You Don’t Say! Wordless Cartoons from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor

March 20, 2014

MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Jeffers
(415) 557-4282;

You Don’t Say!

Wordless Cartoons from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor

April 1 – May 31, 2014
Main Library, Skylight Gallery

“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. Every year, the Library presents an exhibition based on works in the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit and Humor in tribute to Mr. Schmulowitz’s generosity and lifelong interest in the Library.

Picture story, pantomime, cartoon without words—these are some of the terms for comics and cartoons in which the characters depicted remain silent. Speech balloons and thought clouds almost never interfere with the cartoon itself, and the joke or punch line is universally understood. This centuries old art form, dating back as early as eighteenth century caricature, led to the emergence of cartoon artists whose works have influenced and still delight readers, contemporary cartoonists, and scholars around the world.

You Don’t Say! Wordless Cartoons from the Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor draws on the San Francisco Public Library’s collection of works by the wordless cartoon masters of the nineteenth through the twenty-first century, and their historical influences. On display are the published works of A.B. Frost, H.M. Bateman, Otto Soglow (“The Little King”), Carl Anderson (“Henry”), Marge (“Little Lulu”), Milt Gross (“She Done Him Wrong”), Mik (“Ferd’nand”), e.o. plauen (“Vater und Sohn”), Sam Cobean, George Baker (“The Sad Sack”), Antonio Prohias (“Spy vs. Spy”), and many more. The exhibition opens April 1 in the Skylight Gallery, Sixth Floor, Main Library, and continues through May 31, 2014.

The Schmulowitz Collection of Wit & Humor (SCOWAH), located in the Book Arts and Special Collections Center, now includes more than 23,000 books, 250 periodical titles, media and ephemera, as well as the personal archive of Nat Schmulowitz. This extraordinary collection is considered the largest collection of its kind in the world.

Related Programs:

Thursdays at Noon Film Series: Silent films

April 3 – Silent Movie (87 min, 1976)

April 10 – City Lights (87 min, 1931)

April 17 – Modern Times (87 min, 1936)

April 24 – The Artist (100 min, 2011)

All films are shown with captions when possible to assist the deaf and hard of hearing.
For more information about the exhibition and related programs, please call 415 557-4277.