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Vernon Greene Papers

An inventory of his Papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: –
Date: 1984

Biographical History

Vernon Van Atta Greene (1908-1965) was an American cartoonist and illustrator, most noted for his work as George McManus' successor on the comic strip Bringing Up Father.

Greene was born in Battle Ground, Washington in 1908, one of seven children. Greene spent much of his early career doing sports and editorial cartoons for various newspapers, including the Portland (Ore.) Telegram (1927-1929), the Toledo Blade (1930-1932) and the New York Mirror (1934-1937). During this time, Greene was also an active freelance illustrator, creating advertising cartoons and illustrations for books and magazines, working on Street and Smith publications like the Shadow and the Masked Lady, and ghosting for many years on the daily version of Cliff Sterrett's comic strip Polly and Her Pals.

During WWII, Greene found himself with the medical division of the Air Corps as a photographer at Kearns Air Base in Utah. After the war was active in traveling USO tours with other cartoonists. He attended Toledo University in the 1930s and following World War II, Columbia University.

In 1954, Greene took over the long-running classic comic strip Bringing Up Father after the death of the strip's creator George McManus. He carried on with the strip, maintaining it very much in McManus' signature style, until his own death in 1965.

In addition to his prolific artistic output, Greene also served as host of the WRVR syndicated radio show The Cartoonist's Art, and was an active member of the National Cartoonists Society, serving two years as Vice President. In 1964, Greene was awarded the NCS Silver T-Square award for his service to his profession.

Vernon Greene died in 1965.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The vast majority of the Vernon Greene Papers consists of proofs and tear sheets from a large diversity of daily and Sunday comic strips—hundreds of different titles and artists, ranging primarily through the 1930s and 1940s. The collection also contains a substantial amount of material related specifically to Vernon Greene, including original artworks and sketches done by Greene, published samples of his cartoon and illustration work, correspondence, biographical material and a tape recorded interview.

Correspondence (1929-1966) contains seven boxes of incoming correspondence addressed to Greene and later to his widow. Much of the correspondence is from other cartoonists and there is also fan mail. The holiday cards often feature cartoon designs and detailed correspondence from their senders. Later correspondence deals with Greene's hospitalization towards the end of his life in 1965. Among the letters of encouragement Greene received is a letter from Charles Schulz.

Personal files contains material related to Greene's family, property in New Jersey and student work from his time at Columbia University.

Photos consists primarily of news photos on a variety topics. Present are many news service photographs, almost exclusively from the International News Service, a unit of King Features. These photographs have been sorted and arranged by broad topics including Animals, Accidents/Disasters/Crime, Military, International Affairs, Sports, Labor Strikes (including the General Electric strike and Hollywood studio strikes) and New York City. The majority are contain the tag line, "Watch Your Credit". Attached to photos are typed summaries of what is depicted and datelines. War photos include combat manuevers in specific countries, individual soldiers, and items depicting social effects of the war. Imagery includes prisoners of war, civilian life, aftermath of battles and troops. Of particular interest is a photograph of Charles De Gaulle. A large set of images about the U.S. homefront is also contained in this series, particular images related to brides and returning veterans facing a housing shortage as well as a handful of images about rationing. Also of interest are photos of famous political figures and celebrities, including Albert Einstein, Humphrey Bogart, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman, and images of a young Lucille Ball.

Another large area are photos of crime, accidents and disasters. These include crime scene photos (often graphic), women accused of committing violent crime, crimes against children, transportation accidents and fires. Sports contains images, particularly baseball, including the New York Yankees, as well as college basketball including Syracuse University and horse racing.

The Professional files series contains material related to Greene's involvement in the National Cartoonists Society and the Newspaper Comics Council. The NCS subseries contains correspondence, publications as well as audio recordings. The organization's newsletters have been cataloged and transferred to Rare Books. The Newspaper Comics Council subseries includes meeting minutes and membership lists. Worth noting is material on the topic of H.R. 7927 regarding postal rate increases.

Published and printed material contains biographical material about other cartoonists, various clippings related to Greene and promotional material. Of interest are Jim Ivey's "Report on European Political Cartooning" and advertising sales information for Puck, the Comic Weekly.

Reference files contains material amassed by Greene on a variety of topics. Included is typically printed and published material, clippings, photographs and occasionally correspondence. Of interest may be a Little Scouts Comic book in the Scouts file. Much Reference File material stamped with name Donald Beck

Works by Greene covers Greene's professional career as a cartoonist and illustrator. Items include material related to Greene's work on comic strips and commercial advertising artwork. The bulk of the comic strip related works pertains to Bringing Up Father. A large portion of proofs for Bringing Up Father were arranged by Greene by subject.

Works by others comprises the bulk of this collection. This series contains primarily proofs of comic strips from the 1930s and 1940s as well as tearsheets. Many of the proofs are full color.

Arrangement of the Collection

Materials from the same comic strip are at times not housed together because of their varying specific dimensions. Tape recordings appearing in several series have been numbered.

Other Finding Aids

A set of index cards listing correspondents and dates is located in Box 6. However, the inclusiveness of this cross reference has not been verified.


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:

The collection cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of Mrs. Greene or her heirs.

Related Material

Al Posen material has been transferred to the Alvah Posen Collection. Newsletters of the Newspaper Comics Council have been transferred to Rare Books for cataloging; please refer to the Classic Catalog to locate these items.

Special Collections Research Center has collections of more than 150 cartoonists. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Additional The Heart of Juliet Jones cartoons are located in the Stan Drake Papers.

Additional material by Roy Crane is located in the Roy Crane Papers.

Additional "Cap" Stubbs and Tippie, Tippie and Brick Bradford proofs are located in the C. D. Russell Cartoons.

Additional Moon Mullins cartoons are located in the Frank Willard Cartoons.

Subject Headings


Greene, Vernon Van Atta.

Corporate Bodies

King Features Syndicate.
National Cartoonists Society.
Newspaper Comics Council.


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Comic books, strips, etc. -- United States.
Crime scenes -- Pictorial works.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Pictorial works.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)
Clippings (information artifacts)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Vernon Greene Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. Barbara Greene.

Original artwork for Cherry and the Colonel, gift of Karl H. Schadow, 2013.

One 1960 correspondence item, gift of Alan Dedrick, 2015.

Table of Contents


Personal files


Professional files

Published and printed material

Reference files

Works by Greene

Works by others