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The Biographical Materials series contains newspaper articles about Derso and Kelen and other biographical ephemera like business cards, press passes, and advertisements for their syndicated cartoons and writings. Exhibition catalogs are included in this series. Of particular note is an essay written by Betty Kelen, Kelen's wife, providing a brief, but personal and humorous view of Derso and Kelen's friendship and artistic careers.
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The Correspondence series consists primarily of personal letters each artist received from friends and colleagues and sometimes from publishers. Notably, the majority of the letters are written in Hungarian with a few letters in French, English and German.
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The Writings series documents Derso and Kelen's secondary careers in writing, which began after World War II. Derso's writings consisted of a few essays published in the New York Times and a proposal for an 'art book' of portraits of Jewish statesmen, diplomats, and writers submitted to the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany for which he received a fellowship. There is also a skeletal draft script for a motion picture on the history of the League of Nations.
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The Portrait Sketches subseries consists primarily of single portrait sketches in ink or pencil, with a few portraits in ink and watercolor, arranged in alphabetical order according to the last name of the person portrayed. Derso and Kelen seemed to have illustrated every statesman, conference delegate, and dictator on the world stage between the World Wars capturing their countenances with humor and a bit of satire.
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The Cartoons subseries consists primarily of political cartoons dating from approximately1920 to 1960 arranged by the following broad categories – European conferences, World War II as it relates to Europe, Asia, the United States, and the United Nations. Within the category of Europe and the War, there is a heavy emphasis on images of Hitler and Mussolini. Also, within the category for the United States are cartoons satirizing American politics in the 1940s.
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This Publishing History subseries composed of Kelen's personal collection of published cartoons, newspaper clippings, and magazine covers and loose pages represents an incomplete publishing history of Derso and Kelen cartoons and caricatures. The handbill-like cartoons were printed by cartoon syndicates like the McClure Newspapers Syndicate, Edmond Pauker Inc., and the Overseas News Agency (ONA) and distributed to newspapers for publication. Many of these sample cartoons are not annotated though a few provide publishers' information. Ken magazine and single pages from the magazine in box 27 attests to the active relationship between the publication and the artists. KEN Magazine was a side project of Arnold Gingrich, founder and publisher of Esquire magazine, and was short-lived due to its "war-mongering" perspective. The folders of photocopied newspaper clippings concretely demonstrate the breath of American and international newspapers that distributed Derso and Kelen material.
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The Art Works series forms the bulk of this collection and consists of over 900 cartoons and caricatures created in simple media like pencil sketches or ink drawings to formal limited edition portfolios of lithographs or richly hued watercolors. The vast majority of the works were produced between 1920 and 1950, the active period of collaboration between Derso and Kelen. Once their artistic partnership ended in 1950, Kelen produced cartoons and drawings for United Nations' publications and his own personal book projects and Derso supplied the National Review with numerous portrait sketches for their articles.
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The Miscellaneous series includes material not related to the other series in the Derso and Kelen Collection and contains photographs depicting the artists as well as some photoreproductions of their works. Of interest is a photograph of Derso and Kelen sitting with Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt as she admires the drawing of herself by Derso and Kelen that appeared in the United Nations Sketchbook. There is also a tattered copy of Modern Caricaturists by H. R. Westwood published in 1932 by L. Dickson, Ltd. that includes a chapter on Derso and Kelen. Another item in this series is a guest book from an exhibition in 1976.
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The Oversize Cartoons series consists of oversize cartoons and illustrations listed by title. When known, the publishing history of the work is noted along with the date of the work and whether the work is monochromatic or color.