Friday, November 9, 2012

Rose O'Neill's Fashions

The Fashion Style of Rose O'Neill

Rose preferred to wear flowing robe-dresses which she called an aura or a mantle. Ozark natives on the other hand called them “flyin’-squirrel dresses.” Her garments might not have looked like anything other women were wearing at the time, but they allowed Rose to have the movement needed to create works of art. Other women of the time period were wearing corsets in which they could barely breathe in let alone create art! In 1915 to The New York Press Rose said: “The first step is to free women from the yoke of modern fashions and modern dress. How can they hope to compete with men when they are boxed up tight in the clothes that are worn today?” 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Hall of Famous Missourians

The Bonniebrook Historical Society has been working hard to get Rose Cecil O’Neill nominated to the Hall of Famous Missourians (located in Jefferson City, Missouri in the 3rd Floor Rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol). It is surprising that she has yet to be nominated because of the fact that several of Rose’s acquaintances are already honored there. Thomas Hart Benton, John Neihardt, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Walt Disney and Mark Twain are just a few of the individuals that she knew who already have a bronze bust in their image located there. Rose’s Kewpies were on the same level of popularity as that of Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse, and reportedly Thomas Hart Benton said that Rose was the world’s greatest illustrator. There are over 40 bronze busts depicting prominent Missourians who are honored for their achievements and contributions to the state, and if you think that Rose should be honored as well, please leave a comment on this post explaining why you support Rose to be considered for this prestigious award. We would greatly appreciate your support as the Hall is visited by thousands of school children and vacationing families every year, and if Rose was featured there it would assist in our educating about the many accomplishments of the genius of the arts, Rose Cecil O’Neill.  

All comments received will be mailed in November to the newly elected Missouri Speaker of the House of Representatives. 

Before leaving a comment, take a look at a sample of Rose's accomplishments: 

"Embrace of the Tree" Sculpture

Illustration from Good Housekeeping Magazine

Illustration from Harper's Magazine

Illustration from Puck Magazine

"The Kiss" Illustration

Rose was a strong supporter of the woman suffrage movement

In 1995, the Missouri House of Representatives honored Rose O'Neill with the prestigious Missourian Award. It is now time for her to be honored in the Hall of Famous Missourians.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ho-Ho - The Little Laughing Buddha

Almost thirty years after Rose O’Neill dreamed up the idea for the Kewpie, she came up with one last idea before she retired: the Ho-Ho. The Ho-Hos look like little laughing Buddha figures. They have a very unique laughing expression in which Rose O’Neill says that she had the idea for for years. Rose said, “year by year, as the world grew less and less funny, the laugh got clearer in my mind. It is the sort of laugh that makes a laugh in the beholder, as kindness makes the warmth of returning kindness.  Ho-Ho is a sort of little clown-Buddha, all his stored-up wisdom finding its last word in the supreme wisdom of laughter. This kind of laughter is man’s final defense against despair.” It is sad that the Ho-Ho was Rose’s last creation because it was not very successful.

This photo of Rose holding a Ho-Ho was taken shortly before she passed away.

These are a few of the Ho-Hos that are on display at the Bonniebrook museum in Walnut Shade, MO.

View of the back of a Ho-Ho.

View of the bottom of a Ho-Ho (signed by Rose's sister Kallista).

Advertising postcard for the Ho-Ho.

Rose sitting in the woods with her last creations.

 These photos were taken at Bonniebrook and show the area where the Ho-Hos were made.

This is the actual buffer used to smooth out the Ho-Hos. You can view it in person by taking a tour of the Bonniebrook house which is located in Walnut Shade, MO.

Monday, June 25, 2012

100th Anniversary of the Kewpie Doll

The Kewpie Doll went into production in Germany in 1912. Now the year is 2012, and the Kewpie Doll is still being produced! The Kewpie did not start out as a doll, but rather as one of Rose’s illustrations. Kewpies showed up in Rose’s short stories that appeared in The Ladies’ Home Journal, Woman’s Home Companion, and Good Housekeeping Magazines. Her illustrations of Kewpies were a hit; she began receiving letters from children who requested that she made a Kewpie that they could “hold in their hands.” Not only did fans of the Kewpie think that Rose should make Kewpie Dolls, but toy factories began to approach her about it as well. Since she had already thought about making the dolls herself, it wasn’t long before she modeled a standing Kewpie in plasticine, and shortly after that the Kewpie Dolls were being mass produced in Germany. Soon after the dolls were made, Kewpies could be found on anything from tea sets to radiator caps! Rose sure knew how to market her Kewpies, and the public was happy to see them appear outside of the magazines where they first saw them.

First page of Rose's letter in which she pitched her "Kewpie" Idea

Illustration out of Good Housekeeping Magazine

Kewpie Doll

Box for the Kewpie Dolls

Rose O'Neill at Bonniebrook circa 1930