American Folk Art Museum Archives

Series III: Source Material Edit


Component Unique Identifier
Level of Description


  • 1920 – 1963 (Creation)


  • 27 linear feet (Part)
    (23 containers; boxes 61–72, 74–80, 96, 105–106)


  • Scope and Contents

    This series contains the resource materials that Darger used in his visual artwork, including clippings from coloring books, comic books, newspapers, and periodicals. The series contains imagery common in many of his artworks, such as soldiers and assorted Civil War imagery, disasters (volcanoes, fires, tornadoes), images of girls, a limited number of images of boys, drawings of Darger’s blengin characters (winged beings with curved horns), clippings of flora, fauna, and miscellaneous weather imagery.

    The series contains hundreds of clippings featuring the same subject, often the same image in many versions and in multiples. Clippings include numerous images of Little Annie Rooney (a comic book character on the run from villainous adults, not unlike the Vivian Girls), the Bobbsey Twins, numerous Coppertone Girl advertisements, Buck Rogers comics, and miscellaneous clippings and advertisements from local newspapers and periodicals such as Life and Red Book. A number of clippings contain carbon and graphite marks illustrating Darger’s tracing technique.

    It is unknown how Darger arranged and worked from these files, although notations on a collection of oversized envelopes (box 72) contain inscriptions in Darger’s handwriting, instructing the artist how he might use particular photographic images in his work. Some individual clippings contain notations, often written in a humorous and conversational tone, referring to how the image may or may not be used in the artwork.

  • Arrangement

    The material in the series is arranged by subject matter into five subseries:
    A: Clippings, Coloring Books;
    B: Clippings, Comic Books;
    C: Clippings, Newsprint;
    D: Coloring Books, Coloring Book Covers: and
    E: Ephemera, Misc.