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Allen Saunders Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: -
Date: Jul 1967

Biographical History

John Allen Saunders (1899-1986), known as Allen Saunders, was an American writer and cartoonist.

Allen Saunders was born in Lebanon, Indiana on March 24, 1899. He studied at Wabash College, where he received his A.B. and M.A. degrees, and at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

Saunders was a member of The Players in New York City, the National Cartoonists Society and the Newspaper Comics Council, of which he was a past chairman. He was the author and creator of the well-known syndicated comic-strips Steve Roper, Kerry Drake, and Mary Worth. He was also the author of the pamphlet "A Career for Your Child in the Comics?" Saunders contributed to Coronet, Colliers and many popular fiction magazines. His lectures included "Comics Are Serious Business" and "The Philosophy of Humor". Saunders served as the Continuity Editor of the Publishers Syndicate and President of Art Interests, Inc., which is an organization providing scholarships to talented young artists.

Allen Saunders died in 1986.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Allen Saunders Papers consists primarily of photostats and proofs from the newspaper comic strips Kerry Drake, Steve Roper and Mary Worth (1963-1964). The photostats, which are copies of original rough sketches, are divided into daily formats (6 daily comic strips per sheet, 10 ½ x 20 ¼ in.) and Sunday formats (1 comic strip per sheet, 8 ½ x 11 in.). Daily proof sheets represent the finished comic strips as they were published (6 daily comic strips per sheet, 9 ¼ x 22 in. on glossy paper). The collection also contains 1 original daily cartoon from each strip (each approx. 6 ½ x 20 in.)

In addition to the comic strips, the collection contains 11 pieces of incoming correspondence from readers (1949-1953, undated); subject files containing material relating to the popularity of various cartoon strips, including those of Saunders, and a piece about the cartoonist and co-creator of Mary Worth, Ken Ernst (1947-1954, undated); manuscripts of a lecture by Saunders and speeches concerning Saunders (1955-1964, undated); and published material that includes magazine articles about Saunders and others, newspaper articles and clippings about Saunders and pamphlets about and by him (1938-1957).

Arrangement of the Collection

Comic strip original cartoons, photostats and proofs are arranged separately in chronological order. Correspondence consists of 1 folder and is arranged alphabetically by sender. Subject Files, Manuscripts and Published Materials are each arranged alphabetically by subject.


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 also the William Overgard Cartoons collection for additional material related to the comic strip Steve Roper.

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

Subject Headings


Andriola, Alfred, 1912-1983.
Ernst, Ken, 1918-1985.
Overgard, William.
Saunders, Allen, 1899-1986.

Corporate Bodies

Publishers Syndicate.

Associated Titles

Kerry Drake (comic strip)
Mary Worth (comic strip)
Steve Roper (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)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts for publication.
Speeches (documents)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Allen Saunders Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Allen Saunders.

Table of Contents

Comic Strips



Published material

Subject Files