<font color="#808080">DARLING, Jay N.</font>

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JAY N. DARLING
(
1876 - 1962)

He called himself Jay, but to the millions of people who knew and admired his work as a cartoonist and conservationist, he was known as "Ding" Darling. His middle name was Norwood, after Norwood, Michigan, where he was born on October 21, 1876; "Ding" was a family nickname.

His father was Marc Warner Darling, a Congregational minister in a succession of Midwestern cities. He not only taught his son to hunt and fish in lessons that were somewhat hampered by the fact that the boy was continually sketching but also gave him a deep appreciation of the outdoors. This was a gift that was to benefit the entire nation, for the son eventually became one of our greatest conservationists, as well as a nationally famous cartoonist.

Jay Darling went to grade school in Elkhart, Indiana; high school in Sioux City, Iowa and attended Yankton College in Yankton, South Dakota, in 1894-95. Later he transferred to Beloit (Wisconsin) College and graduated from there with a Ph.D. degree in 1900.

Mr. Darling's first job after college was as a reporter with the Sioux City Tribune, but a year later he went to the Sioux City Journal, where he began cartooning. On October 31, 1906, he married Genevieve Pendleton, daughter of a Sioux City judge, and the couple went to the West Indies for their honeymoon. While they were there, Mr. Darling received a wire from Gardner Cowles, Sr., offering him a job with the Des Moines Register and Tribune. The offer was accepted, and Mr. Darling stayed with this paper as a cartoonist almost constantly from then until his retirement in 1949.

His mind (and pen) were incisive and bold, but never unkind or intolerant. No topic of the day escaped his notice. His cartoons marked the birth of aviation, the trials of early motorists, the peccadilloes of college students, the problems of air pollution, politics, and conservation. He often depicted prominent men in his drawings, and originals of Darling cartoons were obtained and highly prized by presidents from Hoover to Truman.

His drawings were compiled and published in book form every two years from 1908 to 1920, and he wrote and illustrated two other books, as well. Beginning in 1917, his cartoons were syndicated by the old New York Tribune to 130 other daily newspapers.

Nothing could curb his ebullient spirits. At one time he lost the use of his right hand and arm - a disaster for any artist. He managed to continue his work, however, and after two years of improvised drawing methods, the trouble was corrected by Surgery. Later, when he was nearly fifty years old, he had a prolonged bout with peritonitis. He was such a well known and beloved person that when the word spread that he was not expected to live, national figures sent eulogies to be used in newspapers, obituaries were written, and the Iowa Senate voted a resolution of regret for his illness. That very day he began to recover, and soon was able to read what would have been printed about him, had he died. Thus he became one of the few men with both the opportunity and the inclination to laugh at his own obituaries.

During and after his 48 active years as both a cartoonist and conservationist, Mr. Darling was showered with honors in both fields and could have received many more that he did accept. He was the recipient of two honorary doctorates, two Pulitzer Prizes for journalism, and innumerable medals and awards; he was a member, chairman, secretary, or trustee of literally dozens of organizations. Two lakes were named for him: Lake Darling in an Iowa state park; and Lake Jay Darling, a waterfowl nesting area in Saskatchewan, Canada, a project supported by Ducks Unlimited, Inc. From 1936 to 1938 he served as president of the National Wildlife Federation and was thereafter an honorary life president of it. At the time of his death he and Walt Disney were cochairmen of National Wildlife Week.

In 1934 and 1935 he let slide his substantial income as a cartoonist to go to Washington as Chief of the Biological Survey. His deep concern at the plight of our migratory birds and his vigorous efforts on their behalf made him known as "the best friend ducks ever had."

The Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act was passed in July 1934. Mr. Darling designed the first stamp himself, and nearly all the money derived from the sale of that and all subsequent duck stamps has been used for the purchase, development, administration and maintenance of waterfowl refuges.

Mr. Darling died at 85 of a heart ailment in Iowa Methodist Hospital early in February 1962. He was survived by his wife, a son, and one daughter.














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