Entertainment

York University gains archive of 2,500 Ben Wicks cartoons

A collection of 2,500 cartoons by late Canadian cartoonist Ben Wicks that was the centre of a legal dispute has been donated to York University in Toronto.
Ben Wicks, a much-loved cartoonist who was also a TV host, broadcaster and humanitarian, is shown working in his home. ((Courtesy of the Wicks family))
A collection of 2,500 cartoons by late Canadian cartoonist Ben Wicks that was the centre of a legal dispute has been donated to York University in Toronto.

Wicks's family, which gained custody of the cartoons in a lawsuit, has donated the cartoons to the Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections at York.

The collection includes signed cartoons Wicks drew in the late 1960s and early 1970s for publications such as the Toronto Telegram, Toronto Star and Saturday Evening Post.

The cartoons will be made available to researchers in history and current affairs, as well as those studying Wicks's work.

Wicks was known for his simple style and witty cartoons lampooning political figures such as Pierre Trudeau, Richard Nixon and Joe Clark.

Based in Toronto, he was a TV personality and broadcaster as well as a supporter of humanitarian causes, including famine relief in Biafra, which he helped publicize with his cartoons.

Ben Wicks drew this cartoon after the impeachment of former U.S. president Richard Nixon. ((Ben Wicks/York University))

He was named to the Order of Canada in 1986.

Wicks. who died in 2000, left some of his archive to Ryerson University.

The 2,500 cartoons to go to York University were left behind when a Wicks family member changed houses in the 1990s.

The family did not discover the oversight until the owners of the home inquired about publishing a book of Wicks's drawings.

The Wicks family regained ownership of the collection in 2007 after a legal battle with buyers of the home.

"It was my parents' hope that the cartoons could be shared with as many people as possible, so we are thrilled that an institution such as York University was able to take on this collection for us," daughter Susan Wicks said in a statement.

"York just felt right, like the type of place where my dad would want his work preserved."