Two universities hoping to archive Tony Auth papers

Two universities are vying to be the home for the papers of Philadelphia cartoonist Tony Auth — Temple University on the East Coast and UCLA on the West Coast.

Over his 40-year career as an editorial cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Auth produced thousands of timely cartoons and earned a Pulitzer Prize. In 2012, he became the in-house digital artist for this website, NewsWorks.org.

Auth, 72, is starting to wonder what to do with his papers, including cartoons, preliminary sketches, correspondence and manuscripts. For several years, he has been fighting cancer. He most recent bout with the disease has made him too weak to comment for this story.

Auth studied at UCLA and started his career at its student newspaper and a Los Angeles weekly. UCLA has indicated it would accept the papers.

The Philadelphia Foundation would like the papers to stay in Philadelphia, where Auth has lived most of his life and drew the bulk of his work. The philanthropic investment foundation is now hosting an exhibition of Auth’s work while raising money to fund a Tony Auth archive at Temple University.

Funds of “$30,000, $40,000 would make it very accessible,” said R. Andrew Swinney, president of the foundation. “Because it’s an endowment, we would be able to make it grow. It helps the university to not only digitize it, but make it available.”

Swinney said one of the region’s most prominent philanthropists, H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, is behind the fundraising effort. Temple University’s dean of libraries, Joe Lucia, said he would accept the papers, but is not in a position to fund the archive. The money would have to come from an outside entity.

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