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Stan and Jan Berenstain Cartoons

An inventory of their papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Berenstain, Jan, 1923-2012 Berenstain, Stan, 1923-2005
Title: Stan and Jan Berenstain Cartoons
Inclusive Dates: 1954-1965
Quantity: 5.25 linear ft.
Abstract: Original cartoons from the comic strip Sister as well as cartoon paste-ups and published copy for the Berenstains' humor books, including It's All in the Family, Lover Boy, Flipsville/Squaresville and others.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Stan (1923-2005) and Jan Berenstain (1923-2012) were an American husband-wife cartoonist team best known for the Berenstain Bears children's book series. Stan Berenstain was born west of Philadelphia on September 29, 1923. Jan (Grant) Berenstain was born July 26, 1923 in Philadelphia. Both grew up in West Philadelphia but they did not meet until their first day of a drawing class at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art in 1941. They quickly became friends and while not studying they accompanied each other to orchestra, theatre and museum events.

Like many cartoonists of this generation, WWII affected their careers. Stan ended up at an engineering school and but later became a medical artist at an Army hospital in Indiana where he drew instructions related to plastic surgery for victims of facial wounds. Jan worked for military contractors doing engineering drawings and was also a riveter. During his three years in the Army, Stan developed an interest in cartoons and sold several to the Saturday Review of Literature.

Stan and Jan got married in 1946 and soon they were submitting cartoons to magazines together. Their cartoons became regular features in Collier’s and The Saturday Evening Post. Their family humor serial feature, It’s All in the Family appeared in McCall's and later in Good Housekeeping. They also drew the newspaper strip Sister which was distributed by the Register and Tribune Syndicate.

Working out of their Bucks County, Pennsylvania studio, the Berenstains began to explore other formats and published many humor books on topics related to raising children, family and marriage. After the birth of their first child, the Berenstains decided to write and illustrate a book that addressed pregnancy and raising a baby. This book, the Berenstains' Baby Book appeared in 1951. Soon they produced other works aimed at adults on these subjects such as Lover Boy, Flipsville Squaresville and Call Me Mrs.

The Berenstains submitted a book idea to Dr. Seuss and published their first children's book The Big Honey Hunt in 1962. This book led to the very successful children's book series, The Berenstain Bears. The series' popularity led the Berenstains to explore other genres for their characters such as animation and musical theatre.

On November 26, 2005 Stan died of lymphoma in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Jan continued to illustrate the Berenstain Bears with their son Mike, who since the late 1980s has worked on the series, until her death in 2012. Over 120 Berenstain Bears books are in print and about 260 million copies have been sold.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Stan and Jan Berenstain Cartoons are organized into three series: book cartoons, magazine cartoons and comic strips. Each series contains original cartoons. Copies of the published books are included as are clippings of It's All in the Family from the magazine they were published in. Each page in the published books is numbered to correspond to the original cartoon drawing for the book.

The Sister cartoons are arranged in chronological order. The cartoons are numbered but these numbers do not reflect the chronology. The following is a list of Sister cartoons numbered by the Berenstains. Only 100 cartoons appear on this list, while the collection contains 200 Sistercartoons. Please refer to the box listing to determine which what box each number is housed in.
Sis 1 "But suppose after taking the trouble to learn how to cook, clean and sew and everything, I turn out ugly and can't hook anybody?"
Sis 2 "When I finish helping you shell the peas, what shall I do?"
Sis 3 "I sure hope Mom's virus gets better soon. I need a little help around here."
Sis 4 "I have to go back two blocks, again. I stepped on another crack!"
Sis 5 "It sure beats the old washboard."
Sis 6 "Sit tight. They're inching around."
Sis 7 "I want to report a missing child."
Sis 8 "It's your dad, Sarah Jane. Are you decent?"
Sis 9 "When!"
Sis 10 "...bless Aunt Min, bless Uncle Pete, bless Cousin Bill, bless Cousin Joan, bless Aunt Nay, bless Uncle Max, bless Cousin Leo,..."
Sis 11 " GOOD SHOT!"
Sis 12 "It's a couple blocks out of the way, but if you want the very latest dirt..."
Sis 13 "Thigh--ten inches, knee--ten inches, calf--ten inches,... hmmm... I don't think it's gonna work out so well. None of us seems to have any shape."
Sis 14 "This'll be perfect for you. Now, PULL!"
Sis 15 "Last time she had 'em in the clothes hamper."
Sis 16 "I'm ready any time you are."
Sis 17 "I'll give this one to Mother--she can't stand to see food wasted."
Sis 19 "GOT TIM!"
Sis 21 "Daddy always does the shopping when Mom's side of the family comes for dinner."
Sis 23 "Hmm. Let's see, now. Where did I fall asleep last night?"
Sis 24 "It's not 'Daddy Bear's'. It's 'Baby Bear's', and it's just right!"
Sis 25 "Here y'are, Daddy. Now it's your turn to try my gravy!"
Sis 26 "No, this isn't it, either--but the neighborhood's beginning to look familiar."
Sis 27 "That's silly. Where would you and Sarah Jane get writer's cramp?"
Sis 28 "He had to take a male and female of each kind of animal along so that if there were any babies, they'd have a mommy and daddy."
Sis 29 "Sorry to wake you, Dad, but Mom's paying a penny an inch for your gray hairs."
Sis 30 "Well, how do you like that? Look where my skate key was all the time!"
Sis 31 "Missed the school bus, again. My oatmeal was too hot this time."
Sis 32 "We're gonna vote for club mascot today. It's between you and Mona Gordon's pet turtle."
Sis 33 "Your tea kettle has been whistling for the past half hour!"
Sis 34 "That new perfume of yours is wonderful! I wore it to school and the teacher sent me home"
Sis 35 "A pound-and-a-half of wish bones, please."
Sis 36 "But I need it to make pastel"
Sis 37 "If Sarah Jane's home, may I ask her to dinner?"
Sis 38 "How long will it take you to get bridled up?"
Sis 39 "They're all exactly alike, Dearie... they're all exactly alike... I SAID..."
Sis 40 "Stick around. I've got a bunch of old galoshes I'm gonna throw on."
Sis 41 "That is not how we put our toys away!"
Sis 42 "Next is 'DI' for 'Moose'."
Sis 43 "I've already seen it right-side-up."
Sis 44 "I left those for you and Daddy."
Sis 45 "But, Daddy, it'll pay for itself in no time!"
Sis 46 "I don't know what to do with her. She simply won't keep a cover on,"
Sis 47 "Jack hit Billy and said, 'Pass it on'...Billy passed it on to Herb... Herb passed it on to me...and I passed it on to George."
Sis 48 "Relax. As long as you've got a clean handkerchief to hold up in Hygiene you've got nothing to worry about."
Sis 49 "Quote—please excuse
Sister from gym as she has a sore foot—unquote!"
Sis 50 "But we're SUPPOSED to take interesting things to school for 'Show and Tell'!"
Sis 51 "The day after tommorrow? Won't you please try to get it back at least by tomorrow?"
Sis 52 "How many times have I told you not to read over my shoulder?"
Sis 53 "O.K., Dad, how give me a push."
Sis 54 "Grass seed? I thought it was for the birds!"
Sis 55 "I put the kisses on."
Sis 56 "I hate to be the one to tell you, but they didn't use a very good grade of string in these pearls of yours."
Sis 57 "All right, you two! Turn in your wands!"
Sis 58 "You better get down here, Boss. I finally get a color that suits her--then, this kid comes in and says,'Well, it's my room!'..."
Sis 59 "I am your fairy godmother...HI,BOBBY!...why do you weep so? ...HI,SARAH JANE!...perhaps I can help you...HI,WILLY!..."
Sis 60 "I bet when he spins a cacoon and comes out a beautiful butterfly you won't say, 'UGH!'"
Sis 61 "Remember, now, you promised not to tell anybody about this short-cut. It's a gang secret."
Sis 62 "Hurry up, Daddy! I'm gaining on you!"
Sis 63 "I think I know where I can locate a wrench if you give us the go-ahead, Officer Dugan."
Sis 64 "Why can't you just mow around them?"
Sis 65 "You use your electric razor while I'm watching 'Clown Time'!"
Sis 66 "Mom, what do you want for tonight's salad--three of Dad's tomatoes, or one of mine?"
Sis 67 "In the chapter on tomatoes under 'pests' it should list 'small girl with salt shaker'!"
Sis 68 "NET BALL!"
Sis 69 "Uh-oh! Looks like Daddy's gonna explain the universe to us again."
Sis 70 "Would you smear some more mustard on my Daddy's where it fell in the sand?"
Sis 71 "I forgot to light the citronella candle and Daddy thought it was dessert!"
Sis 72 "... Home-again, home-again, jiggity-jog!"
Sis 73 "Don't 'But, Daddy'-me! Start reading-'Jack and Jill went ' up the hill...' COME ON--THIS TAPE COSTS A FORTUNE!"
Sis 74 "No tears, now, Sister. Be brave!"
Sis 75 "Here's Daddy when he was twenty-six. That's when he stopped growing taller and started growing wider."
Sis 76 "When we first got TV,
Sister watched everything. But lately she's become more selective. Now she watches only the two or three really worst programs."
Sis 77 "Kinda takes you back, doesn't it?"
Sis 78 "What do you mean 'sort of'? Either you found your tennis racket, or you didn't."
Sis 79 "You should have slept, Mom. I don't mind getting my own breakfast."
Sis 80 "The most fun about getting a hundred in a test is Daddy lets me pinch him to be sure he's not dreaming."
Sis 81 "Don't you just love the sound of ping-pong balls on the roof?"
Sis 82 " Sister, the idea of a bulletin board in your room for your drawings and things isn't working out quite the way I planned."
Sis 83 "Their meeting starts in a few can't see so good, but you can hear perfect!"
Sis 84 "It boils down to this--with split peas you get more shots, but with beans you get greater accuracy."
Sis 85 "I wish Santa Claus were here to see it work."
Sis 86 "They were gonna saw it off to fit, but I put a stop to that pretty quick."
Sis 87 "See? It is open all winter!"
Sis 88 "How do you cheat at solitaire?"
Sis 89 "I hope you're putting in the mute to my daddy how I was just trying to help."
Sis 90 "All right--who hid the vitamin till in this banana?"
Sis 91 "When I swept up what I spilled--it made more!"
Sis 92 "I'm gonna have to charge you a little extra, Dad. I shined your socks, too."
Sis 93 "We're taking turns putting each other's arm to sleep."
Sis 94 "Do you know any names besides 'Francis" that are good good for either a boy or a girl?"
Sis 95 "Some instruction book! Not a single word about stink-bombs"
Sis 96 "But if I ask Daddy, he'll just look it up in the encyclopedia--and then I won't know any more than I do now."
Sis 97 "It accidentally got chewed up by a dog, fell into a puddle, got run over by a truck, ..."
Sis 98 "Boy! This new exhaust fan makes nifty smoke signals!"
Sis 99 "Mother, this year on my birthday may I have a 'friend'party instead of an 'uncle and aunt' party?"
Sis 100 "If you hear a laugh that'll be my mother."

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Four duplicate books have been removed from the collection and sent to Rare Books. They are: Flipsville Squaresville (paperback), Call Me Mrs. (paperback), It's Still All in the Family (hardcover), and It's All in the Family (hardcover, signed).

Special Collections Research Center has collections of over one hundred cartoonists. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Berenstain, Jan, 1923-2012.
Berenstain, Stan, 1923-2005.

Associated Titles

Bedside Lover Boy.
Call Me Mrs.
Flipsville Squaresville.
It’s all in the family (comic strip)
Lover Boy.
Office Lover Boy.
Sister (comic strip)


Adulthood -- Caricatures and cartoons.
American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists, United States.
Comic books, strips, etc -- United States.
Husbands -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Marriage -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Office politics--Caricatures and cartoons.
Parent and child -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Wives -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Women cartoonists.
Youth -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Stan and Jan Berenstain Cartoons,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Stan and Jan Berenstain, 1966-1970.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MK
Date: 7 Feb 1978
Revision history: 8 Aug 2005 - EAD file created (MRR); 10 Aug 2009 - added biography and detailed inventory (SK)

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Book cartoons
Oversize 1 Lover Boy 1958 (117 items) 11 ½" x 14 ½", 14 3/4" x 23"
Oversize 2 Bedside Lover Boy 1960 (134 items) 11 ½" x 14 ½", 14 ½” x 22”
Oversize 3 Call Me Mrs. 1961 (124 items) 11 ½" x 14 ½", 14 ½” x 22”
Oversize 4 Office Lover Boy 1962 (90 items) 9 3/4" x 11 ½", 11 1/4" x 14 1/4"
Oversize 5 Flipsville Squaresville 1965 (45 items) 14" x 22 1/4"
Flipsville cartoons
The published Flipsville Squaresville book is located with the Flipsville cartoons in this box.
Oversize 6 Flipsville Squaresville 1965 (35 items) 14" x 22 1/4"
Squaresville cartoons
Magazine cartoons
Oversize 7 It's All in the Family 1961 - Contains 12 different storylines- one for each month. Two spot cartoons are included. Some cartoons have yellow spot color. (85 items) 11 ½" x 14 ½"
Comic strips
Click here for a detailed chronological inventory.
Oversize 8 Sister 1954 undated - This box contains cartoons numbered: 1-11, 13-16, 18-24, 26-30, 32-39, 49, 86, 101-126, 200. One cartoon is marked 7-23 without a specific year and two cartoons from 1954 are not labeled with specific days. (64 items) 9 ½" x 11 ½"
Oversize 9 Sister 1955-1956 - This box contains cartoons numbered: 12, 17, 25, 31, 40-48, 50-85, 87-100, 127-199. (136 items) 9 ½" x 11 ½"

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