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Bil Dwyer Cartoons

An inventory of his Cartoons at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Dwyer, Bil
Title: Bil Dwyer Cartoons
Inclusive Dates: 1932-1933
Quantity: 2.6 linear feet
Abstract: Approximately 324 original cartoons and sketches from the comic strips Dumb Dora, Bing Brown, and When Mother Was a Girl.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Bil Dwyer was an American cartoonist. Dwyer worked at the Columbus Dispatch with Milton Caniff. Dwyer left for New York and sold gag cartoons to publications such as College Humor and Collier’s.

Both Dwyer and Caniff ended up working at the King Features Syndicate and Dwyer was appointed to take over the Dumb Dora strip from Paul Fung in 1932. According to Milton Caniff in the book Milton Caniff: Conversations, during the first few months of Dwyer's new assignment, Dwyer who was accustomed to creating single panels struggled to get the daily strips finished. Caniff assisted Dwyer by ghosting the female characters and completing some of the inking in addition to his regular duties.

Dumb Dora was cancelled in 1936 and in 1951 Dwyer created the short lived strip, Sandy Hill. The Register and Tribune Services distributed Sandy Hill until 1954. In the 1970s Dwyer formed the Merry Mountaineers publishing company and illustrated humorous booklets about Southern and Appalachian culture with titles such as the Dictionary for Yankees and Other Uneducated People and Southern Appalachian Mountain Cookin'.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Bil Dwyer Cartoons collection consists of two series: cartoons and sketches. Cartoons contains panels from Dumb Dora (1932-1933) and When Mother Was a Girl (1932-1933). Sketches contains sketches for Dumb Dora and Bing Brown (circa 1932-1933).

Some of the daily Dumb Dora strips have notes and sketches on the back. Some Sunday strips contain Dwyer's notations and examples regarding coloring.

The strips were done on illustration board with pen, ink, watercolor, blue pencil and pasteovers.

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Arrangement of the Collection

For the Dumb Dora strip, the daily and Sunday cartoons are arranged separately in chronological order. When Mother Was a Girl is arranged chronologically. The sketches are arranged by the title of the strip.

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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

See the Chic Young Cartoons collection and the Paul Fung Cartoons collection for additional material related to these comic strips.

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

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Subject Headings


Dwyer, Bil.

Corporate Bodies

King Features Syndicate.

Associated Titles

Bing Brown (comic strip)
Dumb Dora (comic strip)
When mother was a girl (comic strip)


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons, United States.
Cartoonists, United States.
Comic books, strips, etc., United States.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Bil Dwyer Cartoons
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Rendell, 1968.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: BB
Date: Dec 1968
Revision history: 20 Mar 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC); 26 Jan 2009 - revised (MD); 22 Jul 2009 - added detailed inventory (SK)

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Dumb Dora (286 items)
Click here for a detailed inventory.
Oversize 1 Daily cartoons 1932-1933 - Included are 4 undated strips. (246 items) 6 3/4" x 26 1/4"
Oversize 2 Sunday cartoons 1932-1933 - The Sunday Dumb Dora strips contain 2 separate pieces for each strip- a top and a bottom. (40 items) 18 3/4" x 23"
When Mother Was a Girl
Oversize 3 Sunday cartoons 6 Nov 1932, 5 Mar 1933, 13 Aug 1933, 24 Sep 1933 (4 items) 11" x 23"
Oversize 3 Bing Brown circa 1932-1933 (9 items) 7 1/2" x 28 1/2"
Oversize 3 Dumb Dora circa 1932-1933 (25 items) dimensions vary

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