Plymouth — Lamson Library at Plymouth State University will present an exhibit dedicated to “Foxy Grandpa,” continues through Feb. 28 at the library and learning commons on Highland Street in Plymouth.
Foxy Grandpa and his creator, Charles “Bunny” Schultze, first appeared in the “New York Herald” in 1900 and in the “New York American” beginning in 1902, according to David Beronä, dean of the library and academic support services.
Four different companies subsequently published more than 30 books of reprinted cartoons, and Broadway shows and silent films featuring Foxy Grandpa appeared over time.
Spinoffs including cast iron toy banks, pins, dolls, postcards, spoons and other ephemera also became popular.
Dr. David Starbuck is Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Social Science at Plymouth State University.
His interest in the legacy of Carl “Bunny” Schultze and Foxy Grandpa is both personal and professional: personal in that he grew up with a torn and stained copy of an old Foxy Grandpa comic book published in 1905, and professional in that comic strips (and books) reflect enormous changes in American culture over the past 100 years.
He says, “Foxy Grandpa was published between 1900 and 1920, during the Platinum Age of American comics, and it shows a world that is relatively simple and innocent, a pre-World War I culture that is a far cry from the risque, violent, superhero culture of today.” As a social scientist, Starbuck seeks to understand the values of our grandparents and great-grandparents through the colors and subtle humor of early comic book art.
Beronä says, “Many early comic strips have come and gone, and those from a hundred years ago are largely unknown to readers today. This older gentleman in a threepiece suit and spats was ‘foxy’ because he was (usually!) able to out-fox his two mischievous grandsons. Through Foxy Grandpa and Bunny Schultze, readers are able to go back in time and experience humor that makes us smile ‘just a little’ as we recognize ourselves in the characters.”
Starbuck will bring the character back to life at a presentation from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. onWednesday, Feb. 5 at Lamson Library.
For more information about Lamson Library’s hours visit library.plymouth.edu/hours.