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Jay Darling Collection

An inventory of his Collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MD
Date: 27 Oct 2008

Biographical History

Jay N. "Ding" Darling (1876-1962) was an American editorial cartoonist, wild life artist and conservationist.

Born on October 21, 1876, Jay Norwood Darling grew up in Michigan and Indiana before his family moved to Sioux City, Iowa. As a child, Darling was interesting in drawing and art but did not consider it for a career. Darling spent a year at Yankton College in South Dakota (1894) and enrolled at Beloit College the following year where he drew caricatures for the college yearbook. Darling left Beloit but returned to graduate in 1900.

Darling worked at the Sioux City Journal for six years as a reporter and he also drew caricatures and cartoons for the paper. In 1906, Darling took a job with the Des Moines Register and Leader where he had more artistic freedom. He spent two years in New York City pursuing syndicated cartooning but returned to the Des Moines Register and Leader in 1913. After another stint in New York City, he returned yet again to the Des Moines Register and Leader in 1936 and retired in 1949.

A prolific cartoonist, Darling won a Pulitzer Prize in 1924 for his cartoon “In Good Old USA” and again in 1943 for his cartoon “What a Place for a Waste Paper Salvage Campaign”. He was also a strong proponent of conservation and helped found the Cooperative Wildlife Research Center at Iowa State University. He studied the migration of waterfowl and through an appointment by President Franklin D. Roosevelt served for a brief period as the chief of the U.S. Biological Survey. In this role, he helped to expand the nation's wildlife refuge system and was instrumental in starting the Duck Stamp program. He also helped establish the National Wildlife Federation and was elected its president in 1936.

Jay N. "Ding" Darling suffered a stroke in 1961 which left him partially paralyzed and he died on February 12, 1962. His conservation work is remembered through the J.N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida which was established in 1965.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Jay Darling Collection contains materials that were transferred from the James Earle and Laura Gardin Fraser Papers at Special Collections Research Center. The collection is divided into 2 series: Artwork and Clippings. Artwork contains two original drawings, one print of a drawing and eight sketches. Of particular interest the artwork's connection to American sculptors James and Laura Fraser- "The Peace Hunters" and "Quail" are inscribed to the Frasers and one sketch was drawn on a piece of letterhead bearing Laura Gardin Fraser's name and address.

Clippings contains a folder with four clippings about Darling's career and approximately 500 newspaper clippings of his editorial cartoons that were syndicated in the New York Herald Tribune during 1930, 1934-1939 and 1942-1945.


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 James Earle and Laura Gardin Fraser Papers for correspondence and photographs related to Jay Darling.

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

Subject Headings


Darling, Jay N. (Jay Norwood), 1876-1962.
Fraser, James Earle, 1876-1953.
Fraser, Laura Gardin, 1889-1966.

Corporate Bodies

Des Moines Register and Tribune Company.

Associated Titles

New York herald tribune.


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- Iowa.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- Iowa.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Editorial cartoons -- Iowa.
Editorial cartoons -- United States.
Emigration and immigration.
Pulitzer prizes.
Wildlife conservation.
World politics -- 1945-1989 -- Caricatures and cartoons.


United States -- Politics and government -- 1933-1945 --Caricatures and cartoons.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Drawings (visual works)
Editorial cartoons.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Jay Darling Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Transferred from the James Earle and Laura Gardin Fraser Papers, 1972.

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