Ketcham, Hank (1920-2001)

NOTE: All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Several days' advance notice is required for retrieval.

The Hank Ketcham collection consists of artwork, manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, photographs, film, video, and audio recordings, and memorabilia.

Artwork by Ketcham in the collection is extensive.  The collection contains thousands of original drawings for Dennis the Menace, including Sunday strips (1952-1970s), pen-and-ink daily strips (1965-1968), and pencil drawings (1960-1995).  There is a framed, glazed copy of the first Dennis the Menace cartoon from Oct. 1, 1950, as well as color guides to several strips.  Other artwork includes pencil sketches of Ketcham’s World War II comic Half Hitch; blown-up cartoon panels of Dennis the Menace, some hand-painted by Ketcham; original animation cels of theDennis the Menace cartoon, autographed by Ketcham; and a self-portrait in oil by Ketcham.

Manuscripts in the collection include drafts and other items related to Ketcham’s travel book I Wanna Go Home (McGraw Hill, 1965), including a typed draft with handwritten corrections, page proofs, photographs of Ketcham in Europe, original drawings, correspondence, clippings related to the book, and dust jackets.  Also present are drafts and related items regarding Ketcham’s autobiography.  Other manuscripts in the collection include a commencement address delivered by Ketcham at the Leysin American School in Switzerland (June 1973); a tribute to Hank Ketcham by Patrick McCann (1977), with correspondence and illustrations of and from Dennis the Menacecomics; a script for the Dennis the Menace television program, titled “Mayday for Mother” (Sep. 1979); several biographies of Ketcham, including one written by Richard Condon; several drafts ofDennis the Menace: The Musical; and drafts of a screenplay for a film titled The Return of Dennis the Menace (1987).

Ketcham’s personal correspondence dates from 1929 to 1999.  There are several decades-worth of letters from Dennis the Menace gag writer Bob Harmon; letters reacting to “Jackson” (an African-American character in Dennis the Menace) and other developments in the strip; and letters regarding other topics.  There are hundreds of fan letters, dating from 1961 to 1998.  Notable correspondents include Senator Ralph E. Flanders, Charles M. Schulz (cartoonist and creator ofPeanuts), Prince Aga Khan, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and others, including other comic artists.

Professional letters in the collection span from 1965 to the late 1990’s.  These also include Ketcham’s subject files.  These files contain professional correspondence as well as printed material tied to Ketcham’s business ventures and finances.  Topics in the files include charities and foundations, media, golf, public events, business and more.  Topics and names include: A&W Root Beer; America Club, Geneva; America’s Cup Gold Tournament; animation; Bob Saylor (1971-1979); Bor Bugg (cartoonist); contracts; Dennis the Menace contests; Dennis the Menace clients;Dennis the Menace: The Musical (1987-1988); Dairy Queen; Esso Oil; European merchandising; Hanna-Barbara; Dick Hodgens; International Management; King Features Syndicate; public relations and promotion; Playart; publishers; Sweden (1966-1974); TWA; theatre and television (1966-1989); UNICEF; reprint permissions; golf courses and tournaments; and charities. Significant subjects include merchandising (with several files dating into the 1990s); the National Cartoonists Society, with letters from Milton Caniff, Rube Goldberg, Joe Musial, and Mort Walker; and Fred Toole, with many letters regarding public relations (1953-1980s) as well as extensive subject files kept by Toole while Ketcham lived in Switzerland.       

Printed material in the collection includes posters of Dennis the Menace promoting causes and advertising products in the United States and abroad.  Other printed Dennis the Menace items include comic books, calendars, stationery, sales catalogs featuring Dennis-related material, and several newspaper clippings and magazine articles regarding Dennis the Menace and Ketcham. Promotional material includes items for a World War II War Bond drive and material regarding the 1993 film titled Dennis the Menace.

Photographs in the collection include images of Ketcham dating from his youth to his later life (1921-1970), often with his family.  The photos include images of Ketcham’s son Dennis Ketcham, the original inspiration for Dennis the Menace.

Video recordings in the collection includes tapes of televised interviews with Ketcham; Ketcham talking about the Pledge of Allegiance; Bruce Williams reading a Sunday Dennis the Menace comic strip on his show “Talknet” (1992); and nine Dairy Queen advertisements featuringDennis the Menace (1992).  Also present are four 16mm film reels of episodes from the Dennis the Menace television series, as well as a filmstrip from the “Watching Artists at Work” series.  There is also an audio recording of Dennis the Menace: The Musical.

Memorabilia in the collection includes Dennis the Menace promotional merchandise, as well as more personal items.  The merchandise includes numerous items, such as “Dennis” and “Ruff” dolls, games, songbooks, napkins, coloring books, greeting cards, paint sets, Christmas tree ornaments, story books, toothbrushes, children’s games, modeling clay, T-shirts and other clothing, plastic toy sets, rubber stamps, and mugs.  Personal memorabilia includes a pen and wipe rag used by Ketcham; and award certificates from the Red Cross, the U.S. Veterans Administration, the National Cartoonists Society, the State of California, City of San Francisco, the U.S. Golf Association, and others.

Notable Figures
1. Ketcham, Hank, 1920-2001
Associated Subjects
1. Humor, Comedy, and Satire Subject Guide
2. Artists, Cartoonists, and Illustrators Subject Guide
3. Ketcham, Hank, 1920-2001. Dennis the menace. Selections
4. American wit and humor, Pictorial
5. Animation (Cinematography) -- United States.
6. Animators -- United States.
7. Caricatures and cartoons -- United States.
8. Caricature -- United States.
9. Cartoonists -- United States
10. Videotapes
11. Scrapbooks
12. Photographs