Thursday, May 11, 2017

Treasures From the Worcester Room: A Historic Cartoon

As the library looks ahead to its 2017-2022 strategic plan, it is interesting and important to look back to the library's past.  While many of the glimpses to the library's past housed in the library's Worcester Room Collection include such items as historic board minutes, circulation records and photographs, we do have many less traditional items as well.  One such example is a cartoon depicting a day in the life of the Worcester Public Library from noted award-winning illustrator and Worcester resident Vitty Mattus.

According to articles in the Worcester Telegram, Mattus had a long and distinguished career as an illustrator, becoming well known for Hawaiian landscapes painted during the Second World War.  He also assisted Leon Kroll in creating the war memorial paintings in the Worcester Memorial Auditorium.  Not to mention, he had a decades long career as an illustrator for the Worcester Telegram, which led to the creation of this particular cartoon.  While undated, this particular cartoon likely appeared in the Worcester Sunday Telegram's Feature Parade Magazine during the 1940s or 50s.  The item in question appears to be Mattus's original drawing, and contains notations telling newspaper staff how much to reduce the image for inclusion into the paper.

Many things have definitely changed in the years since Mattus's cartoon was first published.  For example, the library no longer lends out record albums, and cataloging staff no longer must hand-write out cards for a card catalog.  However, as Mattus charmingly illustrates, the library then as now serves as a place for young and old alike to check out items, converse socially and learn more about the world.  It just goes to show, the more things change, the more they remain the same.  This historic cartoon is just another example of the unique and fascinating items that you can find in the library's Worcester Room Collection.

More about Mattus and his work: http://www.telegram.com/article/20140626/NEWS/306269949

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