Kewpie Doll

kewpie

kewpie patent

Kewpie dolls and figurines are based on illustrations by Rose O’Neill that appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal in 1909. The small dolls were extremely popular in the early 1900s;  they were often awarded as a carnival prize and collected. They were first produced in Ohrdruf, a small town in Germany, then famous for its toy-manufacturers. Their name is derived from ‘cupid,’ the Roman god of beauty and non-platonic love.

The early dolls, especially signed or ceramic, are highly collectible and worth thousands of dollars. The time capsule at the 1939 New York World’s Fair contained a Kewpie doll. The Kewpie doll was mentioned in Anne Frank’s diary. She received one on her first St. Nicholas Day in the Annex from Miep and Bep. The dolls are also mentioned in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men.

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