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Nellie Caroll Papers

An inventory of her papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Caroll, Nellie.
Title: Nellie Caroll Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1923-2001
Quantity: 7.3 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American artist, cartoonist and illustrator documenting her professional and personal life. Original artwork for cartoons, greeting cards, television and costume designs; printed and published material, particularly studio greeting cards; textiles; correspondence; caricatures; memorabilia; and writings.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Nellie Caroll (1923-2005) was a California-based artist known for her studio greeting cards.

Caroll was born as Jean Dobrin on April 3, 1923 in Zillah, Washington. She attended the Mar-Ken School in the Los Angeles area, a school for children in show business, and she also studied at the Art Center School. Caroll moved to New York City and opened an art gallery but later returned to Los Angeles.

Nellie started the Nellie Card Company to produce the studio cards, an emerging type of greeting cards. In the 1950s, Caroll was hired by Box Cards which was headed by Bill Box and Bill Kennedy. Hallmark also used Caroll's greeting card designs. In addition to greeting cards, Caroll worked in commercial art, illustration and in television. Caroll also created several panel cartoons. Her Lady Chatter panel was distributed by the Los Angeles Time Syndicate from 1965 to 1966. Her cartoons and caricatures frequently focused on women.

In 1968 Caroll filed for bankruptcy. She died on May 18, 2005.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Nellie Caroll Papers are arranged in four series and consist of artwork, correspondence, memorabilia (mostly about Caroll's personal life) and writings. The collection documents Caroll's family: particularly her relationship with her only daughter, Amy, who died in 2001 and Caroll's husband.

The Artwork (1956-1998) series consists of Caroll’s creative work and encompasses the variety of genres in which she worked. Included are original drawings, proofs, reproductions and finished products. Caroll's original artwork typically appears on translucent paper. The bulk of the cartoon material is original artwork and proofs for her panel cartoon Lady Chatter distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate from 1965 to 1966. There are smaller amounts of material related to her other cartoons. Caroll's work typically depicted female attitudes (sometimes stereotypical in nature) about life and relationships.

There are also roughs (contained in spiral bound notepads) of children’s books written and illustrated by Caroll in the 1970s, designs, and illustrations for the book Big Al Sports from the Laugh-In television show. Samples of Caroll’s commercial artwork for retail stores and businesses in the Los Angeles area are also included. Greeting card material includes primarily printed studio cards for her own Nellie Card Company, Box Cards, Buzza Cardozo and Hallmark. Worth noting is an inflatable greeting card in the shape of an iron. Caroll's television work includes costume designs for the Laugh In television show and work for Sid and Marty Krofft and Chuck Barris Productions. Examples of Caroll's textiles include designs and finished products for aprons, pillows, clothing and accessories.

Correspondence (1920s-2004) consists primarily of incoming correspondence. Included in the business correspondence are rejection letters for Caroll’s various projects and terms of her agreements with the Los Angeles Times Syndicate and the McNaught Syndicate. There are also letters from Hallmark and a letter regarding a staff position at American Greetings. Of interest is a folder of correspondence with Mattel which includes sample Barbie doll clothing. There is also personal correspondence that was exchanged within Caroll's family, particularly with Caroll’s daughter Amy. The personal correspondence documents Caroll's friendships with actor Jack Larson and musician Michael Franks. Of interest is a cassette tape with a label indicating the recording is of Franks regarding Amy Caroll's death and Larson regarding Ira Gershwin's wife.

Memorabilia (1993-2001) contains a variety of material, much of which relates to Caroll’s family, including her daughter and husband. There are photographs, clippings, bankruptcy records and items reflecting Caroll's interest in mysticism, spirituality, tarot and astrology. Of interest may be a videotape of a documentary in which Caroll appeared.

Writings includes typed stories and also poetry exchanged between Caroll and her husband. Of interest is a history of a particular building's occupants and uses on Sunet Boulevard.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Alphabetical by type of material; within that, alphabetical by name or title. Note that Oversize 6 no longer exists; it contained Les Carroll material, which, along with some material from Oversize 5, was misidentified as being part of this collection. They have been transferred to their own collection, Les Carroll Cartoons.

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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 books have been removed from the collection and transferred to Rare Books for cataloging:

Burn This, a compilation of Box Cards studio cards
Edith Head : the Life and Times of Hollywood's Celebrated Designer
Litter Poems (illustrated by Caroll)
Studio Cards: Funny Greeting Cards and People Who Created Them

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


Caroll, Nellie.
Krofft, Marty, 1937-
Krofft, Sid, 1929-

Corporate Bodies

Chuck Barris Productions.

Associated Titles

Lady Chatter.


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Comic books, strips, etc., -- United States.
Illustrators -- United States.
Television -- Art direction.
Women -- Caricatures and cartoons.
Women artists -- United States.
Women cartoonists -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)
Children's books.
Drawings (visual works)
Family papers.
Greeting cards.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Nellie Caroll Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: [Summit record]
Date: 3 Feb 1994
Revision history: 12 Mar 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC); 5 Nov 2010 - revised bio, inventory and scope (SK); 10 Apr 2017 - misidentified Les Carroll material (some from OS 5, all of OS 6) transferred to its own collection (MRC)

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Oversize 2 500 Pennies Make a Fat Pig 1973
Oversize 2 Alphapets undated - drawings, reproductions
Oversize 2 Arithme Tricks undated - photocopy of book
Oversize 3 Big Al Sports circa 1970 - drawings
Box 4 Book jacket samples undated
Oversize 2 Catamania circa 1970s
Oversize 2 Compact discs of children’s books 1998 - Kodak Photo CDs
Oversize 2 Crazy Critters undated - photocopy of book
Oversize 2 Hands Are For Waving Hi, by Francesca Riviere, illustrated by Caroll 1975
Oversize 3 Litter Poems by Henry Gibson circa 1970s - drawings
Oversize 2 Money Talks 1970
Oversize 2 My Name is Amy Caroll… undated
Oversize 2 Our Friends the Toes written by Francesca Riviere, illustrated by Caroll 1970
Oversize 2 Rubber animal stamps undated
Oversize 2 Seven Bad Kids and How They Got Better 1979
Oversize 2 To Be or Not Two Bee 1974
Oversize 2 What’s in a Name undated
Box 4 Ding - a - Ling undated - drawings
Box 4 Dr. Shrinker undated - drawings and proofs
Box 4 The Female Dilemma undated
Box 4 His and Hers 1969 - correspondence, contract, proofs
Oversize 1 His and Hers 1969 - proofs
Box 4 Lady Chatter 1965-1966 - proofs (2 folders)
Oversize 3 Lady Chatter 1965-1966 - proofs (2 folders)
Oversize 5 Lady Chatter 1965 or 1966 - proofs
Oversize 7 Lady Chatter 1965-1966 - drawings
Box 4 Lady Chatter 1965-1966 - publicity
Box 4 Carnival of Puppets / D’Jon Puppets undated - printed material
Box 4 C.D. Originals / Tracy Dawson Show Rooms undated - printed material
Oversize 1 C.H. Baker shoes undated - drawings
Oversize 3 Phelps- Wilger’s Etcetera Shop undated
Oversize 3 Standard Brand Shoes undated - drawings
Box 5 Stationary undated
Oversize 3 Sterling Automotive service undated - printed material
Box 4 Village Vendors undated - shopping bags and clipping
Greeting Cards
Box 1 Advertising post cards undated
Box 1 Artwork undated (2 folders)
Box 5 Christmas drawings undated
Oversize 1 Drawings circa 1950s-1960s (4 folders)
Box 1 Blow Up Greeting Card 1969 - inflatable iron
Box 1 Box Cards catalog 1962
Box 1 Box Cards and Buzza Cardozo oversize greeting cards 1961-1962, undated
Box 1 Buzza Cardozo undated - greeting cards
Box 1 Hallmark 1960s - greeting cards
Box 2 Box Cards Negatives 1956 - greeting cards
Box 2 Box Cards Christmas 1959 - greeting cards
Box 2 Box Cards 1960-1962 - greeting cards
Box 2 Box Cards 1959-1962 - greeting cards
Box 2 Box Cards undated - greeting cards
Box 2 Box Cards 1959, 1961 - greeting cards
Box 2 Box Cards 1956-1957, 1959 - greeting cards
Box 2 Box Cards styled by Nellie 1955-1956 - greeting cards
Box 2 Box Cards styled by Nellie undated - greeting cards
Box 1 Nellie Card Company 1957 - greeting cards
Box 1 Nellie Card Company catalog and samples 1957
Box 2 Reed Starline undated - greeting cards
Box 1 "Retro" Nellie Card Company samples and mockups 1957
Box 1 Miscellaneous undated
Box 4 Chuck Barris Productions 1968-1969 - clippings, correspondence, drawings
Oversize 3 Chuck Barris Productions 1960s - artwork, printed material (2 folders)
Box 4 George Schlatter- Ed Friendly Productions 1969
Oversize 8 Laugh-In costume designs 1968
Oversize 3 Sid and Marty Krofft 1969, undated - printed material
Oversize 3 Sid and Marty Krofft Circus 70 1970 - roughs
Box 4 Turn On 1969 - clippings
Oversize 1 Turn On circa 1969 - roughs
Box 5 Apron designs undated
Oversize 4 Aprons undated - canvas
Box 5 Last Year in Temkin costume designs undated
Box 5 Men's clothing designs undated - photocopies
Box 5 Satin pillows undated - photos, printed material
Oversize 4 Satin pillows undated - sample
Oversize 4 Shirt with floral design undated
Box 5 T-shirt designs undated
Oversize 4 Tote bags undated - canvas (4 items)
Oversize 2 Alphabet letters preschool educational toy design 1973
Oversize 3 Art Director's Therapy Block undated
Oversize 3 Caricatures of Caroll and Jack Larson by Bachardy 1960s - reproductions
Oversize 1 Drawings, reproductions, slides undated
Oversize 1 Off Color undated - drawings (nudes)
Oversize 3 Record Album covers 1959, undated
Oversize 1 Miscellaneous undated - drawings, proofs
Oversize 3 Miscellaneous circa 1960s, undated - drawings, mock ups; includes "Dames At Sea" (2 folders)
Box 3 A-Z 1943, 1954-1969 - incoming
Box 3 Bernstein, Amy and Lou 1993-1994, 1998
Box 3 Caroll, Amy 1948, 1957, 1986, 1991, 1993-1994, 1999, undated - includes birth registration, childhood drawings and writings
Box 3 Family letters 1920s-1930s, undated (2 folders)
Box 3 Franks, Michael and Claudia 1994, 2000, undated - includes cassette tape of Michael and Nellie on phone about death of Nellie’s daughter and Jack Larson about Ira Gershwin's wife
Box 3 Larson, Jack 1996-2000
Box 3 Letters and ideas 1991-1992, 1994-1995, 1997-1999, undated
Box 3 Mattel 1968 - includes Barbie clothes and designs
Box 3 Outgoing 1967-1968, 1999, 2004, undated
Box 4 Peterman, J. 1998
Box 4 Miscellaneous 1952, 1955 1992, 1997, 2000, undated
Box 4 Astrological chart prepared by Amy Caroll 1998 - with photo
Box 4 Augusta Dobrin’s story undated
Box 5 Bernstein, Amy and Lou 1998-1999 - photos and writings
Box 5 Biographical material 1937, 1964, undated - photos, clippings, bankruptcy (2 folders)
Box 6 Big Al's Sport Scene 1970 - one copy with letter (photocopy) and one inscribed to Martin from Nellie with love (2 copies)
Box 6 Books on religion, mysticism, Hermeticism , Kabbalah - photocopies of title pages and covers
Original books have been discarded.
Box 6 Inscribed to Caroll - Aleister Crowley, Buddhism, Hermeticism and works by Israel Regardie (6 items)
Box 6 Litter Poems by Henry Gibson circa 1969 - with two letters
Box 5 Caroll, Amy 1999 - Angelic Tarot guide
Box 4 Caroll, Amy 2001, undated - resume and photos
Box 6 Caroll, Amy 1999 - tarot cards
Box 5 Clippings and printed material 1955-1960, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970 (2 folders)
Box 5 Compact discs from Michael Franks 1995, 1999
Box 4 Dame Edna photograph undated
Oversize 4 Dobrin store advertising plaques undated
Box 5 Edward James: Builder of Dreams- a brief appearance by Nellie and husband undated - videotape
Box 4 Family documents 1923, 1926, 1947, 1980, 1985, 1998, undated
some items include:
labeled family photograph
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rosenthal 50th wedding anniversary menu
Funeral records, death certificate, and living will for family members
Caroll's Baby book
Letters from Caroll's first husband
Box 4 Martir, Agustin Ramos 1970-1971, 1979, 1985, 1989
Box 5 Martir, Agustin Ramos undated - slides
Oversize 4 Mother’s pregnancy meditation 1923
Box 4 My Mother’s Life undated
Box 3 Poster for "Cherry, Larry, Sandy, Doris, Jean, Paul" by Jack Larson 1968
Box 6 Tarot cards undated - color photos
Box 5 B-G 2000, undated
The Ball of Gold
Everybody Has One
The Fixer Upper
For Lease
Get Out of Town
The Golden Plated Years
Box 5 H-S 1993, undated
History of the Block 8800 W. Sunset Boulevard
Images of Love
The Rose of India
The Sinking Sands
Box 5 Poetry 1964, 1998-1999, undated - poems and photos with husband

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