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C. D. Russell Cartoons

A description of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 17 Nov 2010

Biographical History

Clarence D. Russell (1895-1963) was an American cartoonist and illustrator, best known for his syndicated comic strip Pete the Tramp. Born in Buffalo, New York, he studied at the Chicago Art Institute and worked as sports editor for Leatherneck Magazine in addition to doing freelance work. During World War I he joined the American Expeditionary Force. After his military service he returned to New York City where he worked for the New York Evening Post and the New York Evening Mail, and contributed to the humorous publication Judge. His sketches of homeless men in Bryant Park led to the creation of Pete the Tramp, which was picked up by King Features Syndicate and ran for more than thirty years.

[Adapted from information found in Famous Artists and Writers, published by King Features Syndicate in 1949 and available online at]

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The C. D. Russell Cartoons (1921-1964) consists of artwork, newspaper clippings, proofs of comic strips by Russell and proofs and clippings of comic strips from other cartoonists.

Original artwork contains two original daily strips, including a 1937 Mickey Mouse cartoon signed by Walt Disney and a 1936 Thimble Theatre cartoon starring Popeye by E.C. Segar. The series also contains undated sketches, including magazine cover designs featuring Ozark Ike.

Printed material (1945-1949) primarily consists of Sunday News, New York's Picture Newspaper issues. The July 4 1948 issue contains color images of First Lady dresses from 1789 to 1945. Documents from the New York Historical Society were found with the cartoon Dick's Adventures in Dreamland.

Works by C.D. Russell (1932-1963) includes mostly color proofs of Pete the Tramp and other topper cartoons, including Bumps, Pete's Pup, Snorky, The Topper Twins and The Tucker Twins.

Works by others (1921-1964) comprises the bulk of the collection. This series contains primarily proofs of comic strips, with the majority from 1948-1954. Proofs and clippings of cartoons by Fanny Y. Cory serve as examples by one of the first female cartoonists. Elmer Simms Campbell's Cuties is an example of work by one of the first African American cartoonists. The series contains numerous Blondie proofs as well as proof sheets from Dagwood Splits the Atom! that includes characters from Thimble Theater. Proofs of Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Snow White, Thimble Theater starring Popeye, and Popeye make up part of the series, though are partially water damaged. Also worth noting are I Love Lucy proofs from 1952-1954 created in conjunction with the television series.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized by series and arranged alphabetically by cartoon title. Materials from the same comic strip are at times not housed together because of their varying specific dimensions.


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

Hal Foster material has been transferred to the Harold R. (Hal) Foster Papers.

Vernon Greene material has been transferred to the Vernon Greene Papers.

Al Posen material has been transferred to the Alvah Posen Papers.

Some material was discarded due to its water damaged condition.

The book Learn how Dagwood splits the atom! by Joe Musial can be located via the Classic Catalog.

Additional Pete the Tramp cartoons, Fanny Y. Cory's Little Miss Muffet, E. Simms Campbell's Cuties and Walt Disney's Merry Menagerie can be located in the Vernon Greene Papers.

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

Subject Headings


Campbell, E. Simms (Elmer Simms), 1906-1971.
Cory, Fanny Y.
Russell, C. D. (Clarence D.), 1895-1963.
Segar, E. C. (Elzie Crisler), 1894-1938.
Young, Chic, 1901-1973.

Associated Titles

Blondie (comic strip)
Pete the tramp (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)
Comic strips.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

C. D. Russell Cartoons,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Unspecified, 1967.

Table of Contents

Original artwork

Printed material

Works by C.D. Russell

Works by others