Jay Kennedy Bequest | Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and MuseumBilly Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

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Jay Kennedy Bequest

Jay Kennedy, the former Editor-in-Chief at King Features Syndicate who died in 2007, bequeathed his collection of underground comic books to The Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library. The collection of more than 9,500 items is one of the most extensive in the world. Kennedy, who authored the seminal reference work The Official Underground and Newave Comix Price Guide: Listing Alternative Comix in the U.S. & Canada from 1962 to the Present (Boatner Norton Press: 1982), was an authority on underground comics. A comics scholar, a gentleman, a lover of the 60s, and an artist himself, Kennedy held underground comics as not just an art movement, but also a social, political and cultural movement.

“We are honored that Jay bequeathed his collection to us,” says Lucy Shelton Caswell, professor and curator of the library. “It is a very substantial resource that will interest scholars in several areas.”

The Jay Kennedy Collection will be housed in the library’s secure, climate-controlled stacks so that the materials will be convenient for users in its reading room. According to Caswell, work has begun to catalog these materials to make them available to researchers as soon as possible.

Brendan Burford, Kennedy’s associate at King Features Syndicate, stated, “During the time I knew Jay Kennedy, I was fortunate to have him share many things with me, among them, his comic book collection. I got to know his collection very well as we worked together for several years cataloging its contents. It’s a tremendous collection — one that is unparalleled. I can’t think of a better home for Jay’s comic books than the OSU Cartoon Research Library. The collection will live on admirably.”

About the Cartoon Research Library: The Cartoon Research Library’s primary mission is to develop a comprehensive research collection of materials documenting American printed cartoon art (editorial cartoons, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, sports cartoons, and magazine cartoons) and to provide access to these collections. The library is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. See https://cartoons.osu.edu/ for further information.