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Martin Branner Cartoons

An inventory of his cartoons at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MD
Date: 5 Dec 2008

Biographical History

Martin Michael Branner (1888-1970) was an American cartoonist and creator of the long-running newspaper comic strip Winnie Winkle.

Martin Branner came to cartooning a bit later in life, after a colorful early history as one-half of the successful vaudeville dance act, Martin and Fabrini. Branner first met his dance partner and future wife Edith Fabrini in 1905, and they soon established a lucrative career on the vaudeville circuit. With the advent of World War I, Branner was called away to military duty in the Chemical Warfare Service of the U.S. Army.

After the War, Branner turned his cartooning hobby into a professional endeavor, signing with the Bell Syndicate to produce the Sunday feature strip, Looie the Lawyer. Soon after, he was engaged by the New York Sun and Herald to produce a short-lived Sunday feature, Pete and Pinto. In 1920, Branner got his big break when he was added to Joseph Medill Patterson's impressive roster of Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate cartoonists to produce Winnie Winkle (originally titled Winnie Winkle, the Breadwinner).

Starting its run in September of 1920, Winne Winkle was one of the earliest of the modern career-girl strips that included such titles as Somebody's Stenog, Tillie the Toiler, Jane Arden, and a long list of others. The original conceit had a young Winnie working to support her elderly grandparents. Winnie eventually married, had twins and established a career as a fashion designer. Widowed during World War II, Winnie also had the distinction of being one of the most prominent single parents in comics (her husband eventually "returned" in a plot development in the 1970s).

In 1962, due to poor health, Martin Branner turned the strip over to his assistant, Max Von Bibber, who continued to draw the strip until 1980. Winnie Winkle continued until 1996, under the hand of various artists, making it one of the longest running newspaper strips of all time.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Martin Branner Cartoons collection contains 300 original daily cartoons from the comic strip Winnie Winkle (1920-1957). There is a complete week from each year represented, and an additional few random cartoons from each year. There are no holdings for 1946 and 1947. Daily cartoons: traces of graphite, blue pencil, zipatone, brush, pen and ink on illustration board, approx. 7 ¼ x 22 ½ in.

Arrangement of the Collection

Cartoons are in chronological order.


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


Branner, Martin Michael, b. 1888.

Associated Titles

Winnie Winkle (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:

Martin Branner Cartoons,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Martin Branner, 1968.

Table of Contents

Winnie Winkle cartoons