The Extraordinary Project

The Cartoon Plates of Jay N. “Ding” Darling and Tom Carlisle



“Jay N. Darling, the cartoonist, has a combination of spiritual qualities that make his work an unalloyed joy.  He has the wisdom; the wisdom of the humble.  He has courage; the courage of unflinching candor.  He has a deep and loving kindness that tempers all his work.  But the thing that gives him genius is that he sees life, wisely, frankly, affectionately, through the perspective of a merry eye….”

From Ding’s Half Century, edited by John M. Henry
1962, Meredith Publishing Company

“Bringing ‘Ding’ Darling’s work to life for new generations of Americans is an important effort. Many of his editorial cartoons are as relevant and valuable for public debate today as they were nearly 100 years ago.  The Register is happy to provide access to Darling’s archived works for Sam Koltinsky and Marvo Entertainment as they embark on another project related to ‘Ding’s’ legacy.”

Randy Brubaker, Senior News Director
The Des Moines Register

“Finding the engravers’ plates to the ‘Ding’ Darling and Thomas Carlisle cartoons is discovering a true treasure trove from the golden age of editorial cartooning.  People who love political cartoons, especially educators and scholars, will get a lot out of this remarkable collection. “

Matt Wuerker, Editorial Cartoonist
Winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning

“The discovery of thousands of ‘Ding’ Darling’s original printing plates tucked away in The Des Moines Register  for nearly a century offers an extraordinary opportunity to revisit the artist’s skills in presenting his timeless commentary.”

The late Christopher “Kip” Koss, former President
J. N. “Ding” Darling Foundation

“The Sioux City Public Museum welcomes this history-making collaboration with Marvo Entertainment.  An opportunity to preserve history of this magnitude is one that we do not take lightly.  ‘Ding’ Darling is a heritage treasure of Sioux City, and we look forward to adding a new chapter to his legacy.”

Steve Hansen, Director
Sioux City Public Museum

 “’Ding’ Darling was a catalyst for conservation, not only within the movement but for the entire nation.  His work called attention to the importance of protecting our natural heritage and the risks we run if we do not.  These plates remind us that there is still much work to be done, for his message resonates today just as much as the day they were created.”

Joe, McGovern, President
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation

“Midwestern cartoonists were the preeminent practitioners of cartooning during the first three quarters of the twentieth century.  Anchored in homespun values, these artists masterfully combined social witticisms with political commentary and wielded enormous influence.  One of the hallmarks of  the Midwestern school of editorial cartooning is a sense of place.  ‘Ding’  and his contemporaries, John McCutcheon and Billy Ireland,  all valued and romanticized the daily life of the ordinary citizen and celebrated their simple pleasures in their cartoons.  ‘Ding’s’ power was rooted in  his identification with and understanding of the ordinary and natural.  He endorsed local causes, supported national ones, and was passionate about the environment.  He was not a spectator but a participant, with a lasting impact that reaches us today. ”

Richard Graham, Associate Professor – Media Services Librarian
University of Nebraska – Lincoln

The Des Moines Register
and Marvo Entertainment Group LLC are proud to announce a new project in conjunction with “America’s Darling.”

As the Register prepared to enter a new chapter by moving to a new building after 95 years at its Locust Street location, an important legacy came to light—19 crates, each containing more than 200 original printing plates of cartoons by Jay N. “Ding” Darling and his colleague, Tom Carlisle.

To preserve this outstanding archival treasure, The Des Moines Register and Marvo have entered into a multi-year partnership titled, The Extraordinary Project, for the stewardship, temporary storage, cataloguing, and digitizing of the collection. Plans are also being made to create a stand-alone traveling exhibit that could be displayed nationally. Additionally, the collection will be used as a tool for educational outreach and connecting with the general public and the organizations associated with Darling’s and Carlisle’s legacies.

The Sioux City Public Museum has joined our  partnership. They are providing the location and expertise for cataloging and digitizing of the collection. Darling grew up in Sioux City and started his cartooning career at the Sioux City Journal.

Interested in partnering with us?  Contact Samuel Koltinsky

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