Ireland of the Dispatch

This digital exhibition celebrates the creative genius of Columbus' most famous cartoonist and the generosity of the Elizabeth Ireland Graves Foundation which made possible the renovation of Sullivant Hall for a new home for the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. All of the materials in this exhibition are from the collections of the library. It is based in part on a physical exhibit at The Ohio State University Thompson Library from September 7, 2010 to February 27, 2011.

Billy Ireland

William Addison Ireland, known throughout his life as Billy, was born in Chilicothe, Ohio on January 8, 1880. Shortly after his graduation from high school, he was hired as a cartoonist by the Columbus Dispatch, where he drew editorial cartoons and spot illustrations. "The Passing Show," his commentary on current events, began weekly publication in 1908. Ireland described himself as the janitor of "The Passing Show," and his self-caricatures show a round little man in overalls. He continued to create "The Passing Show" as well as four to seven editorial cartoons per week until his death in 1935.

Humor and his pen were Ireland's weapons to target what he thought wrong or foolish and to endorse causes he believed in. He was a tireless supporter of community improvements, an avid outdoorsman, a perspective critic of political events, and a generous mentor.