Jean Schulz, widow of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, gives $1 million to Cartoon Library and Museum move

April 23, 2009

The Ohio State University received a gift of $1 million from Jean Schulz, the widow of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz to support the renovation of Sullivant Hall, the future home of the world’s most comprehensive academic research facility dedicated to documenting printed cartoon art.

Along with her generous gift, Mrs. Schulz issued a challenge: She will provide an additional matching gift of $2.5 million if Ohio State raises the same amount from other sources, making the total impact of her gift $6 million.

"By helping to underwrite a state-of-the-art facility for the University's renowned Cartoon Library and Museum, Jean Schulz advances the work of students, faculty, and scholars and deepens our understanding of the importance of the genre," said Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee.  "Her gift is an especially fitting way to honor the remarkable creative legacy of her late husband, Charles."

Located at a highly visible location along High Street and adjacent to the Wexner Center for the Arts, the historic Sullivant Hall is in dire need of repair. The planned renovation will provide 40,000 gross square feet of space for the new Cartoon Library and Museum that will include a spacious reading room for researchers, three museum-quality galleries, and expanded storage with state-of-the-art environmental and security controls. A dedicated ground-level entry will allow for easy access to the new facility.  The addition of exhibition galleries dedicated to cartoon art will facilitate public display of the Library's extraordinary collection.

 When asked what inspired her to give to The Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State, Jean Schulz said, “Lucy Caswell has done a marvelous job in collecting and preserving works in the cartoon medium. I was pleased at the opportunity to help provide a fitting home for this important collection and to recognize her contribution in the field.”

The Sullivant renovation will also provide new spaces for the Department of Dance and the Music/Dance Library, and an upgraded auditorium, which will be used for numerous community, academic, and performance purposes.

Total renovation cost is estimated at $20.6 million, with architectural design to take 12 months, followed by 6 months for bidding and contracts and 24 months for construction.

Due to its outstanding reputation, growing collection and a surge of scholarly interest in comics and cartoons, the Cartoon Library and Museum — formerly known as the Cartoon Research Library — is a destination location for researchers from around the world.   
With a founding gift of the Milton Caniff Collection, Ohio State’s Cartoon Library and Museum was established in 1977 in two converted classrooms in the university’s Journalism Building. From this small beginning, founding curator Lucy Shelton Caswell has spent more than 30 years building the Library into the widely renowned facility it is today.

The Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State is one of the most admired and sought-after caretakers of legacy collections. Thousands of donors have contributed to the collection, with gifts ranging from one item to tens of thousands. In 1992, the Robert Roy Metz Collection of 83,034 original cartoons by 113 cartoonists was donated by United Media, and in 2007, the entire collection of the International Museum of Cartoon Art (IMCA), numbering more than 200,000 originals, was transferred to the Cartoon Library and Museum.

With the addition of the IMCA’s extensive permanent collection, the Cartoon Library and Museum now houses more than 400,000 works of original cartoon and comics art, 35,000 books, 51,000 serial titles, 2,800 linear feet of manuscript materials, and 2.5 million comic strip clippings and newspaper pages. Moving into its new home from its current location, a 6,800-square-foot basement north of Mershon Auditorium, will allow more of the Collection to be displayed and readily accessible.

“We are very grateful to Jean Schulz for her generous gift, and for her challenge which will encourage everyone who cares about cartoon art to become involved in our project,” said Lucy Shelton-Caswell. “The new Cartoon Museum and Library will be a place of learning and enjoyment for the public and scholars alike.”

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