Allen and John Saunders Comic Collection
The Allen and John Saunders Collection is an extensive collection of material related to the work of comic strip writer John Saunders. It is housed at the Browne Popular Culture Library, Bowling Green State University, Ohio.
John Allen Saunders (1899-1986) was an American academic and comic strip writer, best known as for his work on Mary Worth and Steve Roper.
Saunders started professional life as a professor of Romance Languages at Wabash College, Indiana.
Alongside teaching, Saunders learned to draw via the Landon correspondence course and through attendance of classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.
In 1929 he went to Cleveland to work as a journalist. On arrival, he was told that he could not start for three weeks, during which time he worked at the Toledo News-Bee, where he in fact stayed until it closed in 1938.
He began collaborating on cartoon advertisements and comic strips with Elmer Woggon, Art Director at the Toledo Blade, and thereafter pursued a professional career as a comic strip writer.
The collection is described by the website of the Browne Popular Culture Library as “extremely comprehensive and complete” and reflecting Saunders’ “vast array of occupations and interests.”
Primarily, the collection comprises Saunders’ work as a comic strip writer between 1909 and 1986, including research files for stories, correspondence, original artwork panels, proof sheets and proof books, and publicity materials.
The materials relate to comic strips including Big Chief Wahoo, Steve Roper, Mike Nomad (1936-1986+), Apple Mary, Mary Worth's Family, Mary Worth (1940-1986+), Dateline: Danger! (1968-1974), and Kerry Drake (1943-1983).
The library describes the original artwork and extensive proof sheets related to these strips as “the most unique aspects of this collection”.
The collection also includes clippings from national newspapers, scripts for a television show, comic books, and sheet music inspired by these comic strips.
The collection was donated to the Browne Popular Culture Library on 12th August 1986, by Saunders' son John. As such, the collection is formally named the Allen and John Saunders Collection.