The SFU Library Editorial Cartoons Collection

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Len Norris

The Norris Cartoon Collection, 1660 cartoons, is the largest single collection of the work of one of the outstanding cartoonists of the 20th century. Len Norris was born in London England in 1913 and died in 1997. From 1950 to 1988 Norris worked as an editorial cartoonist for The Vancouver Sun. This collection was acquired by SFU Library in 1995 and was the remainder of Len's personal collection. Previously the National Archives of Canada and the Provincial Archives of B.C. had taken the cartoons related to national or provincial political leaders. But what a remainder! This collection is mainly of the social history of B.C.; the life of the people of the province.

Here are all the famous stock caricatures; the cop on the beat, the school teacher on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Filbert Phelps the unbearable school menace, Rodney the wealthy malcontent, the artsy crowd putting on airs, the obstreperous government bureaucrat, the unkempt student radical, the staid professor, everyman in his (un)easy chair fuming at the latest newspaper headline, and the long-suffering wives or mothers of all of the above. The devil is in the details so it is said. Look at Norris's details. The dogs and cats and table lamps and pictures on the wall. They are a real rendering of the details of the time with Norris's special comic twist. The people who lived through the events dealt with here know that Norris had the ability to see into the heart of the matter. SFU Library Special Collections and Rare Books is proud to present The Len Norris Collection.

Acknowledgements from Scott Norris

"I would like to thank the people responsible for the SFU Library Editorial Cartoon Collection, it is very impressive.  As Len Norris' grandson, I know our family is very proud of him, and are pleased to see that future generations will be able to enjoy his work [through] the internet.  I must say that it is a very well designed site, and the quality of the scans is excellent.  Being that I'm only in my 30s, I never really saw a lot of the early cartoons from the 50s and 60s.  I'm glad to see that his donation of cartoons to your university didn't just sit in boxes in some storage room, never to be viewed.  For many British Columbians, this library is a chance for them to see it as well.  I'm always amazed at how many of the issues from 20 and 30 years ago are still relevant today. I hope you maintain this library, and look forward to the day when I can show my son what his great-grandfather did."