Noted magazine cartoonist Eldon Dedini donated his original art and personal papers to The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library in late December 2005. Included in the gift are correspondence, business papers, idea files, rough sketches and more than 1,500 original cartoons.
A native Californian, Dedini sold his first cartoon to Esquire when he was 17. After two years of study at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, he left school in 1944 to work in the story department of Walt Disney. From 1946-1950, Esquire had him under exclusive contract and he not only wrote and drew his own cartoons but also supplied gags for fellow Esquire cartoonists such as Barbara Shermund and E. Simms Campbell. Since 1950, Dedini has had a “first look” contract with The New Yorker and in 1960 he garnered the same arrangement with Playboy. Eldon Dedini died January 12, 2006.
Dedini often stated that his goal was to produce a belly laugh, not just a smile or a chuckle, with his cartoons. His success in achieving this may be attributed to his keen writing skills and outstanding artistic talents.
“The Eldon Dedini Collection is an exceptionally comprehensive collection of the papers of one of the twentieth century’s leading magazine cartoonists,” said Lucy Shelton Caswell, professor and curator of The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library. “Because he kept meticulous records and had such a long and successful career, the Dedini Collection will be a wonderful resource for researchers interested in magazine cartoons during the last half of the twentieth century.” An exhibition featuring highlights of the collection is planned as soon as the materials are processed.