Bil Keane Family Answers Schulz Challenge | Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and MuseumBilly Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

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Bil Keane Family Answers Schulz Challenge

World-renowned cartoonist Bil Keane and his family have answered the Schulz Challenge with a $50,000 gift to support the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum facility, part of the Sullivant Hall renovation at The Ohio State University. The Keane Family gift will be matched dollar for dollar by Jean Schulz, widow of Peanuts’ creator Charles M. Schulz, giving it a $100,000 impact on the project. Schulz has promised to match all donations to the new facility up to $2.5 million.

“This donation is our way of thanking Ohio State for their great support of the cartoon art form. This library and museum will give future generations the opportunity to enjoy the original art of cartoons that have graced refrigerators, cubicles and classroom walls for years.” said Jeff Keane, Bil Keane’s son and collaborator.

Bil Keane is the creator of the cartoon panel The Family Circus, which first appeared in 1960 and soon grew to become the most widely syndicated panel in America.   Keane looked to his own family including wife Thelma and their five children, Gayle, Neal, Glen, Christopher and Jeff, for ideas for the cartoon.  Youngest son Jeff, the inspiration for the character “Little Jeffy,” now assists his father in creating the strip and serves as President of the National Cartoonists Society.

We are grateful for the Keane Family’s support of the library in general and of this renovation project in particular. Their generous gift brings us even closer to meeting the total Schulz Challenge of $2.5 million,” said Lucy Shelton Caswell, curator of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

The Sullivant Hall renovation is estimated to cost $20.6 million and will be completed in 2013, at which time Sullivant Hall will house both the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum and The Ohio State University Department of Dance. Upon completion of the Schulz Challenge, the Sullivant Hall renovation will be completely funded.

Established in 1977 with a founding gift of the Milton Caniff Collection, the Cartoon Library & Museum was housed originally in two converted classrooms in Ohio State’s Journalism Building. Since then, Caswell has built it into a widely renowned special collection that is a destination for both cartoon researchers and fans from around the world.

Thousands of donors have contributed to the collection, with gifts ranging from one item to tens of thousands. With the recent addition of the International Museum of Cartoon Art’s extensive permanent collection, the Cartoon Library and Museum now houses more than 450,000 works of original cartoon art, 36,000 books, 51,000 serial titles, 3,000 linear feet of manuscript materials, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings and newspaper pages.

Now the world’s largest collection of cartoon art and comics material, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is currently located in the lower level of the Wexner Center for the Arts complex. Its new, permanent home in Sullivant Hall will expand its space from its current 6,808 square feet to more than 40,000 gross square feet, providing much-needed additional storage and new exhibition galleries that will allow more of the collection to be displayed and accessible to the public.   For more information, see

Contact:  Jane Carroll
(614) 292-2550 or

Monday, December 21, 2009