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
Box for the Kewpie Dolls
Rose O'Neill at Bonniebrook circa 1930