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Gaar Williams collection

Identifier: L178

Scope and Contents

This collection includes 12 paperback portfolios each containing 25 Gaar Williams cartoons reprinted from the Chicago Tribune, with a foreward written by cartoonist, John T. McCutcheon. According to an ad in the Tribune's December 17, 1940 edition, the portfolios where printed as a special Christmas box set. Also included are 321 clippings of Williams' cartoons (circa 1927-1935) that were reprinted and published in the Chicago Tribune starting in 1939 and continuing into the 1940s; 3 calendars from 1946, 1950, and 1951 that contain Williams' cartoons; and an undated black and white drawing signed by Gaar Williams (13 1/2" x 12") showing two boys standing beside a tree tapped for the collection of sap.


  • 1939-1951


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Gaar Campbell Williams, the "Hoosier Cartoonist," was born on December 12, 1880 in Richmond, Indiana to George and Sarah Williams. Often referred to as the "James Whitcomb Riley of the Pencil", he attended the Cincinnati Art Academy and the Chicago Art Institute. Williams married Magdalena (Lena) Englebert (1881-1959) on April 22, 1911. He was a staff artist for the Chicago Daily News from 1904 to 1909, the front page cartoonist for the Indianapolis News from 1909 to 1921, and a cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune from 1921 until his death on June 15, 1935 at the age of 54.


Information found within collection.

"Gaar Williams, 54, Cartoonist, Is Dead." Indianapolis Star, June 16, 1935.

"Gaar Williams Dies Suddenly on Auto Trip: Prominent Cartoonist Lived Here as a Boy." The Richmond Palladium (IN), June 15, 1835.


0.36 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 large oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Kenneth Reeve on 1999/01/04 and from Ray Banta.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Material

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

OB060: Indiana Taxpayers Association cartoons

S2911: Indianapolis Branch of the American Fund for French Wounded, French Relief Fund

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2016/02/15 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2016/02/15 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid revised 2022/06/16 by Laura Eliason.
Gaar Williams collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.