For the Media

Search Archive


Contact Us

Main & Health Science Campus
University Hall

Room: 2110
Mail Stop 949
Phone: 419.530.2002
Fax: 419.530.4618

Canaday Center acquires works of nationally syndicated cartoonist and UT alum

The creative work of Peter Hoffman, a nationally syndicated cartoonist who created the “Jeff Cobb” comic strip, has been donated by his family to the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections at The University of Toledo.

Pete Hoffman drew this self-portrait for the cover of a 1994 issue of the UT Alumni Magazine.

The collection consists of nearly 5,000 drawings by Hoffman and documents more than 20 years of his work. Hoffman, a UT alumnus, died in 2013 at age 94.

The collection includes Hoffman’s original drawings for the Cobb strip from 1954 to 1978, as well as illustrations he did for another syndicated strip he produced from 1950 to 1978 titled “Why We Say.” Both strips were syndicated by General Features Corp. and ran in more than 100 newspapers in the United States, Europe, South America and Canada.

The Canaday Center had acquired a small collection of Hoffman’s drawings in 1985.

“This addition expands greatly the center’s holdings on one of the University’s most creative graduates,” said Barbara Floyd, director of the center. “Hoffman’s drawings are incredibly detailed. They show such precision and carefulness in execution. They are examples of the high style of graphic illustration when comic strips looked almost like photographs, as compared to today’s looser style.”

Hoffman began drawing as a child while enrolled in Warren School in Toledo. His first published work was a drawing of cowboys and Indians he submitted to the Toledo Times newspaper when he was 4 years old. He continued to take art classes at Scott High School when he was a student there.

At UT, he received a bachelor’s degree in advertising and marketing in 1941, and served as art editor for the University’s yearbook and staff cartoonist for The Campus Collegian newspaper from 1937 to 1941.

After college, Hoffman worked briefly in the advertising department for Tiedtke’s, the popular downtown Toledo department store, and served in the Army Air Corps, where he also illustrated several wartime publications.

When Hoffman returned home from England where he served during World War II, he became a ghost illustrator of “Steve Roper,” the nationally distributed comic strip created by Toledo cartoonists Allen Saunders and Elmer Woggon. He held that job from 1945 to 1954.

The cartoonist was known for his comic strip, “Jeff Cobb,” about an investigative newspaper reporter.

It was during the time that he was illustrating “Steve Roper” that he started the “Why We Say” strip, which he wrote as well as illustrated, that explained the meaning of common words and phrases.

He also became interested in developing his own narrative strip, which led to “Jeff Cobb.” Cobb was a handsome investigative reporter for the fictional Daily Guardian newspaper. Hoffman not only illustrated the strip, but he researched and wrote each one, which were based loosely on real crimes. In the later years of the strip’s publication, Cobb became known for the patch he wore over one eye, the result of an arson investigation that played itself out in the pages of the strip.

The collection donated to the Canaday Center is being organized and will be open to researchers after it is processed and a guide is prepared.

The center also plans an exhibit of examples of Hoffman’s work for later in 2015.

is UT's Director of University Communications. Contact her at 419.530.2410 or
Email this author | All posts by

Comments are closed.