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Frank Willard Cartoons

An inventory of his cartoons at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Willard, Frank H.
Title: Frank Willard Cartoons
Inclusive Dates: 1941-1945, 1950-1952
Quantity: 3 linear ft.
Abstract: 333 original daily cartoons from the newspaper comic strip Moon Mullins.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Frank Henry Willard (1893-1958) was an American cartoonist and creator of the newspaper comic strip Moon Mullins.

Frank Willard was born in Anna, Illinois. Something of a hot-head, he was expelled from school as a youth and during his time in the army was reduced in rank three times from sergeant to private. He started his artistic career in 1914, working freelance for several Chicago newspapers, and in 1916 was hired by the Chicago Herald to work on the Sunday strip Tom, Dick and Harry. In 1920, after a short stint working with Billy DeBeck on Barney Google, he moved to King Features Syndicate, for whom he wrote and drew The Outta Luck Club. Captain Joe Patterson of the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate was interested in adding a strip similar to Barney Google to his own lineup and hired Willard in 1923.

Moon Mullins ("Moon" being short for "Moonshine") debuted June 19, 1923 and quickly became a popular item. Supporting characters to the pugnacious Mullins included his landlady Emmy Schmaltz, Mamie the cook and her husband Willie, Moon's younger brother Kayo, and English peer Lord Plushbottom. At its peak the strip was carried by more than 250 newspapers; the strip and the character were so successful that it spawned a radio show, a game from Milton Bradley, two Big Little books, and in 1971 Moon Mullins appeared as a secondary character on the Saturday morning animated cartoon show Archie's TV Funnies.

Frank Willard was one of the first members of the National Cartoonists Society, joining within two weeks of its founding in 1932. Willard continued to work on Moon Mullins until his death in 1958, at which time it was taken over by his long-time assistant Ferd Johnson. Johnson continued the strip for another 68 years, until it finally ceased its run in 1991.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Frank Willard Cartoons collection contains 333 original daily cartoons from the newspaper comic strip Moon Mullins. Daily cartoon: traces of graphite, pasteovers, pen and ink on illustration board, approx. 7 ΒΌ x 23 in.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Cartoons are arranged chronologically. There are 2 undated cartoons that can be found at the end of the collection.

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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.

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Related Material

Other original Moon Mullins strips may be found in the Ferd Johnson Cartoons.

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

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Subject Headings


Willard, Frank H.

Corporate Bodies

Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate.

Associated Titles

Moon Mullins (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)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Frank Willard Cartoons,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ferd Johnson, 1968.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: GBS
Date: Dec 1968
Revision history: 16 Mar 2007 - converted to EAD (MRC); 20 Mar 2009 - revised (MD)

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Moon Mullins daily cartoons (333)
Click here for detailed inventory.
Box 1 1941 Jan - 1944 Oct
Box 2 1944 Nov - 1945 May
Box 3 1950 Mar - 1952 Aug; undated (2)

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