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Guide to the King Features Syndicate Cartoon Drawings and Proof Sheets
 PR 446

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 18, 2022
Finding aid written in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical / Historical

King Features Syndicate was formed in 1915 by the publisher William Randolph Hearst, consolidating the various syndication enterprises that had formed within Hearst's newspaper businesses since they started syndication activities in 1895. The syndicate had its own staff of cartoonists, which created such characters as Popeye, featured in the "Thimble Theatre" strip. By the mid-1930s, the period represented in this collection, King Features was one of about 130 syndicates in the industry. King Features also distributed strips by cartoonists from outside the organization, including those of Walt Disney Enterprises, which is also represented in this collection. As of 2022, King Features Syndicates still exists, distributing content worldwide to over 5000 newspapers.

In 1936, some of King Features' newspaper comic strip proof sheets were exhibited at Ferargil Gallery in New York City. When the exhibition closed, the syndicate contacted N-YHS to ask if the library wanted some of the sheets for the collection. Librarian Alexander J. Wall accepted and a selection, made by King Features, was donated in April 1936. Wall asked that editorial cartoons also be donated and the twelve original such drawings in the collection were included in the gift. A few weeks later King Features sent along the Walt Disney-created sheets that are in the collection.

(The first paragraph of the above note is based on Wikipedia entries. The second paragraph is based on correspondence in N-YHS's institutional archives; see General Correspondence, RG-2, folder for letter Ki for years 1933-37.)