Kewpies by Rose O'Neill
'Kewpies', 3 April 1937.

Rose Cecil O'Neill was born on June 25, 1874. She won a children's art contest at age thirteen, and began a weekly cartoon series for the Omaha World Herald. Her cartoons appeared in various national magazines. She drew her first group of clustered cupids, which she called 'Kewpies', in 1905. According to her, the characters had appeared to her in a dream. In December 1909 her comic strip featuring these 'Kewpie' babies first appeared in print in an issue of the women's magazine Ladies Home Journal.

Kewpies by Rose O'Neill

Their public impact was sensational. She ended up drawing them for over a quarter of a century. At the same time the 'Kewpie' characters became extraordinarily popular as paper dolls, bisque dolls, plastic toys, porcelain figurines...  In 1958 they even inspired a song 'Kewpie Doll', written by Sid Tepper and Roy C. Bennett, which has been recorded by popular crooner Perry Como.

During the First World War, she returned from Europe to the United States, where she became active in the campaign for women's rights. Rose O'Neill died on 6 April 1944.

advertisement by Rose O'Neill
Advertisement for Jell-O, featuring the Kewpies.

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