At the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, we often hear questions like, “What research is done here?” or, “What is the research about?”.
Our answer is that the Research Center holds the archival collection (or historical records) surrounding the life and works of Charles M. Schulz, and that the archives are available to researchers by appointment. At the Research Center, our Archivists answer innumerable questions posed by authors, students, and the public.
When a beautiful gem—such as the letter below—comes to our attention, we are amazed all over again at how relevant Sparky’s words are today (I have said that I continually find comic strips that could have been written for today’s audience).
We contacted the author, Joel Lipton, whose sister had posted the letter on Facebook. Joel said that he wrote the letter to Mr. Schulz when he was 10 years old in 5th grade. It was 1970, and his memory of the assignment was for the students to write a letter to someone they admired and ask the question, “What do you think makes a good citizen?”.
The letter turned up recently, and the answer must have startled Mr. Lipton by how appropriate the answer would be if written today.
I always saw Sparky as a great believer in the long flow of history—that the people of the world had seen improvements over the centuries, and that, as he says in his letter, “our greatest strength lies always in the protection of our smallest minorities.”
This leads me back to our Research Center. We continually receive material, similar to this letter, which gives us more insight into Charles Schulz and his work. We are then able to use some of these items, such as correspondence and photographs, to help tell Schulz’s story and enrich the Museum’s exhibitions.
For our latest exhibition, Behind Peanuts: The Little Red-Haired Girl, for example, we were able to borrow original drawings and gifts that Sparky gave to Donna Wold. This is the first time that these items have ever been on display, and we are excited to be able to share them with the public as part of this story.
And so, the circle continues.
To schedule an appointment at the Research Center, you can contact our Archivists at: firstname.lastname@example.org.