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Fred Neher Papers

An inventory of his Papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MD
Date: 10 Dec 2008

Biographical History

Fred Neher (1903-2001) was an American cartoonist and creator of the comic strip Life's Like That. Although he sold his first cartoon while still in high school, he studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts after graduating. He freelanced for several years, selling cartoons to national periodicals such as Collier's and the New Yorker, as well as to the British publication Punch. In 1934 he began drawing Life's Like That which, apart from a brief hiatus during World War II, ran for more than fifty years. Neher also taught cartooning at the University of Boulder in Boulder, Colorado for many years.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Fred Neher Papers contains artwork, correspondence, memorabilia and printed material.

Artwork consists of 87 original black-and-white ink drawings for Neher's popular gag cartoon Life's Like That. The cartoon features several recurring characters, such as "Some Punkins" (attractive young women), "Hi-Teens" (teenagers), "Will-Yum" (young boy), "Mrs. Pip's Diary" (middle-class housewife), and "Us Moderns" (precocious infants). Most of the panels date from 1963 and 1964; a complete list of dates is available here. There is one large Sunday panel; the remainder are dailies.

Correspondence consists of fan mail and miscellaneous correspondence. Included in the latter are invitations, requests for donations of artwork to institutions, and two letter critical of particular cartoons (one about hot rodders, the other about the U.S. Postal Service).

Memorabilia contains awards and certificates, some clippings about Neher and assorted miscellaneous material (one photograph and a sheet of letterhead).

Printed material contains clippings of two half-page color Sunday panels of Life's Like That, greeting cards featuring characters from the strip, promotional material advertising the strip, and a proof sheet. There is also a folder of miscellaneous material -- bridge tally cards, a program from a high school recital, an "Us Moderns" birth certificate (several of the fan letters are requests for these in the names of children or friends), and a printed Life's Like That strip that has been hand-colored by an unknown person.

Arrangement of the Collection

Artwork is arranged chronologically. Correspondence is subdivided into fan mail and other correspondence; each subset is arranged chronologically. Memorabilia and printed material are arranged alphabetically by type.


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

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

Subject Headings


Neher, Fred, 1903-2001.

Corporate Bodies

United Feature Syndicate.

Associated Titles

Life's Like That (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:

Fred Neher Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Fred Neher, 1967, 1970-1972.

Table of Contents




Published material