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Finding Aid to the Rube Goldberg Archive of Cartoon Drawings and Related Pictorial Material
BANC PIC 1964.046-.048  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Content
  • Separated Materials
  • Publication Rights

  • Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library
    Title: Rube Goldberg archive of cartoon drawings and related pictorial material
    Creator: Goldberg, Rube
    Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 1964.046-.048
    Physical Description: 4100 items : 5 albums (cartoons and photographic prints), approximately 57 portfolios (approximately 4,000 original drawings), 22 lantern slides, some objects and memorabilia
    Date (inclusive): approximately 1904-1963
    Abstract: This incomplete guide provides an item listing of more than 2,320 original Rube Goldberg drawings for cartoon strips (comics) housed in portfolio volumes 1 through 25, and approximately 1,190 editorial cartoons housed in portfolio volumes 26 through 36. An estimated 1,100 additional editorial cartoon drawings, in portfolio volumes 37 through 55, are not yet itemized.
    Physical Location: Many Bancroft Library collections are stored off-site and advance notice may be required for use. For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language of Material: English

    Conditions Governing Access

    Portfolios (BANC PIC 1964.047--ffALB) of Goldberg's cartoon drawings: RESTRICTED DUE TO FRAGILITY. Available by appointment only. Requests for use of original must be approved by the appropriate curator.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Received as part of the Rube Goldberg papers (BANC MSS C-H 163), which were given to The Bancroft Library by Rube Goldberg in 1964.


    Initially divided, by the Library, into three consecutive call numbers. BANC PIC 1964.046: congratulatory cartoons presented by other artists, an album of film still photographs, plus awards, certificates and ephemera. BANC PIC 1964.047: original cartoon drawings by Goldberg. BANC PIC 1964.048: lantern slides related to "Whiskers". The majority of the archive falls under BANC PIC 1964.047, and these portfolios of Goldberg's cartoon drawings are further divided into the categories Comics, Editorials, and Miscellaneous.
    This finding aid does not present the material in the numeric order assigned, but first provides an inventory of Goldberg's drawings (BANC PIC 1964.047), then lists more miscellaneous material (BANC PIC 1964.046 and BANC PIC 1964.048.)

    Biographical / Historical

    Rube Goldberg, dean of American cartoonists, was born Reuben Lucius Goldberg on July 4, 1883, in San Francisco. He began drawing at an early age, and wanted to become a cartoonist, but at his father's insistence, he studied engineering at the University of California. After graduation in 1904, he worked as an assistant in the city engineer's office, San Francisco. He quit the job in six months, however, and worked first on the San Francisco Chronicle and then the Bulletin as a sports cartoonist. In 1907 he went to New York and became sports illustrator for the Evening Mail, gradually working into wholly humorous cartoons. During the fourteen years he was with the Mail he created the comic features which brought him national fame: Boob McNutt, Foolish Questions, Mike and Ike, Life's Little Jokes, and the zany inventions which made him the wizard of gadgetry. He left the paper in 1921 and syndicated his cartoons. At the same time he tried his hand at composing songs, writing stories and articles, which appeared in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Vanity Fair and Collier's. In 1938 he became editorial cartoonist for the New York Sun and in 1948 was awarded the Pulitzer prize for his cartoon, "Peace Today," which showed a blissful American family seated on top of an atomic bomb, which teetered between world control and world destruction. Humorist and author, as well as cartoonist, he wrote a number of books, including Is There a Doctor in the House (1929), Rube Goldberg's Guide to Europe (1954), How to Remove the Cotton from a Bottle of Aspirin (1959), and I Made My Bed, by Kathy O'Farrell, as told to Rube Goldberg (1960), a spoof on the personal confession type of autobiography. Mr. Goldberg gave his papers, including the drawings and other material described in this guide, to the Bancroft Library in 1964. Rube Goldberg died in 1970.


    This incomplete finding aid contains a detailed item listing for comics by Goldberg (portfolio "volumes" 1-25) and for editorial cartoons dating from about 1938 to 1948 (portfolio "volumes" 26-36.) A further 19 volumes of editorial cartoons dating from 1948 to 1960 (with some possible exceptions) have not been listed with an item inventory (portfolio "volumes" 37-55.) There is also no item listing for cartoons by others or for ephemera and memorabilia.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Rube Goldberg archive of cartoon drawings and related pictorial material, BANC PIC 1964.046-.048, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

    Scope and Content

    Approximately 4,000 original cartoon drawings by Rube Goldberg, divided into "Comics" and "Editorials". Comics date from approximately 1904 to 1933, and editorials, usually single panels, date from about 1938 to 1960. The drawings constitute only a part of his great output over the years, since Mr. Goldberg generously gave away many of his sketches. (The original of his Pulitzer prize cartoon, "Peace Today," is at the School of Journalism at Columbia University.) Also present are original congratulatory cartoons drawn by other cartoonists and presented to Goldberg upon his winning the Pulitzer Prize and the Banshee Award; cartoons presented for Goldberg's 80th birthday, 1963; an album of stills from the movie "Soup to Nuts", 1930; laterns slides for "Whiskers"; and awards, certificates and ephemera.

    Separated Materials

    The Rube Goldberg papers (BANC MSS C-H 163).

    Publication Rights

    Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.
    For additional information about the University of California, Berkeley Library's permissions policy please see: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/about/permissions-policies

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Cartoonists -- United States
    Soup to nuts (Motion picture) -- Pictorial works
    Cartoons (Commentary)
    Film stills
    Wit and humor, Pictorial -- 20th century
    Manners and customs
    United States--Politics and government--20th century
    Machinery, Kinematics of -- Caricatures and cartoons
    Editorial cartoons
    World politics -- Caricatures and cartoons