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Finding aid for the Morrie Turner Papers
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Access Restrictions
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography
  • Other Finding Aids

  • Descriptive Summary

    Dates: 1924-2014
    Bulk Dates: 1965-2014
    Collection number: 24
    Creator: Turner, Morrie
    Collection Size: 5.5 linear feet (4 boxes + 2 oversized)
    Repository: African American Museum & Library at Oakland (Oakland, Calif.)
    Oakland, CA 94612
    Abstract: Morrie Turner, the first nationally syndicated African American cartoonist, was born on December 11, 1923 in Oakland, California. In the 1960’s Turner created “Wee Pals” a comic strip about an ethnically diverse group of friends.The “Wee Pals” originally appeared in only 5 newspapers but that eventually grew to over 100. In 1972 ABC produced 17 episodes of the “Wee Pals” as an animated series for their Saturday morning lineup.
    Physical location: African American Museum and Library at Oakland
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    No access restrictions. Collection is open to the public.

    Access Restrictions

    Materials are for use in-library only, non-circulating.

    Publication Rights

    Permission to publish must be obtained from the African American Museum & Library at Oakland.

    Preferred Citation

    Morrie Turner Papers, MS 24, African American Museum & Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Morrie Turner, the first nationally syndicated African American cartoonist, was born on December 11, 1923 in Oakland, California. Turner attended Oakland public schools including Cole Elementary and McClymonds High School before transferring to Berkeley High in his senior year. After graduation he joined the Air Force, where he had his first opportunity to draw a comic strip called “Rail Head” for Stars and Stripes magazine. After leaving the military he returned to Berkeley and married his sweetheart Letha. The couple have lived and raised their family in Berkeley ever since. Turner’s first civilian comic strip “Dinky Fellas” was modeled after his mentor Charles “Sparky” Schultz. In the 1960’s Turner created “Wee Pals” a comic strip about an ethnically diverse group of friends. The comic strip made Turner the first African American cartoonist to be nationally syndicated. Turner and the “Wee Pals” gave back to the community by working with organizations including: the USO, The Boys Club of Oakland, and the White House Conference on Children. The “Wee Pals” originally appeared in only 5 newspapers but that eventually grew to over 100. In 1972 ABC produced 17 episodes of the “Wee Pals” as an animated series for their Saturday morning lineup. In addition to his love of drawing Turner has been committed to raising awareness of African American history. In 1965 Turner became one of the founding members of the East Bay Negro Historical Society (EBNHS).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Morrie Turner Papers consist of five boxes, original drawings and comic strips of the Wee Pals as well as copies of those clipped from the newspaper. Also included are coloring books by Turner, family photos, professional correspondence and contracts as well as an oral history interview with Turner and original hand puppets based upon the Wee Pals. The collection has been arranged into five series: Comic strips, publications, correspondence, biographical material, photographs and artifacts.

    Arrangement

    Collection is arranged into series and chronologically within the series. Series I. Comic Strips 1964-1995 Original Strips, 1965-1995 News Clippings, 1964-1993 Art Originals, 1985, 1989, and undated “Wee Pals” published compilation books Series II. Publications, 1969-2007 Series III. Correspondence, 1965-2005 Series IV. Biographical material, 1924-2014 Turner family photographs, 1924-1991 Series V. Artifacts, Undated Miscellaneous, 1968-2011

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Turner, Morrie
    Multiculturalism -- Caricatures and cartoons
    Cartoonists—African-American
    Oakland (Calif.)--History--20th century
    Oakland (Calif.)--Culture

    Ericsson, M. K. (1986). Morrie Turner Creator of "Wee Pals". Canada and United States: Regensteiner Publishing Enterprises, Inc. Turner, M. (2002, April 2). Oral History Interview with Morrie Turner. (N. Thompson, Interviewer)

    Other Finding Aids

    Jesse W. and Marcella Ford Papers, African American Museum & Library at Oakland; Eugene and Ruth Lasartemay Papers, African American Museum & Library at Oakland; Morrie Turner Collection, Syracuse University Library http://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/t/turner_m.htm