Cartoonist Henry Martin donates art, books

The cartoonist Henry Martin, a 1948 graduate of Princeton University, has donated nearly 700 original drawings along with some of his humor books to the Princeton University Library.

Martin worked as a cartoonist and illustrator for more than 50 years, publishing in The New Yorker, Punch, Ladies' Home Journal, The Saturday Evening Post, the Princeton Alumni Weekly and many other magazines. His single-panel comic strip, "Good News/Bad News," was nationally syndicated, and he wrote and/or illustrated more than 35 books. He retired in 1995.

Martin had his first drawing -- known as a "spot" -- accepted at The New Yorker in April 1950, but it was another 14 years before his first cartoon was accepted there. The drawing for that cartoon, published on Aug. 15, 1964, is part of the gift. Also included is the first cartoon he published in The Saturday Evening Post on Jan. 4, 1965. The largest group of cartoons received by the library -- 570 drawings dating from 1976 to 1989 -- appeared in the London comic magazine Punch. Nearly 100 drawings for The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post are also in the collection.

Among the volumes donated by Martin is a complete set of the humor books he illustrated for Peter Pauper Press, such as "Comic Epitaphs From the Very Best Old Graveyards" (1957), "Salty Sayings From Cynical Tongues" (1959) and "Laundered Limericks From Wicked Pens" (1960). One additional highlight is Martin's placemat from the infamous Mahogany Table, where the writers and artists of Punch magazine met for lunch by invitation only.

These newly donated works join a collection of more than 300 Martin cartoons and more than 1,000 spot drawings already in the Graphic Arts Collection of Firestone Library. In 1998 an exhibition of Martin's work was held in the library's Milberg Gallery in honor of his 50th class reunion. That same year Martin curated an online exhibition for the library's historical cartoon collection.

The new gift also includes materials created by Martin for the University. In 1999 he and William Selden collaborated on "Going Back: The Uniqueness of Reunions and P-rades at Princeton University," a copy of which is included in this gift. The book is part of the University's series of "little books" highlighting campus history and traditions, among other Princeton topics.

Martin also donated six of the annual "Thanksgiving cards" -- annual donor thank-you cards -- he designed for the University's Office of Development. When members of the Office of Development learned that Martin had donated the cards, they responded by giving the library a large collection of original art by Martin, which they had commissioned for the cards and other projects. Martin, a longtime Princeton resident, continues to draw a cartoon for the Office of Development each November.

Martin, a native of Louisville, Ky., was an art and archaeology major at Princeton. His senior thesis was on cartooning, and he sold his first work to The Princeton Tiger. After two years at the American Academy of Art in Chicago, he spent several years sending 20 cartoons each week to The New Yorker before the magazine bought the first one.

The collection is available for use without appointment in the reading room of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections in Firestone Library.

[Five images of Henry Martin cartoons from The New Yorker are available for use by news media. To select from the available images, paste the title of each cartoon below in the keyword search at Then contact Tricia Gesner at Conde Nast Publications (e-mail or call (212) 630-2718) to receive the free images for publication. The available image titles are:

1. "This cave is a very important art find, but it dates back only …" New Yorker, Feb. 6, 1995
2. "It's been moved and seconded that we fly the company plane …" New Yorker, Apr. 18, 1994
3. "Excuse me, may I see your invitation?" New Yorker, May 23, 1994
4. "… and like a fool, I said, 'So sue me.'" New Yorker, Oct. 28, 1986
5. "Entering zip code: 08540. Area code: 609 …" New Yorker, Feb.1, 1993]