Good mourning! Dr. Mercer’s ‘Peanuts’ Collection on Display | News, Sports, Jobs


picture by: Joselyn King

Dr William Mercer stands with the ‘Joe Too Cool To Smoke’ statue which is among ‘thousands’ of items about to go on display at the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum in Elm Grove.

WHEELING – When Dr. William Mercer was 10, he wanted to be an artist. His heroes were Peanuts creator Charles Schulz and Schulz’s character “Snoopy”.

But the cartoon art world’s loss was Wheeling’s medicine gain, and Mercer went on to amass “thousands” of Peanuts collectibles – most of which were donated to him by his patients.

Now that Mercer is retired and no longer working in an office, the collection arrives in the basement of the Kruger Street Toy and Train Museum. It is currently a “work in progress” but should be ready in time for the museum’s 25th anniversary celebration next year, according to museum organizers.

Not only will Snoopy and the other Peanuts characters be on display there, but Mercer plans to continue featuring his “Joe Too Cool to Smoke” anti-smoking programs when school children visit the museum.

The blue “Joe Too Cool To Smoke” statue is the largest item that should be on display there.

Over the years, Mercer befriended Schulz’s widow, Jean Schulz, who gave her blessing to the move.

“Ms. Schulz made it clear that she wanted it to be a dedication to Dr. Mercer, not a pat on the back to Mr. Schulz,” said Lynn Maguire, museum director. the forefront of that.”

But Mercer is adamant that the collection actually belongs to the community. He estimates that 70% of the items were donated to him by patients, who in many cases handcrafted them.

“And I took a picture with everyone who gave me something,” he explained. “These will also be on display.”

The accumulated book is about 1,500 pages, Mercer continued.

Maguire said museum employees started the project by trying to light the stairwell leading from the museum’s ground floor to the basement. She explained that the children were often afraid to go down the stairs because they were dark and drab.

Now the area is painted bright blue and yellow and is lined with cartoon Peanuts with colorful graphics.

Nearby is the “Camp Snoopy” exhibit with items related to the Peanuts characters and their camping escapades.

There’s a second display of all the Snoopy items in black and white, along with Christmas decorations and snow globes. Additionally, there are plans for a Snoopy train to run through the museum. Thousands of other items are kept offsite in a warehouse at the moment.

“It’s a huge collection,” Maguire said. “This is by far the largest collection we have ever received.”

Snoopy flags once flew outside Mercer’s original office at the corner of 12th and Eoff streets in Wheeling. He acknowledged that he was forced to move out of the building and into a larger office because there was not enough room for Peanuts memorabilia.

Mercer said after retiring last year and no longer having an office, there was nowhere to store and display the large number of items.

“And my wife wasn’t too mad that I brought everything home,” he continued. “I thought of the museum, and it took off. I am happy.

Waiting to be seen by the public are Snoopy books and cartoons and even a box of dozens of Peanuts-related ties that Mercer wore to work. But he and museum officials aren’t sure how best to display the ties or the 200 t-shirts he’s accumulated over the years.

West Liberty University officials have been asked for their help and suggestions.

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