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Merrill Blosser Cartoons

A description of his cartoons at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: 1966

Biographical History

Merrill Blosser (1892-1983) was born in Nappanee, Indiana on May 28, 1892. He spent one year at Blue Ridge College, Maryland, took a correspondence course in cartooning, and studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. His first cartoon was sold to the Baltimore American in 1912. He held several art jobs with magazines and newspapers and drew political cartoons for the Wheeling (W.Va.) Register and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. In 1915, he went to work for the NEA syndicate, where he created the comic strip Freckles and His Friends, which eventually ran in some 700 newspapers.

Blosser's initial style for Freckles and His Friends was very simple, but over the years as Freckles grew older and the strip became more narrative, he shifted to a more realistic style. He was particularly influenced by fellow cartoonist Walter Hoban, who drew Jerry on the Job. In the mid-1930s Henry Formhals became Blosser's assistant on the strip, eventually taking over the daily version in early 1966. Blosser continued to do the Sunday feature until his retirement at the end of that year. Formhals continued doing both the daily and Sunday versions of Freckles and His Friends until the end of its run in 1971. Merrill Blosser died in Pasadena, California in 1983.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Merrill Blosser Cartoons collection contains 61 original daily cartoons and 36 original Sunday cartoons from the newspaper comic strip Freckles and His Friends (1966). The Sunday version of the comic strip also includes a single strip, companion feature titled Hector.

February 12, 1966 was the last daily strip signed by Merrill Blosser. Daily strips between February 14 and March 19 have the signature of Henry Formhals covered over with opaque white. The March 21, 1966 daily strip is the first to officially show the signature of Henry Formhals (see Henry Formhals Cartoons). Sunday cartoon: traces of graphite, blue pencil, opaque white, paste-ons, brush, pen and ink on illustration board, approx. 17 ¾ x 26 in. Daily cartoon: traces of graphite, blue pencil, opaque white, paste-ons, brush, pen and ink on illustration board, approx. 5 ¼ x 16 ½ in.

Arrangement of the Collection

Daily and Sunday cartoons are grouped separately in chronological order.


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.

Related Material

See the Henry Formhals Cartoons collection for additional material related to Freckles and His Friends. Special Collections Research Center has collections of over one hundred other cartoonists. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Blosser, Merrill.

Corporate Bodies

Newspaper Enterprise Association.

Associated Titles

Freckles and His Friends (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)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Merrill Blosser Cartoons,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Freckles and His Friends cartoons