OUTSTANDING ARCHIVE OF ITEMS SENT FROM PEANUTS CREATOR CHARLES SCHULZ AND HIS FAMILY TO SCHULZ'S WORLD WAR II ARMY BUDDY, FATHER VICTOR GIBSON, INCLUDING AN EXQUISITE HAND-COLORED LIMITED EDITION PRINT OF SNOOPY ON D-DAY INSCRIBED BY SCHULZ; A TYPED LETTER SIGNED BY SCHULZ, AND MUCH MORE
SCHULZ, Charles M. D-Day Snoopy print inscribed. WITH: Schulz archive. Santa Rosa, California, 1998, 1976-2000. Framed print, measuring 20-1/2 by 12 inches. WITH: Typed letter signed, measuring 7-1/2 by 11 inches; photographic print, measuring 16 by 11 inches; autograph letter signed (Mrs. Jean Schulz) and envelope, measuring 5 by 3-1/2 inches; pp. 2; and three Snoopy calendars. $9800.
Extraordinary archive of items sent from Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and family to Shulz's World War II army buddy, Father Victor Gibson, including a beautiful limited edition—possibly unique—hand-colored framed print of Snoopy listening to Eisenhower's D-Day speech inscribed: "For Vic with friendship—Sparky [Schulz's nickname]—"; the typed letter that accompanied the print and in which Schulz also apologized for his inability to attend a veterans' reunion, signed by Schulz as Sparky; a photographic print depicting Schulz's Army Company in the war with a reproduction of one of Schulz's sketches on the verso; an autograph card sent from Mrs. Jeannie Schulz to Father Gibson just after Schulz's death thanking him for an article on Schulz's experiences in the war; and three Peanuts calendars inscribed to Father Gibson in an unknown hand.
This collection was compiled by Father Victor E. Gibson, an old army Buddy of Charles M. Schulz, the creator of Peanuts. Schulz was drafted in 1943. During World War II, he served as a staff sergeant with the 20th Armored Division in Europe, as a squad leader on a machine gun team. He was lucky enough to avoid combat, except for a brief period at the end of the war and to never fire his machine gun. He nevertheless maintained a sense of pride over his wartime service. Father Gibson and Charles Schulz were friends during the war and remained so for the rest of their lives. This archive spans the period from 1976 to 2000, the year of Schulz's death.
The centerpiece of the archive is a spectacular print, referred to by Schulz as a limited edition, but possibly unique, as no other prints like it have ever appeared at auction. Schulz used a famous pre-D-Day photograph of Eisenhower speaking to the troops as the basis of the print. Captioned "General Dwight D. Eisenhower gives the order of the day, 'Full victory—nothing else' to paratroopers somewhere in England, just before they board their airplanes to participate in the first assault in the invasion of the continent of Europe" by the Library of Congress, the photograph undoubtedly reminded Schulz of his wartime experiences. Schulz modifications to the image included rich coloring with watercolors. He also drew a helmeted and uniformed Snoopy listening to Eisenhower in the foreground and captioned the piece on the image, "June 6, 1944—To Remember—." Additionally, Schulz added an autograph inscription to Father Gibson on the mount: "For Vic with friendship—Sparky [Schulz's nickname]—." On the back of the frame is affixed a color copy of the print as it was published in the May 31, 1998 (Pentecost) issue of the Oregonian.
Schulz once said, "I believe D-Day is the most significant day for mankind in modern history. In fact, he was the Campaign Chairman for the National D-Day Memorial Foundation. According to the June 7, 1998 Dallas Morning News, "Keeping the memory of D-Day alive is a personal mission for cartoonish Charles Schulz. In last Sunday's 'Peanuts' strip, Schulz shows Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower addressing U.S. paratrooper, including a uniformed Snoopy. The caption says: 'June 6 1944—To Remember.' And for the past year, Schulz, a World War II veteran who fought in France and Germany, has been using his personal fame to head the fund-raising efforts for the National D-Day Memorial under construction in Bedford, Va. 'D-Day could conceivably be the most important day in the last 100 years,' said Schulz, 75. Schulz hopes to raised $12 million for the National D-Day Memorial Foundation. He has contributes $1 million of his own money to the cause. 'You have no way of knowing the anticipation of that day,' Schulz said in a telephone interview from his home in California… Schulz said the idea of putting his famous beagle in D-Day illustration was one way of reminding people of its importance. 'The comic in Sunday's paper is one of the most famous photos from World War II,' he said." Schulz would not live to see the memorial; it opened on June 6, 2001 with President George W. Bush among the more than 15,000 in attendance.
The archive also includes:
A letter, typed on Schulz's company letterhead, addressed to Father Victor E. Gibson, and dated March 28, 1998, reads in full: "Dear Vic, Sorry it's taken so long to reply, but the letters to Charlie Brown and myself keep pouring in every day. I doubt very much that I will be going to the next reunion simply because it is too far away and we seem to be running out of men whom I remember. I talked to Elmer Hagemeyer yesterday and he has not been well. The doctors say he has a severe iron shortage and are going to give him some kind of replacement transfusion. He said the way he feels he always will not be going. I am sending the limited edition print which will be similar to what will appear in the Sunday papers a few days before D-Day this year. I hope you will like it. Thanks for keeping in touch. 'If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.' [signed] Sparky." The quotation is from Corinthians 15:19.
An accompanying photographic print depicts the 1st Rifle Platoon, Company "B" in Campbell, Kentucky, prior to deployment. Both Charles Schulz and Elmer Hagemeyer (mentioned in the letter) were part of the original Company and are featured in the photograph. The verso, which has a printed reproduction of the signatures and inscriptions from Company member Donry Swanson's photograph, is notable as it bears Schulz's inscription and an early sketch by him. He wrote: "'Snowflake,' you ol' 'muskrat,' you deserve to S.T. for coming in late. Serves y' right. S. Sgt. C.M. Schultz" and added a picture of a Peanuts-esque man sweeping with a broom.
An autograph card from Jeannie Schulz (Mrs. Charles Schulz) to Father Gibson. It was most likely sent in response to a sympathy card and is in an envelope postmarked March 6, 2000, less than a month after Charles Schulz's death. On the front of the card, which is printed with "Mrs. Charles M. Schulz," Jeannie Schulz has crossed out her name. Her autograph message inside reads in full: "Dear Vic, and Jean—Thank you for your letter and the article which made me cry thinking of Sparky in those first army days. I'm sending a copy to Hagemeyer because he may have saved Sparky's sanity! I know he always felt you were an important person in his history, and I hope you and Jean will keep in touch now & then. Please know Sparky appreciated the calls—he simply was too tired, at times, to have anything to say—with my love—Jeannie."
Finally, the archive includes three Peanuts calendars, all inscribed to Father Gibson in an unknown hand (not Schulz's; most likely Jeannie's).
Taken as a whole, the archive tells the story of arguably Schulz's most important and longest lasting friendship. Father Gibson served as a moral compass for Schulz and was a frequent source of counsel to Schulz. His influence and support can be seen in the tone of the Peanuts comics. Likewise, this archive—like the Peanuts comics—is a testament to the value Schulz placed on friendship.
A fine and fascinating archive of Charles Schulz material including an inscribed print, signed letter, and numerous pieces of valuable Schulziana.