensively.

Secondary Sources

History and criticism monographs and serials, cartoonists’ biographies and autobiographies, and how-to-cartoon books related to all of the genres of printed cartoon art collected by CGA will be acquired comprehensively. Clippings and scrapbooks related to all of the genres of printed cartoon art collected by CGA will be acquired very selectively and only as gifts-in-kind.

International Cartoon Art

Original artwork by international cartoonists is collected very selectively.

Prints, especially by British artists during the late 18th and early 19th century, will be collected as comprehensively as feasible.

Reprint volumes of international cartoon art will be purchased selectively or acquired as gifts-in-kind.

As part of its membership in the Consortium of Popular Culture Collections in the Midwest, CGA collects broadly representative examples of manga, including works about manga; impotant cartoon magazines; popular titles and other works by renowned cartoonists; and examples of the use of manga in selected fields such as history, biography, science, religion, and government. Secondary sources related to printed international cartoons are collected when possible.

Licensed Products

Products such as toys, games, clothing and dishes that use cartoon and comic strip characters will be collected only as part of a larger collection where the relationship between the creator/collector and the object is clear. Collections consisting only of these products will not be collected.