Finding aid created by: -
Date: circa 1965
|12 Mar 2007||converted to EAD (MRC)|
|17 Dec 2009||updated, corrected (MRC)|
|4 Oct 2010||added items to inventory (SK)|
|9 Feb 2011||added items to inventory (AM)|
|26 Jul 2011||minor corrections (MRC)|
Overview of the Collection
|Title:||Alvah Posen Papers|
|Quantity:||3.5 linear ft.|
|Abstract:||Papers of the American comic strip cartoonist. Original artwork for product advertising for Pepsi-Cola and Wheaties, comic strips (proof sheets and clippings), correspondence, his idea file for comic strips (1922-1951), memorabilia and photographs. Correspondents include Milton Caniff, Al Capp, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Rube Goldberg, Vernon Greene, Fred Harman, W. Averell Harriman, National Cartoonists Society, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., Charles M. Schulz, and Fred Waring.|
|Repository:||Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
Alvah "Al" Posen (1895-1960) was an American cartoonist best known for his long-running strip Sweeney and Son.
Born in New York City, Posen served in the Army during World War I and then traveled in the Orient as a member of a geological and mining expedition. Although he had no formal training in art, Posen sold his first comic strip, Them Days Is Gone Forever (later renamed Them Days Are Gone Forever, to United Features Syndicate in 1921. The strip featured a short tune accompanied by a limerick-style rhyme. Within a year the strip was running daily in one hundred newspapers. Posen discontinued it in 1927.
His second comic strip, Ella and Her Fella, while employing the same limerick format, ran only a short time. In 1933 Posen began Sweeney and Son for the Chicago Tribune - New York News syndicate, which ran for 25 years; for many of those years it ran in conjunction with a four-panel four-word rhyming gag strip called Jinglet, also by Posen. In 1949 he revived the scheme of Them Days Is Gone Forever and renamed it Rhymin' Time. While engaging in political and social satire in his comic art, Posen was most interested in portraying the humanly amusing side of life.
Al Posen was a co-producer of the first Marx Brothers motion picture, a silent short which was a financial flop. As a member of the National Cartoonists Society, he originated the idea of cartoonists' shows for American servicemen overseas. Posen died June 10, 1960.
The Alvah Posen Papers consists of artwork, comic strips, correspondence, ideas for comics, memorabilia and photographs.
Correspondence consists of letters from newspaper and advertising clients, the Treasury Department, admirers requesting original drawings, and fellow cartoonists, among them Rube Goldberg, Al Capp, and Milton Caniff. A large part of the miscellaneous correspondence from 1955-1959 concerns Posen's role as Director of Overseas Shows for the National Cartoonists Society. Also included are a number of carbons of Posen's replies to letters received. A letter of 7 Jul 1948 from Posen to Richard Clarke of the Chicago Tribune gives a history of Them Days Is Gone Forever.
Ideas for comics consists mostly of letters received from fans, with suggestions and ideas for Jinglet and Them Days Is Gone Forever.
Memorabilia includes a report and test of a commercial strip for Wheaties cereal and National Cartoonists Society materials.
Original artwork contains pieces by Posen. There are sketches for commercial art pieces (some of which incorporate his strips, such as a rough for Them Days Is Gone Forever incorporating an ad for Ingram's Shaving Cream) and miscellaneous other pieces, such as an original colored strip of "The Roundies and the Squares."
Photographs contains portraits of Posen, portraits of others inscribed to Posen and images of cartoonist related events.
Printed material consists of proofs and newspaper clippings of Jinglet, Rhymin' Time, Sweeney and Son, Them Days Is Gone Forever. Some of these were originally pasted into scrapbooks which have been disassembled. In some cases two different strips were printed on the same sheet or pasted on the same page in a scrapbook, so there is some overlap of titles and dates in this section.
Artwork is subdivided into commercial and non-commercial. Comic strips are arranged alphabetically by title and within that chronologically. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent; miscellaneous items at the end are arranged chronologically. Ideas for comics are arranged alphabetically by title. Memorabilia is arranged alphabetically by type or topic.
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.
Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.
A eulogy for Al Posen and correspondence with Posen are located in the Vernon Greene Papers.
Special Collections Research Center has more than 150 collections of cartoonist's papers. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.
Caniff, Milton Arthur, 1907-1988 -- Correspondence.
Capp, Al, 1909-1979 -- Correspondence.
Goldberg, Rube, 1883-1970 -- Correspondence.
Greene, Vernon Van Atta -- Correspondence.
Posen, Alvah -- Archives.
Schulz, Charles M. (Charles Monroe), 1922-2000 -- Correspondence.
Waring, Fred, 1900-1984 -- Correspondence.
National Cartoonists Society.
Sweeney and son.
Them days are gone forever.
Advertising -- Food.
Advertising -- Soft drinks.
American wit and humor, Pictorial.
Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
Cartoonists -- United States.
Comic books, strips, etc.
Genres and Forms
Cartoons (humorous images)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Proofs (printed matter)
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
Alvah Posen Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
Gift of Mrs. Barbara Greene; transferred from the Vernon Greene Papers, 1972, 2010; transferred from the C.D. Russell Cartoons, 1967, 2011.
Ideas for comics
|Box 1||Amarillo Globe 1949 - about a Jinglet contest|
|Box 1||American Theatre Wing 1946-1948|
|Box 1||Caniff, Milt 1946, 1949, 1956-1958|
|Box 1||Capp, Al 1958|
|Box 1||Coogan, Jackie 1923 - letter on Coogan's behalf asking for an original cartoon|
|Box 1||Eisenhower, Dwight D. 1955|
|Box 1||Family 1919-1920, undated - to and from Posen's mother and sister|
|Box 1||Fisher, Bud 1944, undated - includes three Mutt and Jeff Christmas cards|
|Box 1||Goldberg, Rube 1946, 1956-1957, undated|
|Box 1||Greene, Vern undated|
|Box 1||Harman, Fred 1957|
|Box 1||Harriman, Averell 1959|
|Box 1||Knox Reeves Advertising 1944-1947, 1950 - mostly concerning the Wheaties campaign|
|Box 1||McCoy, Wilson 1957-1958|
|Box 1||National Cartoonists Society 1951, 1957-1958, undated|
|Box 1||Polumbaum, Ted and Nyna undated|
|Box 1||Roosevelt, Franklin D. 1949|
|Box 1||Schulz, Charles 1956|
|Box 1||Thompson Koch Advertising Company - mostly Bristol Myers, regarding Ingram shaving cream and other ads|
|La Roe, Cap|
|See Thompson Koch Advertising Company.|
|See Thompson Koch Advertising Company.|
|See Knox Reeves Advertising.|
|Box 1||Trachet, Don 1958, undated|
|Box 1||United Feature Syndicate 1922 - includes letter regarding the Kansas City Star's first-ever purchase of a comic strip for its paper: Them Days|
|Box 1||United States Treasury 1942, 1949-1951, 1955, 1957, undated - most relating to Posen's work on Savings Bond campaigns; includes photos|
|Box 1||Walsh, J. Martyn - regarding illustrations for Walsh's book1952|
|Box 1||Waring, Fred 1948-1949 - includes photos|
|Box 1||Zaroubin, Georgi N. 1958 - Soviet ambassador|
|Box 1||1921-1946 (2 folders)|
|Box 2||1958-1959, undated (2 folders)|
|Ideas for comics|
|Box 2||"Jinglet" 1926-1935|
|Box 2||"Mr. Bingo" 1925|
|"Mr. Garz, the Man from Mars" (missing as of 12/17/09)|
|Box 2||"Rhymes of Second Childhood"|
|Box 2||"Rhymin' Time" 1922-1951 (3 folders)|
|Box 2||Awards 1942-1958|
|Box 2||Biographical material 1949 - printed material|
|Box 2||Clippings 1922-1951|
|Box 2||Comic strip promotional materials 1942-1949|
|Box 2||Development and test of advertising strip 1945|
|Box 2||National Cartoonists Society 1948-1954 - printed material, savings bonds (2 folders)|
|Box 2||Programs and invitations 1927-1959|
|Box 3||A Word About Colgate undated|
|Box 3||A Word About Ex-Lax undated|
|Box 3||A Word About Ingram's and Vitalis undated|
|Box 3||A Word About Lifebuoy undated|
|Box 3||A Word About Old Gold Cigarettes undated|
|Box 3||A Word About Palmolive undated|
|Box 3||A Word About... (miscellaneous) undated|
|Box 3||Beech Nut Gum undated|
|Oversize 3||Chickie & Choosie / Ingram's Shaving Cream undated|
|Box 1||El Producto (cigars?) (missing as of 12/17/09) undated|
|Oversize 3||Good Old Ben Bromo Selzer undated|
|Box 3||It's Wheaties Every Morning undated|
|Box 3||Lifebuoy undated|
|Oversize 3||Mr. Garz the Man from Mars undated|
|Oversize 3||Nature's Awakening undated|
|Oversize 3||Pepsi Cola undated|
|Oversize 3||Wheaties undated|
|Oversize 3||Works by others 1956, undated - Charles Payne and drawing of Posen by unidentified|
|Box 3||Wrigley's undated|
|Box 3||Miscellaneous undated|
|Box 1||Miscellaneous undated - Jinglet, Them Days, Sweeney & Son Christmas card (missing as of 12/17/09)|
|Box 3||Bond Tour- Des Moines, Iowa 1949|
|Box 3||Detroit Christmas party 1946|
|Box 3||Library of Congress Oct 1949|
|Box 3||Metropolitan Group- the National Newspaper Network 1952|
|Box 3||Metro Sunday Comics party circa 1952|
|Box 3||Portraits undated|
|Box 3||Police headquarters lineup; Wilkenson, Albert 1949, 1951|
|Box 3||Tennis undated|
|Box 3||Miscellaneous undated - some portraits inscribed to Posen|
|Oversize 3||Call for Mr. Bingo undated - proofs|
|Oversize 3||Ella and Her Fella / Jinglet 1931-1932 - color tearsheets|
|Box 1||Jinglet 1935 - clippings|
|Oversize 3||Pepsi Cola undated|
|Map-Case 1, Drawer 107||Promotional material 1920s, undated|
|Box 1||Rhymin' Time 1950 - clippings|
|Oversize 3||Rhymin' Time 1949-1950 - daily proof sheets|
|Oversize 1||Rhymin' Time 1949-1950 - proof sheets|
|Oversize 3||Sweeney & Son 1943-1944 - color proofs tearsheets|
|Box 1||Sweeney & Son 1935 - clippings|
|Oversize 4||Sweeney & Son 1941-1943, 1946-1948 - clippings (2 scrapbooks)|
|Sweeney & Son, oversize 1934-1955, 1958-1959 - clippings; (missing as of 12/17/09) (2 folders)|
|Oversize 2||Sweeney & Son / Jinglet 1936-1941, 1948-1949 - proof sheets (7 folders)|
|Box 1||Them Days Are Gone Forever 1921-1925, 1944 - proof sheets|
|Box 1||Them Days Are Gone Forever / Jinglet 1935 - clippings|
|Box 3||Thompson's Malted Milk undated - proofs|
|Box 3||Wheaties undated - proofs|
|Box 3||Willie Mite comic strip 1945, 1948-1949 - proofs|
|Box 3||Miscellaneous undated - negative proofs|