Rose O'Neill is an iconoclast in every sense of the word. A self-taught bohemian artist, who ascends through a male-dominated field, becoming a top illustrator and the first to build a merchandising empire from her work with her invention of the Kewpie doll. Read more about it!
The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.
The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.
Publishes "The Old Subscriber Calls," in Truth magazine, the first comic strip by a woman. Marries Virginia aristocrat Gray Latham.
Becomes the only woman on staff at the leading humor magazine Puck.
Divorces Gray Latham.
Stops signing her work as a man "O’Neill Latham." Marries Harry Leon Wilson, a writer and editor at Puck.
Publishes her first semi-autobiographical novel The Loves of Edwy.
Jell-O becomes her client.
First Kewpie comic strip debuts in Ladies Home Journal.
Publishes her first children’s book The Kewpies and Dotty Darling.
Exhibits artwork at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Paper dolls called "Kewpie Kutouts" begin selling.
Obtains patent for the Kewpie doll.
Tells the Press how Kewpies came to her in a dream. Is one the highest paid female illustrators in New York.
Holds solo exhibit at the Galerie Devambez in Paris.
Exhibits "Monster" series at the Wildenstein Gallery in New York.
1922 - 1941
Relocates to her villa "Castle Carabas" in Connecticut, which becomes a sought after artist salon.
Retreats to a family home in the Ozarks to write memoirs.