Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

Willard Mullin Cartoons

An inventory of his cartoons at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: --
Date: 1968

Biographical History

Willard Harlan Mullin (1902-1978) was an American sports cartoonist and illustrator.

Though born in the mid-west, Willard Mullin spent his formative years in Los Angeles, California, and it was there that he broke into the newspaper business as a staff artist for the Los Angeles Herald in 1923. In 1934, after brief stints with papers in Ft. Worth and San Antonio, Mullin landed with the New York World-Telegram and Sun where he would remain as sports cartoonist for the bulk of his career. Mullin was highly influential and is often cited as a major influence on many of the great sports cartoonists of the following generation, including Karl Hubenthal and Gene Basset. Mullin's career spanned a legendary era in New York sports history, and his images of the great Yankees teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers, the New York Giants and Mets are iconic. Possibly, Mullin's most famous creation was the "Brooklyn Bum," a colorful Dodger fanatic who later followed the franchise west, but he was also noted for his "Mets kid" and "St. Louis Swifty" characters, as well as and his skillful renderings of animals and other team mascots. When the World-Telegram and Sun folded in 1966, Mullin continued doing freelance work, publishing sports illustrations and cartoons in The Sporting News, the Saturday Evening Postand Life, among many others. Willard Mullin received the National Cartoonist Society's prestigious Reuben Award in 1954 and the NCS award for Sports Cartoons eight times (1957-1962, 1964, 1965). In 1971, the NCS named him "Sports Cartoonist of the Century".

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Willard Mullin Cartoons collection contains original and reproduction sports cartoons from the early to mid 1960s. Most of the cartoons deal with New York sports topics including Yankees baseball, Giants and Jets football, the Mets, Madison Square Garden events and horse racing. There are a substantial number of cartoons dealing with boxing, especially the Cassius Clay/Sonny Liston fights of 1964 and 1965. The many New York Yankees cartoons in the collection are particularly representative of the team's 1964 campaign with Yogi Berra as manager, usually noted as the end of the great Yankees dynasty. There are many appearances of the Brooklyn Bum, the Mets kid, the St. Louis Swifty, and many other stock characters and animal mascots.

As the cartoons are not specifically dated, dates listed in inventory are derived from context. Original cartoon: traces of graphite, crayon, zipatone, brush, pen and ink on illustration board, approx. 15 x 22 in.

Arrangement of the Collection

Cartoons are arranged by sport and sorted in alphabetical order by title (or prominent caption, if untitled).


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


Mullin, Willard, 1902-1978.

Associated Titles

New York world-telegram and the sun.


American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
New York Yankees (Baseball team) -- History -- Pictorial works.
Sports -- Caricatures and cartoons.

Genres and Forms

Cartoons (humorous images)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

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

Acquisition Information

M12-071 ("...And with three straight Giants losses..."), purchase, 2012.

M13-054 (3 items from 1947, 1 from 1949), acquired 1993, source unknown.

Table of Contents

Baseball cartoons

Basketball cartoons

Boxing cartoons

Football (College) cartoons

Football (Pro) cartoons

Golf cartoons

Hockey cartoons

Horse Racing cartoons

Track and Field cartoons

Misc. Sports cartoons


*text in brackets taken from prominent caption.