Ding Darling

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Ding Darling
Photograph of Darling, circa 1918
Jay N. Darling, circa 1918
Jay Norwood Darling

(1876-10-21)October 21, 1876
DiedFebruary 12, 1962(1962-02-12) (aged 85)
OccupationEditorial cartoonist (1906 – 1949)[2]
Known forFounder of National Wildlife Federation
Genevieve Pendleton
(m. 1906)
AwardsPulitzer Prize (1924, 1943)[1]

Jay Norwood Darling (October 21, 1876 – February 12, 1962), better known as Ding Darling, was an American cartoonist who won two Pulitzer Prizes. He was an important figure in the 20th century conservation movement and founded the National Wildlife Federation. In addition, he was known to be close friends with Walt Disney.

Early life[edit]

Darling was born in Norwood, Michigan, where his parents, Clara R. (Woolson) and Marcellus Warner Darling,[3] had recently moved so that Marcellus could begin work as a minister. In 1886, the family moved to Sioux City, Iowa, where Darling developed an early appreciation for nature and wildlife during days spent wandering the prairie. He began to learn the importance of conservation as a youth after an uncle admonished him for shooting a wood duck during nesting season.[4]

Jay N. "Ding" Darling's parody of Richard F. Outcault's popular cartoon character, the “Yellow Kid” that was published in the 1899 Codex yearbook of Beloit College

Darling began college in 1894 at Yankton College in South Dakota and moved to Beloit College in Wisconsin the following year, where he began his studies in pre-medicine and became a member of Beta Theta Pi.[5] While at Beloit he became art editor of the yearbook and began signing his work with a contraction of his last name, D'ing, a nickname that stuck.[4]

Editorial cartoons[edit]

"In Good Old U.S.A.", for which Darling received the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning

In 1900, Ding became a reporter for the Sioux City Journal. Following his marriage to Genevieve Pendleton in 1906, he began work with the Des Moines Register and Leader. In 1911, he moved to New York and worked with the New York Globe but went back to Des Moines in 1913. Three years later, in 1916, he returned to New York and accepted a position with the New York Herald Tribune. By 1919, Darling returned a final time to Des Moines where he continued his career as a cartoonist, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1924 and again in 1943.[6] His cartoons were published from 1917 to 1949 in the New York Herald Tribune.

Wildlife conservation[edit]

First duck stamp, designed by Darling

Darling penned some conservation cartoons and he was an important figure in the conservation movement. President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him to a blue ribbon Committee on Wildlife Restoration in 1934. FDR sought political balance by putting the Hoover Republican on the committee, knowing he was an articulate advocate for wildlife management.[7]

Darling initiated the Federal Duck Stamp program and designed the first stamp.[8] Roosevelt appointed him as head of the U.S. Biological Survey, forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.[9] The J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island in southwest Florida is named after him, as is the Lake Darling State Park in Iowa that was dedicated on September 17, 1950. Lake Darling, a 9,600-acre lake at the Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge is also named in his honor.[10] More recently a lodge at the National Conservation Training Center near Shepherdstown, West Virginia was named in his honor.[11]

Darling was elected as a member of the Boone and Crockett Club, a wildlife conservation organization, on December 13, 1934.[12]

He was instrumental in founding the National Wildlife Federation in 1936, when President Franklin Roosevelt convened the first North American Wildlife Conference (now the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference), administered by the American Wildlife Institute (now Wildlife Management Institute).[13]


Darling received the annual Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning, recognizing two of works for the Des Moines Register & Tribune (also published elsewhere) as the year's best, In Good Old USA (1923) and "What a Place for a Waste Paper Salvage Campaign" (1942).[6]

In 1960, the National Audubon Society awarded Darling the Audubon Medal for his conservation achievements.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Pulitzer Prize Cartoonist, 'Ding' Darling Dies At 85". The Baltimore Sun. February 13, 1962. p. 15.
  2. ^ "'Ding' Darling, Cartoonist, 85". The Washington Post. February 13, 1962. p. B5.
  3. ^ Harmond, Richard A.; Hammond, Lorne F. (1997). Biographical Dictionary of American and Canadian Naturalists and Environmentalists. ISBN 9780313230479.
  4. ^ a b "Ding Darling". Iowa Pathways. 2021. Archived from the original on 2020-10-29.
  5. ^ "Catalogue of Beta Theta Pi". Google.com/books. 1917.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ a b "Editorial Cartooning". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-17.
  7. ^ Douglas Brinkley, Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America (2016) p 268.
  8. ^ "1934 Federal Duck Stamp". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  9. ^ Brinkley, Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America (2016) pp 280-85.
  10. ^ "USFWS About Upper Souris NWR". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2014-04-03.
  11. ^ "National Conservation Training Center" (PDF). U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
  12. ^ "Boone and Crockett Club Archives".
  13. ^ "Creation of National Wildlife Federation - National Wildlife Federation". Retrieved 2017-02-15.
  14. ^ "Previous Audubon Medal Awardees". audubon.org. 9 January 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2017.

External links[edit]