I've had an affinity for kewpies ever since I purchased my first one at yard sale when I was six years old. There's something about their cherubic little faces and plump bodies that I find irresistibly charming.
The Kewpies first appeared in the Ladies’ Home Journal in 1909 and were the creation of illustrator Rose O’Neill. Her comic-strip like features were so popular that in a short time dolls and toys and other merchandise based on her characters were being produced and sold all over the world. The time capsule at the 1939 New York World’s Fair contained a Kewpie doll. A Kewpie doll was mentioned in Anne Frank’s diary, and made an appearance in John Steinbeck’s novel, Of Mice and Men. The first Kewpie dolls were made of bisque, then of celluloid. In the 1960s and 70s, the kewpie had a resurgence of popularity, and were made of rubber and soft plastic.
Here are a few images of kewpies I've put together from my collection of dolls. I've also included three darling little dollies given to me by my grandmother. What I love most about these three dolls is that they're still wearing the clothes that my grandmother lovingly hand-sewed for them when she was just a little girl.
The kewpies make adorable iron-on transfers for shirts and onesies, and the dolls are great for scrapbooking and card-making. Click the thumbnails below to download the images, royalty free (for non-commercial purposes).