Animal House: Anthropomorphic Selections from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor – Annual exhibition opens April 1

For Immediate Release
March 2, 2016

Contact: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282; Michelle.Jeffers@sfpl.org

Animal House: Anthropomorphic Selections
from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor

Annual Exhibition opens April 1

April 1 – May 31, 2016
Main Library, Skylight Gallery

Animal House: Anthropomorphic Selections from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor, an exhibition showcasing animals behaving like humans in cartoons, comics and literature, opens April 1, in the Skylight Gallery, Sixth Floor, Main Library.

A literary device appearing in 18th and 19th century political pamphlets and news sheets, as well as magazines of humor and satire, anthropomorphic or humanized animals are part of the 21st century commonplace. The burgeoning movement away from moralizing children’s books toward the shaping of books with more entertainment value represents some of the largest appeal to readers of all ages (think Dr. Seuss and descendants).

Many people are familiar with the comics section of the newspaper, a significant literacy tool as well as popular entertainment. For San Francisco Bay Area readers at least eight strips with humanized animals appear in our local newspapers. From nursery rhymes, fairy tales and children’s books, to political humor and a wide assortment of cartoons and comics from international sources, we recognize and celebrate the mischievous activities of anthropomorphic animals. They carry on just like we do!

Join the fun as we feature a selection of materials, showcasing the renowned, and little known, comic artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Animal House continues through May 31.

“Without humor we are doomed,” noted Nat Schmulowitz, local attorney and former library trustee, who donated his collection of 93 jest books to the San Francisco Public Library on April 1, 1947. The collection has grown to more than 22,000 volumes and includes periodicals and audio-visual materials; it is considered the most significant collection of its kind in a public library. Every year, the Book Arts & Special Collections Center presents an exhibition based on materials in the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor, in tribute to Mr. Schmulowitz’s generosity and lifelong interest in the Library.

RELATED PROGRAMS AT THE LIBRARY

The Art, Music and Recreation Center presents Yackety Yak: Animals Talk Back, the Thursdays at Noon Video Series, in the Koret Auditorium:

April 7 – A Wallace and Gromit Double Feature: A Grand Day Out and Curse of the Were-Rabbit
April 14 – The Adventure of Milo and Otis
April 21 – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
April 28 – Ponyo

Publicity poster for Rum Pum Pum by Hans Fischer (1961)
Publicity poster for Rum Pum Pum by Hans Fischer (1961)