Mort Walker Collection, 1946-2001
[information supplied by Walker]
Addison Morton Walker was born in Eldorado, Kansas in 1923, reared in Kansas City and graduated from the University of Missouri. In World War II he served with the U.S. Army in Italy as a 1st Lieutenant.
At the age of twelve he sold his first cartoon. At thirteen he was selling cartoons regularly and at fifteen he was drawing a comic strip, The Lime Juicers, for the now defunct Kansas City Journal. His earnings as chief designer at the Hallmark Greeting Card Company paid for his college education.
After the war and graduation from college Mort moved to New York City to be closer to the magazine markets. His first cartoons were rejected but within a year he became one of the top ten magazine cartoonists in the country. At the top of the magazine cartooning profession Mort decided to enter the comic strip field. Now twenty-six and married, he created Beetle Bailey and sold it to King Features Syndicate.
Three years after Beetle's debut, Mort won the coveted Reuben Award of The National Cartoonist Society. Two year later, the Banshees, a famous New York city luncheon club of artists, writers, and editors along with others in the creative field presented him with its "Silver Lady" award for being the outstanding cartoonist of 1955. His fellow cartoonists elected him president of the National Cartoonist Society for 1959-60. Mort was awarded the National Cartoonists Society plaque for best comic strip, 1966, 1969; Il Secolo XIX, 1972; Adamson Award, 1975; Power of Printing Award, 1977; Elzie Segar Award, 1977; Fourth Estate award, American Legion, 1978; and the Jester Award, 1979.
In addition to Beetle Bailey (1950 to date), Walker produced, some in collaboration with other cartoonists, Hi and Lois, 1954 to date; Mrs. Fitz' Flats, 1957-72; Sam's Strip, 1961-63; Boner's Ark 1968 to 2000; Sam and Silo, 1977 to date; The Evermores, 1983-86; Betty Boop and Friends, 1984-88 and Gamin and Patches, 1987-88.
Walker founded the Museum of Cartoon Art in Port Chester, New York in 1974. It was moved to Boca Raton, Florida and opened in 1996 as the International Museum of Cartoon Art.
Walker married Jean Walker and in 1985 Catherine Carty Prentice. His children are Greg, Brian, Polly, Morgan, Marjorie, Neal and Roger. He lives in Stamford, Connecticut. His hobbies are writing, golf and photography.
Scope and Contents
The focus of the collection is on Mort Walker's visit to the University of Missouri in 1992 as a Scholar-in-Residence. A highlight of the visit was the unveiling of a bronze statue of Beetle Bailey. Prior to that occasion Walker donated original cartoons, animation cels, books, lithographs and posters to the University of Missouri Libraries. Newspaper articles about the visit are in the collection.
Additionally, original cartoons donated by Jean Walker are in the collection.
Also included are reproductions of Walker's work for Showme in 1946 and 1947. Showme was a humor magazine produced by students of the University of Missouri. Walker served as art editor and editor.
- Biographical: Includes information provided by Walker's publicist, Who' Who in America sketch and articles about Walker.
- Career: Includes reproductions of Showme artwork, information about Beetle Bailey and The Lexicon of Comicana.
- Walker's Visit to the University of Missouri in 1992: Includes a copy of a Beetle Bailey strip prepared in1989 about Beetle and The Shack; Scholars-in-Residence brochures, programs and mementos; newspaper articles; and information from an exhibit during the visit.
- Original Cartoons, Animation Cels, Posters and Lithographs