- Who was Ding Darling
- Audio Recordings
- Rights & Reproductions
- History of the project
- Portrait Gallery
The Editorial Cartoons of Jay N. “Ding” Darling – a chronology of the project.
This project can reasonably be said to have started with Darling’s first cartoons in 1900, and to have continued, with the help of many hands, to the present day. Since we firmly expect it will continue to grow with the help of new and generous contributors, we describe notable milestones in reverse chronological order, taking as a foundation, at the bottom of this page, Darling’s gift of some 6,000 original drawings to The University of Iowa Libraries in 1949.
Had not so many of the cartoons survived in one place, and received continuous attention and drawn repeated interest over succeeding years, the current project might not have been undertaken despite the enthusiasm and devotion of many people.
2008, December. Several gifts in the course of the year include substantial numbers of “new” clipped cartoons. With this continued recovery and addition of further cartoons, the total number on the site passes 11,000.
2007, December. Refreshed web site is rolled out.
2007, November. New “splash” pages are designed, texts rewritten. First draft of Excel spreadsheet is completed. Scans from 387 photocopies made in the 1990s by David Lendt and Richard LeCroy of cartoons that appeared in Collier’s Magazine and Country Gentleman are added.
2007, October. Sioux City Journal, Collier’s, and clipping scans bring the database to just over 10,000 cartoons. Four audio clips are selected, converted to MP3 format, and loaded to the CONTENTdm site. The Darling Wildlife Foundation enters into an agreement with the University of Iowa whereby the University will manage copyright permissions.
2007, September. Digitization of 1187 Dictabelts is completed. They prove to contain 4000 letters, memo, and other documents. The digital files require 83 gigabytes of storage space. About 75 belts have shrunk and cannot be transcribed by the project. Central Technical Services staff incorporate aspects of metadata production into their work flow.
2007, August. Extraction of 1451 Sioux City Journal cartoons is completed; nearly a thousand cartoons clipped from the Des Moines Register (most dated 1907-1922) are scanned. About 400 duplicate images are indentified and removed. Digital Library Services is created as a departmental unit in the Libraries.
2007, May. Dictacord is sent to Ron Wiatrowski in a reusable crate supplied by The University of Iowa Museum of Art. Wiatrowski refurbishes the machine over a weekend and refuses to charge for his work. Back in production, student assistants listen to the dictation and build an Excel spreadsheet with descriptive content.
2007, January. UI acquires a Dictacord machine on eBay for $152.50 and $86.38 shipping from California. It arrives without a power cord, but the underbidder proves to be a former Dictaphone Corporation employee with 31 years in its service department, Ronald Wiatrowski, who kindly loans one to the project. The sound on 266 belts (each holds a maximum of 15 minutes dictation) is digitized by mid-May – at which point both drives on the 60-year-old Dictacord freeze.
2006, December. UI borrows a microfilm of the Sioux City Journal for 1900-1906 from the State Historical Society of Iowa. The Media Department begins selecting and saving digital images of Darling cartoons.
2006, December. Koss sends UI almost 1300 Dictabelts and the Dictaphone transcriber he had used briefly in 1993. The transcribing unit is dead on arrival (later found to be fortunate: had it powered on, someone could have been electrocuted).
2006, November 16. Text in the UI cartoons is added to the searchable metadata records. A second pass through the UI card catalog begins, this one to add terms in these records to those entered by Koss in the metadata for the Drake scans.
2006, November: Roy Bazire bequeaths $2000 to the Darling Fund in memory of Majory Stoneman Douglas, a prominent Florida conservationist and friend and colleague of Darling’s. Bazire had earlier given $500 to support conservation of the Darling cartoons.
2006, September: UI migrates the CD images and metadata to CONTENTdm for web presentation; 1700 UI card catalog records are keyed in CONTENTdm and matched with the Des Moines Blueprint scans. The Editorial Cartoons of J. N. “Ding” Darling database grows to just under 8500 records.
2006, July. The Darling Foundation adds $25,000 to the Darling Fund for long-term maintenance and promotion of the Darling Papers. Koss authorizes both Drake and UI to move the contents of the CD to their embryo digital library web sites. UI staff edit the metadata for greater consistency in controlled vocabulary fields.
2000. Approximately 1900 scans of UI cartoons are completed.
1999, November. Koss sends the first copies of the first finished CD, representing the Cowles Collection, to The University of Iowa Libraries. Copies are sold at the Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida, and elsewhere.
1999, November. Koss reports, “[I] personally scanned each and every one of the 6800 printer’s proofs … at Drake. …one firm that was qualified to scan and then index [Visual Information, Inc.] … went bankrupt – managing to delay us for two years! We have started to scan and index the 2,000 original cartoons … there is roughly 60% duplication between the 6800 at Drake and 6000 at UI… …then [will scan] smaller collections at Hoover [Library]. … earlier anthologies of Darling’s cartoons will be a source for further additions.”
1999, June. Koss arranges with UI to retrieve about 2000 cartoons not included in the Drake proof sheets and take them to a Des Moines company with an oversize scanner: “The Des Moines Blueprint Company will scan the original cartoons onto a CD, also making three prints of each cartoon on paper… Rod Henshaw [librarian at Drake] wishes to put the CD on their library net.”
1998, December: Koss reports that he has entered metadata for 5,000 cartoons in the database he is building.
1997, December 31: The Darling Foundation gives The University of Iowa Libraries $14,000 to improve storage and conservation of the original cartoons. This fund provides 7000 buffer sheets, 650 folders, and ten additional five-drawer map cases. Five percent of the collection is encapsulated in polyester.
1995, May. The Assistant Provost for Information Services at Drake proposes a “graphics database… compatible with the Internet”. Cataloging is discussed with Rebecca Conrad at Wichita State. “Bob [Lutz} and I [Koss] agreed that it would be logical to plan to place this collection on the Internet when it is completed.”
1993. Koss works with Visual Information, Inc. (Denver, Colorado) to produce a CD edition of Darling’s cartoons. He scans 1500 of the Drake proof sheets, processes 750 images, and tries to match 613 images to a text file, matching 387and getting no result for 226. [The text file is apparently a partial reconstruction of the UI cataloging in electronic form. Koss experiments with “controlled vocabulary” for name, subject, and other fields.] The “Trial” version produced by Visual Information contains 1000 images.
1993. Koss, who has inherited a collection of over 1200 Dictabelts containing his grandfather’s dictation from 1952 to the end of 1961, re-records about 80 belts to reel-to-reel tape and then dubs a selection to cassette.
1993. The State Historical Society of Iowa notes that it holds 100 original Darling cartoons.
1992. Staff at Drake University’s Cowles Library build a “concordance” by comparing a photocopy of the UI chronological index with the Drake proof sheets, which are filed in chronological order. Drake’s cataloging of its collection by cartoon title had progressed only to 1923 at that time.
[1991?]: The University of Iowa Libraries provides Christopher Koss, Darling’s grandson, with a photocopy of the chronologically organized index cards from its 1956 catalog.
1984. The Brunnier Gallery and Museum at Iowa State University, which received from Darling the gift of copies of his etchings, primarily of migratory water fowl, installs a major exhibition and publishes an exhaustive catalog of the prints.
1979. David Lendt’s biography, The Life of Jay Norwood Darling, is published by the Iowa State University Press. The book remains in print in its fourth edition in 2001.
1971, October. As part of the construction of a major addition to Main Library, the “History of Education” panels are moved indoors for fear that they will face increasing deterioration if left exposed to weather. They remain available for viewing on the fourth floor of the Library.
1969-1970. John Henry, a friend of Darling’s to whom he had long given proof copies as cartoons were published, gives his collection of 6800 proofs to Cowles Library at Drake University. The proofs, taken from the printing plates before an issue of the paper went into production, are smaller images on 8.5x11 inch paper.
1963, December. Frank Paluka, head of Special Collections, publishes an article in the Iowa Alumni Review on the Darling Collection. In Part I of the article he notes that “The Ding Index” counts “nearly six thousand original drawings…” and comments, “…a systematic [card] index to the cartoons has been created with support from the Old Gold Development Fund.”
1962, February 12. Darling dies, age 86. Shortly after his death, friends come together to found the J.N. “Ding” Darling Foundation in Des Moines for the purpose of celebrating his life and continuing his work on the conservation of natural resources. The Foundation’s assets include the copyrights to Darling’s drawings and writings.
1953. With Main Library under construction to open in April 1951, Darling agrees to provide a series of sculptural panels for its front façade. He labors over this project with immense care early in his retirement, and in 1953 nine large aluminum panels documenting the “History of Education” are placed on Main Library. Darling envisions bas relief sculptures based on his drawings rather than flat panels, but his work nonetheless merits a major spread in the June 16th issue of Look magazine.
1949, November: The Finance Committee of the Iowa State Board of Education allocates $2,300 for purchase of 21 five-drawer units to house the collection. The cabinets and the cartoons are stored in Macbride Hall, rooms 14 and 15.
1949, June-July: Accounts in the Daily Iowan and other newspapers report that “several hundred” Darling drawings were brought to Iowa City “about a week ago” from Des Moines. Darling’s personal gift, the 6000 original drawings were made on card stock, generally about 22x28 inches.
1949, April: Darling retires from the Des Moines Register.