The Nathan B. Young Clip-Art Collection provides a unique glimpse into the workings of the incredible mind of Judge Nathan B. Young. The Judge was truly a renaissance man. Among other avocations and hobbies, he was a husband, father, lawyer, judge, author, publisher, historian, musician, and artist! His interests ranged from baseball to opera, from African-American folk legends to Goethe and Schiller.
The Clip-Art Collection, to a great extent, reflects many of these wide ranging interests held by the Judge. Although a few of the more than 900 items in the collection were done during the 1960s, most of them were created by the Judge during the last 3 to 5 years of his life. Even though they were done so late in his life, they do provide evidence of his interest throughout his life in specific topics.
Judge Young thought of his clip-art as a new form of art. To produce his clip-art, the Judge would usually search through a magazine, most often National Geographic or Smithsonian, for a picture which had some significance to him. He would cut the picture from the magazine, attach it to some type of poster board, and then highlight the picture with marker, paint, or colored tape. As Judge Young grew older, this type of "cut and paste" work was much easier for him to do than the more detailed acrylic paintings on canvas which he had done during the 1960s and 1970s. Yet it still afforded him the opportunity to call attention to those ideas in which he had an interest.
Although all of the 22 series in the collection are interesting, there are 3 series which deserve special mention. Although relatively small in number (only 13 items), the "Greening of America" series is important as it reflects Judge Young's hope for America's young people. This "greening" idea is the reason that most of the Judge's paintings and pieces of clip-art are colored with the green border. Judge Young used the border as a visible reminder of the importance of the ideas expressed in The Greening of America book. The largest series (173 items), and possibly the most important to the Judge, is the folk art series. The pictures collected here signify the Judge's interest in the lives of ordinary people. The Judge sincerely believed that it was the work of regular folk that made the difference in the world.
Finally, another important, and rather large (135 items), group is the musical score covers series. This series contains photocopies of covers of sheet music which the Judge would then color in with marker. Judge Young always had a passion for music of all types, and these score covers provide some evidence of his love for music, and for the kinds of music he found appealing.